The country music world has been reeling since Monday morning, upon hearing the news that beloved singer, Daryle Singletary passed away unexpectedly at the age of 46. His deep baritone voice had delivered such country hits throughout the ’90s and ’00s as Amen Kind of Love, The Note, and I Let Her Lie. Known for his love of traditional country music, even as the fickle fads of public opinion shifted to a more pop-oriented sound, Daryle remained true to the sounds of George Jones, Johnny Paycheck, Merle Haggard, and Keith Whitley throughout his career.
Although undisputedly a country singer, he was beloved by bluegrass artists and fans alike for his love of traditional music and his big heart. After hearing him on the radio my entire life, I first met Daryle Singletary at Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) in Columbus, OH. Daryle had heard about the MACC and all the work they do for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and wanted to be a part of it. For a few years, Daryle would come with just his guitar, sitting on a stool performing a mixture of his hits and old country classics for the crowd. His humble and unassuming demeanor endearing himself to the audience, even before his signature voice rang through the festival grounds. Even though he wasn’t “bluegrass,” there was no denying that he was cut from the same cloth. He would return with his full country band for the next few years as well, playing a late-night country concert for the MACC crowd. He loved the work the event was doing, and was happy to help in anyway, including doing interviews promoting the event on local radio stations in the weeks leading up to the annual festival.
Of course, Daryle’s biggest connection to bluegrass music may have been through his longtime friendship and association with the Queen of Bluegrass, Rhonda Vincent. Rhonda and Daryle both came to Nashville around the same time in the early nineties, and shared a strong affinity for traditional country sounds at a time when the famed “new traditionalist movement” was beginning to fade. Rhonda and Daryle recorded several duets over the years, including favorites such as After The Fire Is Gone and We Must Have Been Out Of Our Minds. Their friendship and mutual admiration finally resulted in a complete duets album released just last year entitled American Grandstand. (A must-have for fans of traditional country music.) The album debuted in the Top Ten of the Billboard Country Albums chart, and even resulted in Rhonda and Daryle performing a duet set during CMA Fan Fest last summer in Nashville.
Through his association with the MACC, Daryle developed several friendships within the bluegrass community, most notably with Charli and Buddy Robertson of Flatt Lonesome. Connected through their mutual love of traditional country music, Daryle was an encouragement to the rising bluegrass stars, who were simply in awe of one of their favorite country singers. Daryle would have Charli join him to render some classic country duets during his MACC sets, and also during future appearances at The Station Inn with 45 RPM.
Upon the news of his untimely passing yesterday morning, Rhonda, Charli, Buddy, and several other bluegrass artists shared words of remembrance of this country music flamekeeper.
“My sincere condolences to the family of Daryle Singletary. I cry as I listen to the song we recorded As We Kiss Our World Goodbye and remember my friend Daryle Singletary who passed today. 2/12/18. He was truly one of the greatest singers who ever lived. I will cherish the times we sang together, and remember the kindred spirit we shared. Much love & prayers to his family. Rest In Peace my Friend”
— Rhonda Vincent
“The first time I heard Daryle Singletary was in 2013 with 45 RPM. I remember thinking it was the best, truest, most country singin’ I had ever heard live. When he got on stage he acted like he had been waiting all day to get there, and was just as excited to sing as we were to listen to him. At that moment – if you would’ve told me that I would get to meet him, sing with him, and become one of his friends I would probably call you crazy, but that’s exactly what happened!
In 2015 I was introduced to him by Darrell Adkins (promoter of the MACC festival) where we were playing the same festival. We ended up singing old country songs for hours, and then he asked me to sing a couple duets with him that night.
He told me that I could sing with him any time because when I sang – I owned it!
He went out of his way to encourage me, and be a friend to me when he didn’t have to. I’ll never forget it! I’m still in shock, but it’s another reminder that life can be short, and nobody is promised tomorrow. You will be missed by so many, Daryle Singletary!”
“If you ever got to know Daryle on a personal level you know what a great man he was. He was always such a good friend to me and always put a smile on my face. There are no words that will do justice in saying how great he was so I’ll just say Daryle, I love you and I miss you. I’ll never forget the last thing you said to me “you’re my good friend buddy”
I’ll see you someday in heaven.”
“Daryle was one of the best country singers in Nashville. I was saddened when I heard the news. Just saw him at Mel Tillis’ memorial service. I hugged him and told him that I loved him. What a shock! It made me realize that life is a gift,a nd none of us are promised tomorrow. I’ll miss him.”
— Ricky Skaggs
“I will mis singing with you, my friend. Thank you for my hats, our friendship, and especially for your music. It has been my honor to work with you and call you friend.”
— Josh Williams
Daryle Singletray leaves behind a wife and four small children. Please continue to keep the family in your prayers during this difficult time. RIP Daryle Singletary. Thanks for showing us that “there’s still a little country left.”