There is only one Charlie Daniels [classic article]

As first seen in Graffiti magazine

One of Southern rock’s definers is Charlie Daniels. He’s been going strong for 50 years and still performs 80-100 dates a year. Not everybody knows Daniels started out as a session player in Nashville, working on albums with people like Bob Dylan. When he did strike out on his own, he became music history, with songs such as “South’s Gonna Do It (Again),” “Long Haired Country Boy,” and “Trudy.”

With platinum records, Grammys and CMA awards under his belt, he still had one mountain he wanted to climb . . . being inducted into the Grand Ol’ Opry. This past Fall, Martina McBride surprised him on stage with an invitation to join. Daniels’ emotion was palpable. He had reached the summit when he was inducted.

Charlie Daniels’ annual Volunteer Jam was the predecessor to today’s rock fests: every year, he selects several super-famous musicians to play with him. This year, the Jam comes to Lewisburg for the West Virginia State Fair, along with .38 Special and Shooter Jennings. We’re honored he took the time to do an exclusive interview with Graffiti and we think it’s cute that his phone plays “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Daniels has just released a new CD, “Deuces,” a collection of duets. He sings with artists like Travis Tritt, Marty Stuart and Gretchen Wilson.

For more info on this living legend, go to

Graffiti: Tell me how you decided to do this new duet CD.

Daniels: I hadn’t done one — my manager suggested it. There’s been a tremendous response. It took a little time to get it done, everybody arranging their schedules.

Graffiti: Speaking of CDs, will “Way Down Yonder” ever be put out as a CD?

Daniels: I don’t know; it depends on the label. We did it on our old record label. I’ve lost touch with that part of the catalog. It’s probably been sold and now they’ve forgotten it.

Graffiti: You’ve been busy with your Volunteer Jam tour. Is there enough footage from the first Volunteer Jam to release a DVD?

Daniels: There is a DVD of the second Volunteer Jam. I wouldn’t think there’d be enough footage of the first Volunteer Jam, because it was supposed to be a one-time thing.

Graffiti: You delve into many styles of music between Southern rock, country, blues and Gospel. Do you change your sets for different venues?

Daniels: Not really. Basically, I do different lengths of shows. Sometimes, there will be three acts, which is not quite as long as when I’m just playing with an opening act. It’ll go between an hour and a half to 65 minutes.

Graffiti: What music do you listen to?

Daniels: Whatever I feel like at the time. Sometimes, it’ll be old country, or even classical music, sometimes Frank Sinatra!

Graffiti: When you’re not playing, what do you like to do in your spare time?

Daniels: I like fishing and golfing.

Graffiti: So, you’re playing at the West Virginia State Fair.

Daniels: It’s a fun place. Fairs are a venue the whole family will go to. The older demographic won’t go to a venue where they have to park and walk a long way. It’s a good fit — we do a family show. There’s no foul language, we’re not bawdy or lewd.

Graffiti: Are there any venues you won’t play?

Daniels: Not really. We play all kinds of venues, from amphitheaters to casinos.

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