As the saying goes, you have your whole life to make your first album, and this was not lost on Charlie Worsham. Seven years ago he moved to Nashville to pursue music, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Last week (Aug. 20), Worsham released his debut album Rubberband. Among the 11 tracks he cowrote for the album is “Could It Be,” which hit radio earlier this year and is this week in the Top 20. It’s the story of two friends going out, having a few drinks, and then crossing a line and realizing there might be something more to it than just friendship.
Worsham sat down with Radio.com during release week to talk about how Rubberband came together, including what inspired “Could It Be.”
“The song was written not long after I met Ryan Tyndell, who wrote a lot of the songs with me on Rubberband and also coproduced my album with me,” Worsham explained. Aside from working with Worsham, Tyndell’s other accomplishments include cowriting Eric Church’s “Springsteen” and contributing songs to Dierks Bentley’s upcoming album Riser.
“When we first met, Ryan and I were honestly both down in the dumps,” Worsham recalled. “I had left a particular situation, and he had left another particular situation, both professionally and personally. I swear we wrote the song out of sheer desperation for something hopeful. We had the first verse and the part of ‘Who knows we might go down in flames/But then again I might just change your name,’ but we didn’t have a title or a chorus. We brought it into a writing session with Marty Dodson, and after a few more hours we had ‘Could It Be.'”
Worsham said the process of making Rubberband pushed him out of his comfort zone and challenged him as a songwriter. And as a native of Grenada, Miss., it’s no surprise that the song he’s most proud of is the personal and heart-wrenching “Mississippi In July.” It’s about watching a former flame tying the knot and feeling the twinge of “what if.”
“The inspiration for that came from making trips home from Nashville and reading in the paper about friends getting married,” Worsham said. “I actually played for a friend from high school’s wedding reception. It’s part truth, part fiction sort of thing, but I can certainly relate to the character within that story. If you’ve ever driven through the Delta it’s pretty easy to describe the landscape and it definitely conjures up a very specific emotion. It’s a lonely looking place. I think songs come out better if you either went through the experience firsthand or you can relate to the emotion the story or the experience is trying to get across.”
“Working with Vince Gill and Marty Stuart, I swear it felt like a daydream I had many times growing up,” Worsham confessed. “Those guys are heroes of mine and I’ve grown up studying their music and learning their music and emulating them a great deal. You can certainly hear the excitement in my voice in playing and getting to make music with my heroes.”
Tattooed on Worsham’s arm is a message from Stuart from a photography book that his parents gave him one Christmas, years before he collaborated with the singer. In the book Stuart inscribed, “Follow your heart.”
“I took that to heart [and] I got it tattooed on my arm,” he said. “When I look down at my hands when I’m playing music it reminds me to quit thinking so much about it and just play from the heart.”
He added: “I get to do what I love every day. If I couldn’t get a job doing this I’d still be wanting to do [music]. It is a leap of faith to do this. It’s worth it to do what you love, and it’s worth pursuing that without looking back.”