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article imageInterview with country legend Charlie Daniels Special

By Adrian Peel     Aug 21, 2015 in Music
The bearded singer/guitarist/fiddler and leader of The Charlie Daniels Band, is about to release a new live album recorded at Billy Bob's in Fort Worth, Texas. He tells Digital Journal all about it and reveals why he's not yet ready to call it a day.
One of country music's greatest living showmen, Charlie Daniels, inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009, has been electrifying audiences all over the world - and putting out albums - for the past 50 years.
His most recent live offering was 2007's Live from Iraq, a free concert for American troops stationed out there, and now this grizzled stalwart of country, blues and southern rock is back with another.
This time, the Grammy Award-winner (Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" in 1979) is using Billy Bob's as the setting for his new 14-track CD and DVD. What is so special about this iconic venue where so many of his contemporaries - both young and old - have also performed?
"It's just a great big Texas honky tonk, with all that that includes... People come in to have a good time; it's a rip-roaring sort of a place where people come to have fun, and you just kinda wade in and start having fun with them. It's a great atmosphere, let's put it like that."
"The company that does the projects approached us about doing it," says the 78 year old, an ardent supporter of the American military, recalling how the chance of joining the long list of names who have released material recorded live at this landmark site arose."They wanted us to do one, so we booked a night down there, took the recording equipment in and did it."
"Not really, it was a pretty standard show for us - we do this about 110 times a year," replies the proud southerner in his friendly tones, when asked whether there was anything special or unique about that particular gig. "When I do a live album or a live television show, or anything like that, I try to forget about the cameras and the microphones.
"I do a whole lot better if I just do my ordinary show without even thinking about it being recorded or filmed. It's better for me to go ahead and say 'It's just like a regular night.' I try to ignore everything except the crowd."
A quick glance at the tracklist reveals some familiar favourites. "The South's Gonna Do It (Again)," "Long Haired Country Boy," "Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye" and of course the aforementioned "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" (a Spanish language version of which exists thanks to Mexican country band 8 Segundos) are all present and correct, but there is also the odd tune never before featured on a Charlie Daniels Band live album.
The man himself, who admits he would love to play the Royal Albert Hall in London again someday, outlines one of the dilemmas faced when it comes to whittling down songs:
"We go back and forth with some of our older songs that we put in... I got one spot in the show where there are four different songs that I could do. I don't have time to do them all, but I can do one of them and they all fit...
"So one night I may do one song, one night another. I could do "Saddle Tramp" or I could do "Birmingham Blues" or I could do "Billy the Kid" or I could do "El Toreador"... You may hear one show one night with different songs than what you heard the night before."
"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" closes every show and the resident of Mount Juliet, Tennessee explains why: "It's our signature song and it's the one we close with, the obvious reason being that we don't have anything to follow it with.
"Of all the songs that people have ever heard from us, that's the one they all recognise. That particular song creates a little atmosphere of its own..."
The Charlie Daniels Band
The Charlie Daniels Band
Erick Anderson
The star already has a number of dates booked for next year, from the end of February onwards, so I assumed thoughts of retirement hadn't even crossed his mind. "No, I have no interest in retiring," he confirms, no doubt bringing joy and delight to his many fans. "The act of performing live, that's why I'm in this.
"I love recording, I love writing, I love the whole ambiance of what I do and all the peripheral stuff, but basically I love to perform live. That's my thing, that's what I love to do - that's what keeps me in the game."
The Charlie Daniels Band Live At Billy Bob's Texas will be available on CD and DVD from October 16.
For more information on The Charlie Daniels Band, visit their official website.
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