Country Music News International Remembering Charlie Daniels – by Jeffrey Kurtis

Country Music News International Remembering Charlie Daniels – by Jeffrey Kurtis

The breaking news on July 6, 2020 of the
passing of country music legend, Grand Ole Opry member, and Country Music Hall
of Fame inductee Charlie Daniels, sent shockwaves through the music and entertainment
community. Fellow artists, publicists, actors, and his friends, all lit up
their social media feeds with commentary about their experiences with the
legend; saying the same favorable things about Mr. Daniels: a true patriot, one
of the good guys, one of the nicest and kindest people I’ve ever met, etc.

The streets of his hometown community of
Mt. Juliet, TN was lined with people who paid their respects as Daniels was
transported by a police escort from the hospital where he passed away to the
funeral home where arrangements were being made.

Anytime the country music community
loses one of its own, it’s difficult to digest. It’s a piece of our fabrication
that can’t be replaced. It seems that we all remember our own personal stories
of how the specific person made an impact on us and I’m certainly not immune to
that with Mr. Daniels.

When I was growing up in the 1980’s, my
grandfather was fully invested in country music. He seemed to always be humming
the chorus to Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again,” there was a velvet Elvis
hanging in their living room, and Urban Cowboy was always on their
television set anytime that it was aired on TV for free (they didn’t have
cable). You know where this is heading! It didn’t matter what I was doing at
the time – playing with baseball cards most likely – but when the scene with
the Charlie Daniels Band came on, I stopped in my tracks to watch him tear up
the fiddle as they performed “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”

Fast-forward 30 years later and I was now
living in Nashville. I was handed free tickets at the Twice Daily’s Gas Station
for an event that Daniels was hosting in support of Lipscomb University’s
Yellow Ribbon Enhancement Program as part of his Scholarship for Heroes.

Lipscomb’s Allen Arena was filled with
giddy spectators as Keni Thomas, The Grascals, and Chris Young all performed as
supporting acts. Mary Byers, the then National president of American Gold Star
Mothers, Inc., was also honored.

The next day, all the media articles that
were written about the event had lit up with the news that Lee Greenwood and
Jason Aldean had both made surprises appearances during the event, but for me,
the main event truly happened the moment that Daniels took the stage.

The first strike of that fiddle as the
band opened with “Redneck Fiddlin’ Man” had everyone immediately jumping to
their feet and clapping along, but I was back there sitting on the living room
floor with my grandpa. In the moment, I was wiping a few tears from my cheeks
that somehow escaped my eyes, but on that floor in my grandparent’s house I was
surrounded by my scattered baseball cards, smiling ear to ear, and dancing as Urban
played on the screen in front of me.

In all my years of working in country
music, I’ve been privileged to write several reviews of Charlie Daniels live performances
and albums, but I’ve surprisingly never had the chance to meet the man in
person even though we’ve been in the same room on several different occasions.

So now with the news of his passing this
week, I send my message to Daniels through the prayer line: thank you for all
you’ve done for country music, for your unwavering support of America and our
true heroes, and for me personally, thank you for giving me songs that kept me
connected to my grandfather who passed away when I was much younger.

The devil may have gone down to Georgia,
but the always humble man behind the hit song has certainly gone up to heaven
and is most likely already standing front and center on the grandest stage of
the church triumphant as he plays his golden fiddle for an entirely new
audience while eliciting BIG smiles!

Related Posts

Country Music Fair Erfurt

Amanda Heartsong By The Hearthfire

By Phillip Doring for Country Music News International Magazine

The Emergence Of Owen Smith

By Phillip Doring for Country Music News International Magazine

Tamworth Country Music Festival

By Phill Doring for Country Music News International Magazine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *