It was some thirty years ago when I first caught a Charlie Daniels concert. He was the back-up to the Marshall Tucker Band at the old Capital Centre outside
It’s a metaphor for his life. At a time when he should, deservedly be disappearing into the shadows, he’s back – with the crowd roaring once again. Despite recovering from a stroke and nearing his 74th birthday, Charlie still plays about 100 concerts a year, including Sean Hannity’s “Freedom Concerts” to benefit the children of our fallen and disabled
So much has Charlie become ingrained in the “Freedom Concerts” (he performed in all eight shows this year) and in the effort to support our military worldwide that he deserves his own tribute. He is
It would be nice if patriotism were in style in the music industry. It is in the country music universe, but in other circles there is no quicker way to become a pop culture pariah than following this path.
Months after 9/11, ABC anchor Peter Jennings scratched out country singer Toby Keith from an Independence Day special because his songs were deemed too “mean” in their anger at our attackers. NBC put on country singer Steve Earle to sing sympathetically about American Taliban fighter John Walker Lindh and his prayers for martyrdom. The Dixie Chicks publicly declared their embarrassment with President Bush for his declaration of war against terrorism and were hailed by the elites. That’s what one does to earn accolades.
In recent years I’ve come to know Charlie Daniels personally, enough so that I can say with confidence that this man just isn’t looking for tributes. One gets the feeling that at his age, having accomplished so much, he just doesn’t need them. He does it because he loves America and wants to honor the military by performing at the “unique and heartwarming” Freedom Concerts to entertain crowds full of “hard-working, God-fearing patriotic folks, the salt-of-the-earth middle Americans who have fought our wars, raised good citizens, and kept the wheels of progress moving forward in this nation for over 200 years.”
“Patriotism to me is always in style, but now — especially now — we need a little shot in the arm,” he says.
He remembers that it can take a catastrophe to make people remember their common national bond: “9/11 was definitely a wakeup call to everybody about our country and about how precious it is — about what can happen here and what did happen here. It never happened here before, and it showed we’re a lot more vulnerable than we used to be. So as we go along, we forget about those pictures of the planes crashing into the trade towers and all the things that went on that day.”
In 2006, CBS “Early Show” weatherman Dave Price asked him why at his age he was performing for soldiers in
The Charlie Daniels Band has performed for U.S troops all over the world, not just in
Their brand-new album, “Land That I Love,” underlines a strong theme in Charlie’s music. That’s a snapshot of his career, an apt description of a love affair with his country that Charlie Daniels has expressed in music for over a half-century.
Daniels was welcomed into the Grand Ole Opry Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Musicians Hall of Fame in
But Charlie has brought a much larger basket of gifts to this country and its fighting men and women. He deserves every honor that comes his way. Those of us who can consider Charlie Daniels a friend are honored that way.