Conan O’Brien traded wit for wisdom when he gracefully exited The Tonight Show back in 2010, and his eloquent farewell speech had one unexpected effect: It empowered a kid just out of Berklee College of Music to write a song.
“He encouraged his audience – young people especially – not to become cynical. I feel like Conan was talking to me,” says Charlie Worsham, explaining the inspiration behind “Young to See,” which he co-wrote with Chris DuBois and Lee Thomas Miller. “When you’re young and don’t know any better, you take chances that you may not let yourself take once you’re older and wiser. Those chances might end up as mistakes, but there’s a sweetness about them, and you’ll regret not trying more than you will having tried and failed.”
The song, which appears on the Mississippi native’s debut solo album, Rubberband, waxes poetic on the thrills that can come with ignoring better judgment. Its first verse takes Worsham back to his early days as the wide-eyed new guy to the Nashville music scene, who’d just found his “first place on the edge of town.”
“My first place in Nashville was like Animal House,” he recalls. “The whole band lived under one roof, and most nights the jam sessions ended close to sunrise.”
Rolling Stone is premiering a live performance of “Young to See,” filmed at John and Martina McBride’s Blackbird Studios in Nashville. With state-of-the-art production tools and instruments at their disposal, the singer and his band decided instead to go the more organic route with this video.
“That strange percussion instrument in the background is called a Shuitar,” he explains. “A friend of mine invented it by converting a cheap guitar into a sort of portable drum kit. It’s pretty crazy, but we actually used it on a few tracks of my album.”