Devon Worley Q&A

April 26, 2021
Devon Worley does not believe in genres.

“My mom, and now manager Jamey Worley, and I had toyed around with the idea of trying our own band and after one show at Toby Keith’s I was sitting in the back seat and my mom looked at me through the rearview mirror and said, ‘Devon I want you to be honest with me, is this something you really want to do? This is a big commitment, if you say yes then we’re all in and we’ll do it, but if you’re not sure, if you think maybe you want to do soccer or gymnastics or swimming a few years down the line, we can just keep doing what we’re doing. Is this what you want?’ And I just knew. I said yes and I’ve never regretted it once.”

I love how diverse your band’s sound is, from country to roots to rock and R&B. Has that always been your intention, to create music not easily categorized?

This is an awesome question because the overall sound of the band has always been important to me. I am inspired by music that has a personality or perspective. I like having my band contribute to the writing process because I get to see a different thought or idea from different brains. Sometimes I’m like, wow, I would have never thought of that, and it’s moments like that I find so cool. We have no rules when we write. I like it that way. No idea is too crazy for me. Our sound is different because I’m surrounded by musicians who support and inspire me to try new things. I think one of the best compliments we get is when people say they haven’t heard music quite like ours before. And of course we get lots of questions about what genre we are. I think that it’s just great music.

You have such a confident voice, which reminds me of KT Tunstall and Nancy Wilson. Who were some of your vocal heroes growing up?

Being compared to Nancy Wilson kind of blows me away. Thank you. She’s definitely a vocal idol of mine.  I’m inspired by edgy and raw female vocalists. I love vocalists who’s attitude is infused into their vocal cords. Like Stevie Nicks or Miranda Lambert. I had so many vocal heroes growing up. I mean, Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, Reba, The Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood, Kristin Chenoweth, Idina Menzel —  I had a slight Wicked obsession as a kid — all of these female voices left an impression on me. I’ve been influenced by male vocalists too, like the Eagles and the Beach Boys. Listening to their harmonies was an obsession of mine. I’m also completely obsessed with Eric Church and Chris Stapleton as vocalists and writers.

How many guitars do you have? Do you have a favorite at the moment?

I have to say that I’m not totally sure but I think it’s around six, seven maybe? I’d have to say that my favorite guitar is tied between my vintage 1967 Dan Electro or my newest guitar a Koa Wood custom Taylor. And usually my favorite guitar is whichever one is newest.

You’re in a band with a group of older dudes. How does that impact the writing process?

Songs are best when there’s a real experience or emotion behind them. It’s an interesting question because I really don’t think about the age difference we have when we are writing. The things we write about seem to translate pretty effortlessly across our generation gap. We’ve all lead pretty insane, interesting, and so different yet such similar lives. So there’s always a story or concept we can bounce off each other. A lot of the time we like to write about our experiences as musicians. Our second album The Sunrise Resistance could almost be considered a concept album because almost every song is at least a little bit about our lives as traveling musicians. And I’d say I rely more on their skill composing than their difference in age.  For whatever reason that just doesn’t matter much.

You’ve described writing songs as essays with high stakes. Do you carry around a notebook to capture ideas or sing thoughts into your phone?

I’ve always loved writing. I just love stories and words in general. I’m an avid reader, and my favorite genre is the classics. I’ve always loved how intentional and poetic every single line of every story is. I try to bring that same attention to detail to my own songwriting. I have hundreds of notebooks and notes on my phone filled with sentences, sayings, or even just words that I like just in case I ever want to use them. I’m the main melody writer for our music. I feel like you just have to pay attention to the song and the melody reveals itself.

You have a tight connection with your fans. Have you been able to keep in communication with them during Covid?

We are so lucky to have the amazing fans that we do. The best part about starting this band as young as I did is there are so many fans the band and I have had since I was just a young girl. It’s a really unique experience to get to grow up with your fans. Being away has been tougher than I imagined it would be. Fans of our music give you a certain energy that is nearly impossible to describe. Shows have this energy that gives us something real. It’s easily taken for granted until something like this happens. Through the pandemic we did work hard to stay connected with them. As much for us as for them. Through the multiple shutdowns we did virtual concerts and fun videos and contests and anything else we could think of so we could stay connected. We also wanted to let them know that we appreciate them for sticking with us through all of this.

You started out in music early, winning the Colgate Country Showdown at age 11. When did you know music would be your life?

I was always an absolute ham and loved preforming. But I vividly remember the moment I decided and knew that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. We had done the Colgate Country Showdown already and we had made some really good friends with the local band called Jug that had backed me for the contest and I would go out to their shows and sit in on a few songs every now and then. My mom, and now manager Jamey Worley, and I had toyed around with the idea of trying our own band and after one show at Toby Keith’s I was sitting in the back seat and my mom looked at me through the rearview mirror and said, “Devon I want you to be honest with me, is this something you really want to do? This is a big commitment, if you say yes then we’re all in and we’ll do it, but if you’re not sure, if you think maybe you want to do soccer or gymnastics or swimming a few years down the line, we can just keep doing what we’re doing. Is this what you want?” And I just knew. I said yes and I’ve never regretted it once.

The Twin Cities is well known for its history with rock and folk, thanks to Prince and Dylan, but does it deserve a bigger reputation for country?

I can firmly say as a veteran of 10 years in the scene that Minnesota and the Midwest in general has a huge and fantastic country music scene that’s only been growing and improving over the years. I definitely think it deserves recognition, but I really believe that it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the country is forced to pay attention and give these fantastic artists the respect they deserve.

You’ve said that Willie Nelson is one of your heroes and that you cried for a half-hour after meeting him. What’s the one song of his that you could never live without?

The one Willie song the nearest and dearest to my heart is “Blue Eyes Crying in The Rain.” That was the first song my grandpa ever taught me how to play on the guitar and I still play it to this day.

What’s the rest of the year looking like for you?

We’re prepping as we speak to start getting back out there this summer. I think that a vast majority of events are counting on the vaccine being a turnaround for live music and we have been booking shows like crazy.   I know that the guys and I are all just champing at the bit to hit the road and be back on stage. We want to make sure our fans are safe, comfortable, and as excited to rock out as we are.