Charlie Daniels Talks New Live Album, Republican Presidential Race
Charlie Daniels has been performing concerts for decades, but he's still in search of the perfect performance.
The country legend will release a CD/DVD combo titled Live at Billy Bob's Texas on Oct. 16, featuring Charlie Daniels Band classics like "Long Haired Country Boy," "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," "In America" and "The South's Gonna Do It (Again)," as well as covers of Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. Despite his many years on the road, Daniels tells Taste of Country he never tires of playing his songs live.
"It's a challenge to do it better tonight than I did last night, and better tomorrow night than I did tonight," he says. "I've never done it perfect yet. It's just a matter of enjoying what you're doing, and enjoying the guys you're doing it with, and just trying to play better than you did last night. You're gonna play the same songs night after night, so you might as well go out there and do it good."
Daniels attributes his longevity to "the grace of God and the love for what I do. I can't imagine my life without music, and God's blessed me with good health and the inclination to get it done. I just love what I do — I love playing for people, I love entertaining. I'm gonna go until it becomes apparent that the good Lord wants me to quit, or when the people don't want to hear me anymore."
"What I do is not so physically demanding; I'm not swinging a sledgehammer or shoveling coal," the icon adds. "It's not so physically demanding that I can't do it. It could become that way on down the road, I don't know. But my general health is good, and I'd a whole lot rather spend my life doing what I'm doing than I would chasing a golf ball around a golf course or fly-fishing all the time. I love both, but not as much as I love music. So I intend to stay at it as long as I possibly can."
Daniels has been married to his wife, Hazel, since 1963, and she accompanies him on tour. He says the secret to their long union is simple. "Marry somebody you love, and work at it," he shares. "Realize that you have just taken somebody else's life into your care, and that you no longer belong completely to yourself, that part of you belongs to her. Always respect that, and always treat her like you want to be treated."
The singer has long been notable for his staunch public support for conservative causes and candidates, but he says it's far too early for him to voice any support for any of the current field of Republican presidential hopefuls.
"We don't know any of these guys very well," he observes. "Most of them have not been around in the public spotlight doing anything that would make us decide whether we wanted them or we didn't want them. What have they done? They haven't really done anything that would make you take them as a good president. So all we've got now is to listen to the rhetoric and the promises, and try to decide who would be best suited to do the job, and who would be telling the truth."
Daniels will continue to tour for the rest of the year, with dates booked into 2016 already. He says the Live at Billy Bob's Texas package is a good representation of the Charlie Daniels Band in the present day, and Billy Bob's was a perfect venue to capture the energy and spirit of the group.
"It's just a big ol' fun Texas honky tonk," he says. "It's just a fun place to play, and a good place to do a live album, because people come down and have fun, and they show you they're having fun. It's just a good atmosphere for live recording."
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