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There’s Still a Little Country Left: Remembering Daryle Singletary

Nashville, TN- February 12, 2018

Edited by Morgan Pynn

In a world where true blue Country Music is  often compromised by the latest electronic hook up song performed by an eighteen-year-old in pleather boots, Daryle Singletary was a beacon of light, heart, and authenticity. His 2015 album, There’s Still a Little Country Left, was a testament to his traditional country roots and his passion for saving the industry as he knew it. What began as a demo on “An Intimate Evening with Eddie Stubbs” radio show on WSM in 2013 developed into a full-fledged battle cry for the preservation of small town America; both its culture and its sound. Singletary never sang the songs in favor of exclusivity, however. In his small town life, everyone was welcome as long as they stayed heartfelt and honest. His heart was in the art of music making, not the business.

I don’t doubt that every soul in the industry puts their whole heart into their projects; this isn’t an industry that makes for easy work. But lately there seems to be an ever broadening line drawn down the center of country music; the commercial side, where it’s easy to make the money, and the independent side, where it’s easy to sing the heart songs of all our lives. From the first lines of the first song on There’s Still a little Country Left, Singletary makes it clear in his strong, soothing voice which side of the line his feet were firmly planted on – and it wasn’t the one with the biggest labels and the fanciest tour buses. Singletary stated his strong opposition to the growing Bro-Country movement, as he called it, in “Get out of My Country”. Crooning about Williams, Jones, and Whitley, Singletary sheds light on a new generation of wannabe country stars with little knowledge of the history of our genre and little regard to preserving the culture and sound that made it so special in the first place.  

Singletary began his career in Country Music in 1990 when he moved from his hometown of Cairo, Georgia to Nashville and worked in various clubs and bars until he was offered a gig as a demo singer. It took him two short years to sign with independent Evergreen Records, where he recorded two singles. By 1995, Singletary had been discovered by Randy Travis and moved labels to Giant Records, where his debut LP was produced. The album generated his first and biggest hits, including “I’m Living Up To Her Low Expectations”, “I Let Her Lie”, and “Too Much Fun”. One year later Singletary released his best-charting hit, “Amen Kind of Love”.

One constant in Singletary’s music was his devotion to traditional Country sounds and lyrics; a quality that won him favor not only with the general public, but such stars as George Jones, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, and many more.

“There are still people out there who want to hear traditional country music,” Singletary is quoted as saying by many sources, “I’ve been fortunate to be able to always keep it real and not have to compromise.” Singletary’s songs could pull you back to hot nights on deserted country roads, sitting on the front porch with your mama, and praying for grace in the darkest moments your life. He had a gift for drawing out the most complicated emotions from the most intimate moments of everyday life and turning them into something endearing, inspiring, and deeply relatable

Singletary passed away unexpectedly in his home in Lebanon, Tennessee, on Monday, February 12, 2018 at the age of 46. Cause of death is currently undetermined. Singletary is survived by his wife; Holly, two sons; Jonah and Mercer, two daughters; Nora and Charlotte, his parents; Roger and Anita Singletary and brother Kevin Singletary.

Today, as we all mourn the loss of a giant in our industry, may we all take a moment to look down that dirt road, listen to the wind, and remember that life can still be simple. There is still a little bit of country left, and if we look hard enough we’ll find it.

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