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Darryl Worley is ready for Celebration 2012
Free event at Martinsville Speedway is tonight
The stage was set Tuesday afternoon for Celebration 2012, which will be held from 5 to 11 p.m. Tuesday. Children's rides will be open from 5 to 11 p.m., and the concert will begin at 8 p.m. Fireworks are planned around 10 p.m.
Darryl Worley has two guarantees for tonight’s Celebration 2012 at Martinsville Speedway: It will be fun, and it will be patriotic.
And he knows plenty about both.
Worley will anchor a trio of performers that will include edgy country rock singer Bo Bice and hit-maker David Lee Murphy. Worley will offer his mixture of upbeat party songs and ultra-patriotic tunes.
“It’s an up-tempo type of show … it’s a good show,” Worley said. “We’re going to play all of our hits, and obviously we’ll be playing the songs that uplift our troops, songs that fit this holiday (Independence Day).”
Celebration 2012, a free-to-the-public event, will kick off at 5 p.m. today when the fan gates and carnival rides open at Martinsville Speedway. The music will begin at 8 p.m. when Bice takes the stage, followed by Murphy and Worley. All three will return to the stage and play an encore together.
Celebration’s fireworks display will begin when the music is over, around 10 p.m.
“Bo will come out and rock the house,” Worley said of the concert. “Then David Lee, who had a huge streak of hit songs himself, and he’s written so many big songs for other folks. And then I’ll come out and try to keep things going. I think people are going to enjoy it.”
Worley has built an impressive career over the past decade, winning many music industry awards and selling millions of records worldwide. He has recorded six albums with 20 charted hits, including No. 1 singles “I Miss My Friend,” “Awful Beautiful Life,” and “Have You Forgotten.”
He recently released his first single and video in two years, “You’ve Still Got It,” which was well-received by fans and radio alike, landing in the top 20. His seventh album will be out soon.
“Things are going good for us. Things are so different now than they used to be, but we’ve got a song on the radio now that’s getting some traction,” said Worley. “It’s so insane out there (in the music business) now. There are so many young people out there. We just continue to make what we think is good, significant music.
“Last year, we had a great year in a tough economy. I’m just thankful to be out here making music … I’m just blessed.”
Worley may be best known for a pair of patriotic songs, “Have You Forgotten” and “I Just Got Home From A War.” He doesn’t just sing songs about patriotic figures — he takes the music to them. He just returned from his 11th trip to Afghanistan to perform for service men and women, and he has more trips planned.
“That’s very important to me,” Worley said of his visits with the troops. “It’s more of a family tradition than anything else. I’ve got tons of military on both sides of the family. That’s how we grew up, our parents and grandparents teaching us the Pledge of Allegiance before we could walk. My brother and I both were fortunate enough to go to college (Worley has a degree in biology and chemistry from the University of North Alabama), but I’ve always regretted I didn’t serve (in the military).
“When we had the opportunity early on to do this for the troops, I said we’ll go no matter what. It comes easy when you see how the conflicts affect the families and loved ones. It gives me a chance to give back a little bit.”
In past years, Celebration featured local performers as opening acts. This year is the first time that the Celebration has featured three major recording artists and no local opening acts, said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell.
Editor’s note: Mike Smith is director of public relations at Martinsville Speedway.