Darryl Worley,
I Miss My Friend
(SKG, 2002)

Darry Worley's I Miss My Friend is a collection of fine country songs, accessible to a mass audience without sounding like the oceans of pop-country drowning the airwaves. Each song is satisfying, there's a good selection of themes and yet the album as a whole somehow falls short of every song on it.

There is a great variety on the album. Worley takes advantage of every style and twist offered within the confines of country music. From the country-rock trucker's song "Callin' Caroline" to the waltzing "Opportunity of a Lifetime," Worley seems determined to leave no subgenre unexplored. Whatever the style, each song is a private success; the weekend romp of "Tennessee River Run" is buoyant and enthusiastic, the bitter breakup of "The Least That You Can Do" is fittingly lonesome.

The lyrics are surprisingly sophisticated, breaking out of the usual pop-music cliches. The heavily played "I Miss My Friend" is sad, resigned song, but without the angry sense of betrayal or hopeless yearning of so many lost-love anthems. It could work as well for a love lost to death or distance as for one lost to bad feeling. "Family Tree" balances the feelings of celebration, love and worry that accompany a new baby into a financially strapped household, giving fair time to each impulse. Both the pacing and delivery of "POW 369" keep it on the right side of the line between heavy morals and heartfelt epiphanies.

I Miss My Friend even ends on a high note, with the cheerfully heartbroken "Where You Think You're Goin'," which may be the perfect finale song for a country album. And once it's played, it's the only song you'll remember. It's a problem that plagues the entire album; each song is a standout, enough to erase the ones before it. Then again, having too many good songs on an album may be on a par with having too much money. Used one song at a time, it's no problem at all.

- Rambles
written by Sarah Meador
published 6 April 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.