I will always feel closely connected to Daryle. First of all, I was completely honored to get to know him as a friend. We would call and text each other. He had even gotten into Snapchat not too long ago and we would snap each other with clips of any old, soulful country music that we ran across.
I was scheduled to open for him with my classic country band at a show in Cairo, Georgia a couple of years ago, but the show was cancelled due to him being sick at the time. Of course I hated to miss the opportunity, but I never dreamed that it would never happen due to his being taken from this earth much too soon.
Beyond that, I was a huge fan of his music and style personally. He and I both grew up the same way: completely obsessed with the music of George Jones, Merle Haggard, Johnny Paycheck, Lefty Frizzell, and Keith Whitley, just to name a few.
Do you have an album that you feel changed your life? For me it was "Wine Colored Roses" by George Jones. Well, for Daryle, it was "Storms of Life" by Randy Travis:
When he got his hands on that album, it was all he needed to make him take that leap of faith and move to Nashville and pursue what he felt he was born to do: sing country music in the style of his heroes. That was 1990. And Daryle sang in Nashville bars and entered singing contests alongside Tim McGraw, Tracy Lawrence, and many others.
His passion for traditional country music came from the most authentic and honest of places. He didn't care anything about being famous or making millions of dollars. He cared about singing country music in the purest, most soulful style that evoked raw emotion. That's the difference between an artist and an act.