Charlie Worsham –
The Long Road Festival
As one of the nicest guys in Country music and undoubtedly the most frequent of US artists to our shores, Charlie has established a loyal fanbase here through his unique brand of music and storytelling. We caught up with him just before his set at the Long Road Festival.
AR: How have you found the Long Road festival so far?
CW: I just arrived and in a really cool accident, I bumped into Baylen Leonard (Long Road Festival organiser) and got a VIP tour of the festival. I am blown away by the different themes of the various stages. I was telling him the Front Porch stage reminds me of all the Bluegrass festivals that I grew up going to and the Honky Tonk bar felt like I was in lower Broadway in Nashville, it’s so true to how they really are.
AR: I’ve seen you live a few times you make it look so easy and natural. Do you plan your shows or do you just go with the flow?
CW: Gosh, it’s a little bit of both. I like to leave room for the unexpected, for the magic to happen and that’s very dependent on what the audience brings to the table. One thing I can count on when I’m here in the UK and Europe is that the audiences are ace, so I tend to leave a little extra room for the magic to happen. I love to try out brand new songs and I can trust the audience to go there with me. I know nothing about football, but it’s probably not unlike a team captain who knows any number of plays that they can choose, but they don’t go onto the field necessarily with a plan, they wait and see what’s facing them to call the play and so I feel that’s what I do on stage. So, in my back pocket any number of paths I can take but I don’t pick them till I’m up there.
AR: You’ve been over here so many times, does the UK feel like your 2nd home?
CW: Oh it does, I had a day off in London yesterday and I went to all my favourite neighbourhoods and there’s a couple of places I go where people recognise me when I walk in the door and I’m made to feel like an old friend. It’s good to be recognised and made to feel at home, this far from home.
AR: What’s the general feeling about touring the UK and Europe amongst other Country artists?
CW: Well I’m grateful that I’ve had the chance to come over here so many times. I know for some folks back home it can be a lot harder because of where they are in their career, but I’ve been fortunate enough that my calendar and the economy of where I am in my career are both open and now that I’ve been so many times it makes it easier as my career evolves, to keep coming. The thing about coming over here and I cannot stress enough is just the gratitude I feel for the audiences every night. They are so present in the moment, they are so willing to hear your whole story and your catalogue of songs. You can play anything from any album and anything that wasn’t on an album and you can have a real honest conversation with the audience every night and that isn’t something you can do just anywhere.
AR: You’ve supported a lot of artists over the years, who would be your favourite?
CW: My favourite catering would have to be Taylor Swift, I’ve had some good food touring with her, but honestly everyone has taught me something valuable. Kip Moore comes to mind, but it’s funny as the people I admire they all have the same thing in common, they treat everyone equally. They treat everyone with kindness, whether it’s Kip or Miranda or Taylor or Lee Ann Womack or Tim and Faith and I think that’s what it comes down to. I don’t want to sound cheesy but when Tim McGraw sings Humble and Kind there’s a reason he picked that song, it’s something he lives, it’s something that’s a common thread throughout the country music community. Humility and kindness, that’s the real takeaway. Of course, there are the on-stage lessons where everyone has got something great that they do that I can pick up on and take a note here and there.
AR: So, it’s been 18 months since ‘Beginning of Things’, any new material planned?
CW: Absolutely, the cool thing about being back right now is I’ve been writing as much as I can for the next record and I’ve got a good stack of songs and I’m trying them out every night. I’ll try them out today too because I can trust the audience here to give me some good feedback, what works the best, what doesn’t and what needs revisiting. I’m giving myself till the end of the year to keep writing for the album, so hopefully I’ll have what I need so I can start deciding which to record in 2019.
AR: You recently did a residency in Nashville, any plans to do the same over here?
CW: Yes the dream is still alive, I don’t know when that will end up happening, but it is something I’m putting out in the universe and I would love to do a ‘Every Damn Monday’ gig in London, but then do a ‘Every Damn Wednesday’ in another city so folks from throughout the country can experience that residency thing and there are enough of my friends coming over to tour that I think we’d be able to have some special guests. Until you’re in it you don’t know what it feels like whether on stage or in the audience, but residencies are a really cool, unique experience.
AR: So, in Nashville could you recommend some cool places to go which UK visitors might not know about?
CW: Every Monday night the Time Jumpers play at Third and Lindsley. East Nashville too has some great hole in the wall venues like the The 5 Spot and Basement East. Any show you can catch at the Ryman Auditorium is worth seeing. If the Ryman is the Vatican of country music, then the Sistine Chapel is The Station Inn and you’ve got to catch a show there, preferably if you can see Shawn Kemp, Jack Pearson or 18 South. Those are the shows you don’t want to miss.
AR: Thanks for your time, enjoy the show and the rest of the festival.