In country music, tales of the American way of life are plentiful, and few wave the Stars & Stripes as proudly as Darryl Worley.
But Worley wants people to know that pushing his own political views was far from his mind when he penned his new single, "Keep the Change."
"There's been a couple of people bashing the song because they think it's against the president (President Obama's campaign slogan was "Change you can believe in)," he said in a recent phone interview from Nashville, Tenn. "The change we're referring to in the song is really all the changes in the past 30 or 40 years in our government.
Country singer Darryl Worley will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday at DelGrosso's Amusement Park in Tipton.
"I know what the song's about, I wrote the song. If I was all about bashing the president, I'd go pick out specific things that I don't like about what he's done as president. We could've just wrote the song about that."
Worley understands the nature of the reaction, however.
"If you have songs that have a political tone, you'll just have people who won't listen," he said with a sigh. "You can just get mad, or you can say 'Thank God we live in a country where you can fight for what you believe in.'"
If you go
Who: Darryl Worley
When: 4 p.m. Sunday
Where: DelGrosso's Amusement Park, Tipton
One of the things Worley - who will perform a free concert at 4 p.m. Sunday at DelGrosso's Amusement Park in Tipton - believes in is his new album, "God & Country," a six-song EP which will be released in September.
"I'm really, really, really convinced that there's some hit songs on this new project," the 45-year-old singer said. "I'm just really pleased with how it turned out."
Hits are nothing new for Worley, who burst onto the country charts with the No. 1 song "I Miss My Friend" and stayed there with the somber 2003 tune "Have You Forgotten?," which called for Americans to remember the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11.
In total, Worley has had two No. 1 country albums and 11 Top 40 country singles, including three that hit No. 1.
"I wouldn't consider him one of the upper echelon of current artists, but he has been very consistent," says Donna Himes, program director of local country station Froggy 98. "Definitely, people know who he is and request his songs."
Worley's new music has yet to reach Froggy, but his past hits are still popular, Himes said.
"I would say he probably comes up in our rotation a couple of times every few days, because he doesn't have a current hit," she says.
"We're starting to get more requests for his music now that he's coming here on Sunday. It sort of jogs their memories."
Worley believes that "Keep the Change" will have similar success to his past hits, judging by the response of listeners so far.
"It kinda got an early start," he said. "Honestly, we didn't pick the song (as a single) at all. We played a couple of tracks one morning on a morning show and the listeners went crazy over it.
"It was sort of a viral release, if you will. We just thought from the response that it was getting at it was a natural first single."
The only stopping block would be the handful of radio stations who won't play the song because of the perceived controversy around it.
"Shoot, I think if we can figure out some different ways to get 'Keep the Change' heard, I think we'll sell a bunch of albums," Worley said.
The album also contains songs like "Things That I Can't See." The album as a whole mixes secular and more spiritual songs.
"It was somewhat of a themed project," Worley said. "It would have been real easy to goof this up. When you take songs that are supposed to be secular country songs and give them a religious overtone, it's easy to go overboard. I really think we just nailed it."
Whether "God & Country" is a smash hit or just another album, Worley knows he'll keep playing shows like the one at DelGrosso's.
"Those fairs and festivals at this time of year, that's our bread and butter," he said. "Rolling into wherever it is, some small county in little town America, I'll always do those shows.
"I love being in an intimate setting with my fans. At the end of the day, I'm very aware that those are the people that pay the bills."
Mirror Staff Writer Keith Frederick is at 946-7466.