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I Miss My Friend by Darryl Worley

Its somber title may suggest otherwise, but Darryl Worley's second album sounds like the work of a happy man. For much of I Miss My Friend, Darryl embraces the joys of love, home and family with a light, easy touch and contagious good cheer.

Darryl salutes his hometown of Savannah, Tenn., with a pair of very different tunes: "Tennessee River Run" is a rip-roaring, "Chattahoochee"-style ode to down-home fun on the water, while "Back Where I Belong" is a thoughtful ballad. An expanding household becomes an exuberant party on the grooving "Family Tree," while the sprightly "Spread A Little Love Around" urges you to Tell your mom you love her/Bear hug your brother/Treat your sister to a night on the town.

Admittedly, there's sadness on I Miss My Friend - in the straightforward title hit, the desolate "I Built This Wall" and the haunted "I Wouldn't Mind The Shackles." No matter the emotion, Darryl's sturdy voice and the album's tastefully traditional-minded music serve these 12 songs straight up, with no muss, no fuss. Like the simple pleasures it celebrates, I Miss My Friend is easy to love - and not to be missed.

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