Daryl Mosley Discovers the Secret of Life
by Stephen Pitalo
Award-winning hitmaker Daryl Mosley just released “A Few Years Ago,” the first single off Mosley’s upcoming solo project The Secret of Life, available May 22. Released via Pinecastle Records, every song on the long-awaited album was either written or co-written by Mosley. Given its full-circle message, the cut serves as the perfect way to kick off The Secret of Life, and Mosley already says it’s the high watermark of his career.
“The album really is a marker for my career thus far,” he said. “And it’s sincerely the best thing I’ve ever recorded.”
Mosley thinks of the new album as a bit of an anthology. Mining three songs long out-of-print from the New Tradition day and two he wrote for the Farm Hands; the rest of the songs are originals.
“Each song is special in its own way,” he said. “The title track is a true story written about Toad Smith, the local barber in my hometown of Waverly, Tennessee. ‘It Never Gets Old’ is just a simple love song, but my friend Irene Kelley came in and added the most gorgeous harmony. She really made it extra special. And ‘The Deal’ is a unique song because it’s a gospel song but written from the vantage point of The Devil.”
“I’ve been blessed with over 30 years of professional Bluegrass music. Lots of great moments and great memories but there were certainly some mistakes and missteps along the way too. ‘A Few Years Ago’ was written as a tribute to that moment when you can finally look back at your past with clarity. You appreciate the good moments, accept your responsibility in the mistakes, and find peace.”
Known for his prolific storytelling ability, Mosley has been penning tracks for artists like Lynn Anderson, Bobby Osborne, Josh Williams, the Booth Brothers, and Carolina Blue. He served memorably as a member of the celebrated bluegrass band New Tradition; he formed his band the Farm Hands in 2010. The new album, however, is a clean break.
“I decided to leave The Farm Hands so I could focus more on songwriting. This album was my first ever opportunity to create a project from front to back the way I wanted it. It truly was a labor of personal expression. I’ve been doing solo shows for the past few months, but I am putting a band together for the festivals. I’m looking forward to taking these songs on the road.”
Mosley believes that New Tradition and The Farm Hands helped his songwriting in ways he’s just discovering.
“In the early days of New Tradition, I was the only songwriter, and I was still trying to learn how to write bluegrass songs,” Mosley revealed. “Danny and the guys in the band were great at encouraging me to write and were happy to record the songs. Some of those songs have actually worn very well over the years. It’s always a joy when someone tells me how much those songs from New Tradition meant to them. With The Farm Hands, I wrote most of the songs that I brought to the projects we recorded. We had a couple of #1 songs [‘Rural Route’ and ‘Hillbilly Graham’] and it was really my first opportunity to see industry-wide success with songs I wrote and sang.”
Mosley said his earliest musical memories involve records his father brought home from the Army, which included Stonewall Jackson, Elvis, and other country artists.
“When I was about 12, I really discovered Don Williams,” Mosley revealed. “His songs and his delivery always really spoke to me, and still does to this day. I got to know Loretta Lynn when I was in my late teens, and she was the first person to ever encourage me to write songs.”
“When I was in my early 20s, Richie Dotson, who became the banjo player in New Tradition, introduced me to modern bluegrass when he loaned me his copy of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver’s Rock My Soul. About halfway through the second chorus of “On The Sea of Life,” I knew what I wanted to do.”
It sounds like things have worked out for Mosley.
“I’m so blessed to still be doing it.”