Fiddler Charlie Daniels sings songs of the SouthWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlie Daniels will rosin up his bow and play his fiddle hard when he brings his band to town at 8 p.m. July 29 at Harley-Davidson, 7960 Central Ave.
“We’ve played for the bikers for years,” Daniels said last week from a tour stop in Choctaw, Miss. “We play the same stuff for them. We do songs that people have a right to expect us to do, the songs they play on the radio and TV (“The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The Legend of Wooley Swamp”), and we do some new songs and a few surprises.”
His latest disc, “Songs From the Longleaf Pines,” was released in March. The gospel and bluegrass collection is the 45th release in Daniels’ career and is dedicated to Russell Palmer, who taught him his first guitar chord.
“My family always loved music, but we didn’t play,” Daniels said. “Russell came out one day with an old guitar. He knew two and a half chords on it, and we started from there.”
Daniels learned the mandolin along with the guitar and one year later picked up a fiddle at age 16.
“I don’t know which way my life would have went if Russell hadn’t come out with that guitar,” said the native of Wilmington, N.C.
Russell helped launch a legend known for his Southern music, Western attire, patriotic verve and spirited storytelling.
“I come from a time when the storyteller was revered. I didn’t see a picture on the TV set until I was 15 years old. We listened to the radio,” Daniels said. “You had to draw your own pictures. I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and I always wanted to write even when I was very young. And I found I had a little talent in that direction.”
That talent is evident with the hits “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “Still in Saigon,” “In America” and “This Ain’t No Rag, It’s a Flag,” which he wrote after Sept. 11, 2001.
“Patriotism is really strong in America. As much as I travel — coast to coast, border to border — I know this,” Daniels said. “I can’t speak for Hollywood or segments of the media, but as far as rank and file citizens go, people who get out there and get the job done, patriotism is very strong.”
Last spring, Daniels and his band showed their support and entertained American troops in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq and Germany.
“We visited one of Saddam’s palaces, it was incredibly lavish; This guy had like 200 of these things in the country. And so much of the country’s resources he used on himself and his family while folks lived in abject poverty,” Daniels said. “Our troops are very welcome in Iraq. I don’t know why the media aren’t reporting that.”
Daniels had the chance to sit in one of Saddam’s chairs. “I was trying to show as much disrespect as I could and still stay decent,” he said with a laugh.
Tickets for the concert are $27.50 in advance and $30 at the gate.