Living in the country molds you in a way that never completely goes away, even after you move away. Although country singer-songwriter Charlie Worsham left his small town for Nashville years ago, his distinctly Southern sound has always been rooted in the Mississippi soil.
His 2013 debut album Rubberband was a gem filled with a youthful spirit and plenty of reflective maturity. It lead to a busy touring schedule and strategies to make his sound fit the popular Top 40 mold. But it's increasingly hard to find your place, much less yourself, in the money hungry, competition driven chaos of Music Row. After coming to a crossroads with his career, Worsham got back to the basics.
In April, he'll release Beginning of Things, which mixes a wide array of musical influences with traditional country storytelling. His track "Cut Your Groove" cleverly reminds us all to stay true to ourselves while forging a new path, no matter how challenging it may seem.
We asked Worsham to pick one track that was especially influential to him. He selected Dolly Parton's "Coat of Many Colors," one of the genre's most iconic and beloved story-songs.
"I consider this one of the top 5 greatest songs ever written, and not just within the country music realm," Worsham tells Wide Open Country. "Dolly is the only person who could've written this, and she wrote it unflinchingly from a place of pain and truth. Her vulnerability is what makes the song universal, because we've all been excluded or made fun of at some point in our lives. It's a timeless piece of poetry that weaves together rural poverty and Biblical gravity. Didn't make it to number one on the charts, but it will remain a chart topper in millions of hearts for generations to come."
Parton released "Coat of Many Colors" in 1971, and it has since become one of her most iconic songs. Penned while on the road with Porter Wagoner, the tune recalls the true story of how Dolly's mother stitched her a coat made of colored rags.
Parton is known for being an expert storyteller, and that honesty and heart can also be found in Worsham's own songs. From the joyful feeling of new love to the comforts of returning to your hometown, Charlie Worsham elegantly morphs everyday human emotion into something magical.
Hear for yourself when Charlie Worsham's sophomore album, Beginning of Things, drops on April 21. You can find a full list of upcoming tour dates via his official website.