ANDERSON — The Charlie Daniels Band and Travis Tritt will kick off this year’s Summer Concert Series at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
The Herald Bulletin caught up with Charlie Daniels recently and talked about what was going on in the 78-year-old musician, singer and songwriter’s life.
Word of warning, don’t mention the word “retirement” to him.
“There’s nothing else I want to do — while I enjoy fishing, hunting and riding horses, I don’t want to do it all the time,” said Daniels. “As long as the good Lord is willing and my health is good, we’re set to play around 100 shows this year.”
Daniels, an active singer since the early ’50s, is probably best known for his No. 1 country hit, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” although he has contributed to many different music genres — Southern rock, country and bluegrass.
Other songs out of Daniels’ set list will no doubt include his first hit, “Uneasy Rider,” and “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “Long Haired Country Boy” and “Still in Saigon.” Daniels played fiddle on many of The Marshall Tucker Band’s early albums.
CDB has a new album, “Live at Billy Bob’s,” which was recorded in February at the world’s largest honky tonk in Fort Worth, Texas. Also planned is an album of cowboy songs to be released this year.
Daniels, a lover of horses, cowboy lore and championship rodeo, fits the bill of the “lone cowboy.” Though references will show his music as Southern rock, country and bluegrass, among others, Daniels refuses to label his music as anything but “CDB music.”
“I enjoy playing the old stuff but also the new stuff, too,” said Daniels. “I record when I want to and feel like I have something new to record. I’m always writing and recording.”
On Aug.12, Daniels’ 40th anniversary of Volunteer Jam will take place. A star-studded line up includes Trace Adkins, Ted Nugent, Tracy Lawrence, Craig Morgan, Colt Ford, The Oak Ridge Boys and Michael W. Smith, in addition to previously announced acts, Travis Tritt, Montgomery Gentry, Billy Ray Cyrus, The Kentucky Headhunters, The Outlaws and Lee Roy Parnell.
Daniels started Volunteer Jam back in 1974 in a small 2,200-seat theater.
“The show is just something that has taken on a life of its own,” said Daniels. “We will probably have more artists than ever before.”
The event will be held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville this year, which holds approximately 18,500 for concerts.
Volunteer Jam brings megastars together to support the needs of American veterans through The Journey Home Project, the nonprofit organization that Daniels serves as chairman of the board. Their mission is to connect donors to veterans’ organizations that can help meet their health care, education and career needs.
Also, last year Daniels paid tribute to Bob Dylan with “Off the Grid – Doin’ It Dylan.” It was his first new album project release since 2007.
What artist past or present that he never played with would Daniels just like to get on stage and jam with?
“I would love to sit in with Duane Allman. I wish I could have spent longer with B.B. King. I met him but didn’t get to jam with him. I did jam with Earl Scruggs and that was a big thrill. I recorded with Marty Robbins and Bob Dylan. Lots of musical dreams have come true.”
When choosing songs to record, does Daniels’ religion affect his choices?
“There are certain things I would not do because of my faith,” said Daniels. “Certain things I do not want to promote or proliferate: disrespect for women, gangs, for example, that would not be me.”
With a career that has spanned six decades, is there anything Daniels would still like to accomplish?
“A 10-pound largemouth bass, an 8-point buck, for every album to go platinum and every show to sell out,” Daniels said with a chuckle.
Tickets for Friday’s concert are still available at Ticketmaster or Shelby’s Gifts for the show to be held outside in the yard.
(Playing in Jacksonville in October)
One of my favorites of Charlie Daniels and Travis Tritt with some Johnny Cash and Marty Stewart thrown in. The Devil Came Back to Georgia and Johnny’s Gonna Kick His Butt Again. Amen!