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August 23, 2014

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MUSIC :

Neck surgery won’t stop Worley from entertaining

Country star will play Green Valley Ranch less than a week after procedure

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Darryl Worley

If You Go

  • Who: Darryl Worley
  • When: 8 p.m. Friday
  • Where: Green Valley Ranch
  • Tickets: $24.95 to $44.95; 547-5300 or stationcasinos.com

Beyond the Sun

To hear country star Darryl Worley tell it, there was nothing to it.

He stopped by a Memphis clinic last week to correct a little neck problem that has been aggravating him for a dozen years. Now he’s back on his feet and singing Friday at the Ovation Lounge at Green Valley Ranch.

His matter-of-fact explanation, given before the surgery, isn’t for the squeamish.

“I have a ruptured disc between the sixth and seventh cervical vertebrae right at the base of my neck, and a bone spur too,” he said from his home outside of Nashville. “So they’re going to go in through the front of my neck and remove the disc and put in an artificial one and fuse those two vertebrae together, and inject some bone cells into the equation and let those bone cells fuse that area into one big vertebrae.

“Years ago it was intense, or they thought it was because it’s right there in the spinal area and it’s a neural thing. But now, it has become very routine. It only takes about 45 minutes. I’m not even going to the hospital. I’m just going to the clinic where they first saw me. They’ll perform the surgery there and then they’ll let us go across street and let us spend the rest of the day and night in a hotel. Then they’ll see me the first thing the following morning and release me to go home.”

Worley promised he’d spend five days recuperating before heading for Henderson.

The discs were damaged years ago and collected mineral deposits causing the bone spur. But he injured his neck again in September.

“We were doing some heavy lifting and cleaning up some stuff out on the farm and we picked up a really big toolbox and I ruptured my disc,” Worley says. “It’s just taken everything to a new level of aggravation. There’s no relief from the pain. It never lets up, so I need to get the compression off this nerve anyway, or eventually it will damage it real bad. I’m starting to lose some of the feeling in my left arm. It doesn’t work exactly right so I’ve got to get something done.

“After the past 10 or 12 years of dealing with this pain, I’m ready to get something done.”

It’s probably no surprise that Worley seems so comfortable talking about medical procedures. Growing up on a farm in south central Tennessee, he planned to become a veterinarian and majored in biology with a minor in chemistry in college.

But throughout high school and college he had bands and wrote music, which eventually took him to Nashville.

“I guess I always knew I would be some type of entertainer, I just didn’t know what kind,” Worley said. “But I was always a weekend warrior, playing bars and honky tonks and clubs and American Legion halls. I’d been working at it for long time before I ever really got started in the business.”

His 2000 debut album, “Hard Rain Don’t Last,” contained hits such as “A Good Day to Run” and “When You Need My Love.” He had his first No. 1 song, “I Miss My Friend,” in 2002 and his biggest hit with “Have You Forgotten?” in 2003.

His latest release is “Sounds Like Life to Me,” his sixth studio album.

When Worley isn’t performing or writing, he has a number of business interests, including his Worley Bird Saloon at Country Crossing, a multimillion-dollar entertainment center due to open in December in Dothan, Ala.

He’s also looking to get into acting.

“I’m reading for a part in a TV series being produced by George Clooney called ‘Delta Blues,’ ” Worley says. “It’s kind of a story about the police force in Memphis. I’m getting ready to read for that and if it happens it would pull us away from the music for a while.”

Of course, he’s also taking care of his neck.

“We’ll be nursing my neck back to health when we see you guys, but we’ll be ready to go,” he says.

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