The many hats of Charlie Daniels

October 03, 2012|By AMY DULEBOHN |
  • The Charlie Daniels band will perform Saturday, Oct. 6, at Shiley Acres in Inwood, W.Va.
Submitted photo

INWOOD, W.Va. — Charlie Daniels is a man who doesn’t like to pigeonhole his music.

During his more than 50 years as an entertainer, his music has been defined as country, Southern rock, folk and bluegrass.

“I call it American music,” Daniels said during a telephone interview from Mountainview, Ark., where he was set to perform on a recent Friday night.

“We play some of all kinds of music that America has contributed to, the whole music scene,” he said.

And that’s just what the audience at Shiley Acres in Inwood, W.Va., can expect Saturday, Oct. 6, when the legendary fiddle player and his band headline Summer Jam IV.

For Daniels, who said he never saw a television until he was 16 years old, his musical tastes were molded by his early life experiences of listening to the radio.

“When I was a kid, you’d listen to the radio station in your town. The mandate from the FCC was you had to (play music) for everybody. So you had country music in the morning ... in the afternoon when the kids came home from school, they’d play whatever was the popular music at the time,” he said. “On Sunday, there’d be gospel (and) the more formal-type big church choirs, all of it, and my musical tastes ran in so many different directions. So when I started doing original music, a lot of that variety just kind of stayed with me.”

Nowadays, in addition to having a website, Daniels can be found on Facebook, and fans can follow him on Twitter. And while it wasn’t an easy ride for him to jump on the social media bandwagon, Daniels said he’s happy to be there.

“My son dragged me kicking and screaming into technology,” he said. “Twitter is easy for me. It’s a way of communicating with people around the world, or what somebody thought about a show last night, (or) if they’re looking forward to us coming to town. So I can say it’s a very good thing.”

Daniels admitted that his son does most of his Facebook posts, but the older Daniels writes two “soapboxes” a week that are posted on his website and on Facebook. Also, he tweets with people when he has time, particularly during football games and NASCAR races.

“(It’s a way to) communicate with people who are into the same kind of things that I am,” he said.

The Grammy winner said people who come to his shows can expect “entertainment.”

“We do the songs that people have a perfect right to expect us to do: ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia,’ ‘Long Haired Country Boy,’ ‘The Legend of Wooley Swamp.’ Those are the tunes that people have heard on the radio over the years,” he said. “We put some new songs in, we’ll revisit some old songs. We never have a problem with what to play, it’s ... what to leave out.

“But we try to put an entertaining set together for folks.”

Daniels, who will turn 76 on Oct. 28, said he is still going strong, despite having a mild stroke in 2010. “People retire to do things. People say, ‘When I retire, I’m gonna play golf all the time,’ or ‘I’m gonna fish all the time, I’ll travel, I’ll do this, that or the other thing.’ There’s nothing that I want to do but play music. So what would I retire to to do that I would enjoy as much as I enjoy this?” he said.

He also said he is at a place in his career where the physical demands are at a minimum. “Basically, I’m at the show maybe  two, two and a half hours a night, and then I get back on the bus and go somewhere else. My wife travels with me. We have our bus, it’s like a small apartment. We enjoy being together on the road,” he said.

Daniels and his wife, Hazel, celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary Sept. 20. Is there a secret to a successful marriage? Daniels said no.

“First of all, I think you just gotta be hopelessly in love with the person you marry,” he said. “You’ve gotta decide it’s a life commitment, it’s not something you try. Marriage is not like a car you buy — if you don’t like it, you take it back. If you have love, you can make all that other stuff fall into place.”

If you go ...       

WHAT: Summer Jam IV

WHEN: noon Saturday, Oct. 6

WHERE: Shiley Acres, 1446 Nadenbousch Lane, Inwood, W.Va.

COST: Advance tickets cost $20; $25 at the gate.

CONTACT: Advance tickets are available at

MORE: Charlie Daniels Band is scheduled to perform at 5:30 p.m. Gates open at 10 a.m. Crossbonz performs at noon; Blue Ridge Rain performs at 1:30 p.m.; Davisson Brothers Band performs at 3:30 p.m.

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