Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 4, 2000

Catching up with Charlie Daniels

By Ryan Gueningsman

On a recent vacation to Arcadia, Wis., I had the opportunity to catch up with Charlie Daniels. For those of you who may not remember, Charlie headlined Winstock 1996.

Since 1996, Charlie has been busy, both musically and personally.

Daniels, who is perhaps best known for his song "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," has been in the music business for well over 40 years. He wrote his first 'story' in the early 1940s while coon hunting with his dad, a story about a "wooley" swamp. This 'story' would later become the Daniels chart-topper, "The Legend Of Wooley Swamp."

Perhaps, someday, something will be written about the legend of Charlie Daniels. Hopefully, though, just not anytime soon. For Charlie and his band, there are no plans to slow down for a long time.

Daniels, now 64, celebrated his 60th birthday after Winstock 1996 with Volunteer Jam XVI. This was an acoustic jam with several special guests.

Also in 1996, Daniels released a 3-CD box set titled "Charlie Daniels: The Roots Remain." This box set includes most of Charlie's hits.

Daniels was nominated for the CMA's Vocal Event Of The Year in 1997 for his remake of "Long Haired Country Boy" with John Berry and Hal Ketchum.

His first-ever children's album, "By The Light Of The Fire: Campfire Songs and Cowboy Tunes," was also released in 1997.

A real surprise was in store for Daniels in 1998, when he was the recipient of the ACM's Pioneer Award. This award is presented to an individual who has worked towards the growth of country music, and Daniels is certainly qualified to receive this honor, with over 25 albums, his own style of music, and countless hours of dedication to veterans and other causes that he believes in.

A personal cause is what brought Daniels to Arcadia, Wis., Aug. 20, where he was part of a park/amphitheater dedication and celebration for the community's veterans. Daniels performed a free one-hour show before his main performance that evening, which he dedicated to the veterans of all wars.

After the concert, he hopped on his golf cart and took a tour of the new park and amphitheater. He exclaimed, "It was one of the most beautiful parks I have ever saw."

That's not the only thing Daniels saw that night in Arcadia. There were several thousand fans and veterans on hand who enjoyed his closing performance. Ending the evening with his trademark song, "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," Daniels was soon on the road again, heading towards home.

Daniels currently does about 250 dates a year. According to his merchandise manager, Mark "The Kid" Randall, Charlie isn't planning to slow down anytime soon. Randall reports that Charlie recently said, "Boys, next year we're going to try to do a little more."


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