The Charlie Daniels Band – Still Going Strong

Charlie Daniels Band – SuperBowl XXVIII

Charlie Daniels is one of the featured “On this day” moments in my e-mail box. It’s a short comment talking about the upcoming “Super Bowl” and previous ones. On January 30, 1994, Charlie performs along with The Georgia Satellites and Kris Kross at Super Bowl XXVIII pregame. Later, he comes back out for the Halftime Show finale. Along with The Judds, Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt and Stevie Wonder. 

So, while you’re scratching your head wondering where I’m going with this? To me, it’s a great incentive to revisit his music. So, this blog is about Daniels and what a great music legend he is. At 83, he’s still writing, performing and touring along with having a multi-platinum career under his belt. Furthermore, he’s always done things his way on his terms and plays from the heart.

The Early Years & Beyond

An active singer and songwriter since the 1950s, he was raised on gospel, bluegrass, country, blues, and rock. So, it’s no surprise that he would go on and have a lifetime career in music. He started playing the fiddle as a child even though he never took any lessons and just played by ear. 

It’s been the same ever since when it comes to playing instruments, playing and learning from other musicians. Little by little, he starts winning local fiddle contests and begins his professional career as a guitarist and fiddler. Later, in 1955 he went electric with a Gibson electric guitar and starts a rock ‘n’ roll band. It’s around this time that he starts playing clubs all over the country performing covers to make ends meet. His band includes Charlie Hayward, Bruce Brown, Ron Gannaway, Chris Wormer and Shannon Wickline.

In the 1960s, he becomes a studio musician and producer in Nashville and while there starts recording his own songs. And yes, the fiddle becomes a part of the band again. The audiences loved it and it also becomes a pivotal moment in Daniels musical direction. Once this happens, they hit the studio and start recording.

Always Keeping Busy

In 1964, Daniels co-writes “It Hurts Me” (A song Elvis records) with his producer friend Bob Johnston. During 1969 & 1970, he also plays guitar and electric bass on three Bob Dylan albums and a record with Leonard Cohen and produces the 1969 album by the Youngbloods, Elephant Mountain.

Since then the CDB has populated radio with such memorable hits as “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “In America,” “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” and of course, his signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia 40th Anniversary

In December 1978, Charlie, the band and producer John Boylan realized they were missing a fiddle song when recording the album that would become Million-Mile Reflections, so they took a few days off and wrote what would become the band’s signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”

The song becomes a worldwide phenomenon and launches the CDB into superstardom. It goes on to win a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1979 as well as single of the year at the CMA Awards. Most importantly, his contribution to the Urban Cowboy soundtrack made it so much better! So, Happy 40th anniversary and kudos to the band for creating such an iconic song! 

Volunteer Jams Concerts

Whether performing in the hit 80s movie Urban Cowboy, singing on Easter Sunday at his local church or leading an all-star cast at one of his famed Volunteer Jams, Charlie just exudes joy whenever he steps on stage, and he’s always been quick to provide a platform for other artists to shine. 

In 1974, he invited some friends to join him at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium for an all-star concert he dubbed The Volunteer Jam.  The event continued for years and was broadcast in the U.S. and internationally. 

Over the years, the Jam featured a diverse line up that included Willie Nelson, Ted Nugent, Roy Acuff, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Crystal Gayle, James Brown, Emmylou Harris, Amy Grant, George Thorogood, Kris Kristofferson, Little Richard, Tammy Wynette, Alabama, Oak Ridge Boys, B. B. King and the Allman Brothers.

He’s always been an avid supporter of the military, underprivileged children, and others in need.He also lends his time and talent to numerous charitable organizations, including The Journey Home Project, that he founded in 2014 with his manager, David Corlew, to help veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

Charlie Daniels’ Love For Diverse Music

As diverse as his live shows have always been, his discography has also reflected Charlie’s love of multiple genres.  In 1994, he releases his first Christian album, The Door, on Sparrow Records. The album wins the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for Best Country Album. While “Two Out of Three” is named video of the year by the Christian Country Music Association. In 1997, Sony Wonder releases Charlie’s first children’s album, “By The Light of The Moon: Campfire Songs and Cowboy Tunes’.

Blue Hat Records

An astute businessman as well as talented musician, Charlie launched Blue Hat Records in 1997 with his longtime manager David Corlew.  Over the past 15 years, the label has released such memorable albums as Blues Hat, Tailgate Party, Road Dogs, Fiddle Fire: 25 Years of the Charlie Daniels Band and his first bluegrass album 2005s’ Songs From the Longleaf Pines and 2007s’ album Deuces, featuring duets with Brad Paisley, Gretchen Wilson, Bonnie Bramlett, Travis Tritt, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Brenda Lee and Darius Rucker. 

The Accolades Over The Years

Over the course of his career, Charlie has received numerous accolades, including induction into the Grand Ole Opry and Musicians Hall of Fame.  He receives the “Pioneer Award” by the Academy of Country Music as well as a BMI Icon in recognition of his songwriting.  He receives a star on the Music City Walk of Fame. 

Upcoming Performances and Tours

While he keeps himself busy, he still is making time for touring in fact, The Charlie Daniels Band (CDB) and The Marshall Tucker Band (MTB) announced the “Fire on the Mountain” tour, a national road show that will bring together two of the genre’s most beloved musical legends. As well as performing with Alabama to make up the rescheduled dates they had to cancel. Stay Tuned!

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