Nashville Music Line: Charlie Daniels (1936-2020); Luke Bryan’s 23rd No. 1


Charles Edward Daniels (October 28, 1936 – July 6, 2020)

It’s hard to believe that we have lost one of music’s most iconic figures – Charlie Daniels.  Even though he was 83, he still seemed so full of life and energy, right up to the end. Just a few weeks ago, he appeared in a “together-but-separate” type of video with Larry Gatlin, Ray Stevens, TG Sheppard and others, singing Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” In the video, Charlie even mentions how his tour bus is itchin’ to get back on the road when the virus has subsided.

I have known Charlie, his lovely wife “Miss Hazel” and son Charlie Jr. for many years. Charlie always treated me with kindness and respect, as he did with everyone he met. I have so many memories of Charlie…

One of Charlie’s passions was the Angelus, a wonderful charity based in St. Petersburg, Florida, that provides residential care for people of all ages with very special physical needs.

  • “There are a lot of worthy causes out there, but I’m proud to tell you about The Angelus. For over 26 years I’ve been watching how they provide love and support and comfortable housing for the residents that are so severely handicapped, many suffering with Cerebral Palsy.” – Charlie Daniels

I would often go down to Clearwater, Florida, for Charlie’s annual Angelus fundraiser, an all-day concert starring the Charlie Daniels Band, along with friends such as the Marshall Tucker Band, Molly Hatchet, Dickey Betts, Little Texas, and many more. I have so many memories of the backstage shenanigans at those concerts, and at the Celebrity Golf Tournaments that were part of the events. https://www.theangelus.com/the-angelus-home/

Another passion was the plight of military personnel returning from service overseas. Charlie and his manager, Davide Corlew, formed “The Journey Home Project” to assist service men and women dealing with physical and psychological trauma as they reenter civilian life. https://www.thejourneyhomeproject.org/

At the end of March, Charlie revealed the lineup for his annual Volunteer Jam, rescheduled to September 15 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. As always, it will be a star-packed event, but this year I’m sure there will be a lot of tears as Charlie is remembered. Charlie’s first Volunteer Jam was held in 1974.

So many of Charlie’s friends have posted their thoughts about Charlie.  Here are just a few…

  • Dolly Parton: “Well, the devil went down to Georgia, but Charlie went straight to heaven. My heart, like many millions of others, is broken today to find out that we’ve lost our dear friend Charlie Daniels. It was such a shock. He was one of the great people in the business and one of the greatest entertainers ever. He will live on in our hearts. Rest in peace, Charlie.”
  • Teddy Gentry (Alabama): “From the eighties until last year, I’ve had the pleasure of not only touring with but getting to know Charlie Daniels. He was everything on stage a great artist should be. But it was the offstage Charlie I grew to love over the years. Many times, Charlie would answer the call to do charity work and never charge a cent. He set a humble example of what a man, a friend, and Christian should be by the way he treated others. I’m gonna miss you my friend.”
  • Doug Gray (Marshall Tucker Band): “It is a sad day for a southern gentleman. A soft-spoken Godly man. A man I have known for 50 years. Yes, my heart is broken but Hazel and Charlie Jr. have all of us holding them with the strength that Mr. Daniels has given us through the years. We are missing a man that already has the hands of his great God holding him. I have no words.”
  • Marty Raybon, (Shenandoah): “Charlie Daniels was a man of God, a voice of reason in unsettled times. He was a brother and friend. Until we meet again on the shores of the everlasting. Rest in Peace, Charlie Daniels.”
  • Loretta Lynn: “Country music will never be the same. Charlie was a heck of an artist. I can’t even begin to count the number of times we worked together. He was so much fun! He was always such a good friend to me and I loved him. We’re all going to miss him so much.”
  • Blake Shelton: “Just when I thought 2020 couldn’t break my heart anymore… Charlie Daniels, you will always be an American hero. Rest in peace, sir.”

Hard to believe, but Charlie has been a singer and musician since the late 1950s, influenced as much by the R&B he heard on WLAC as the Country he listened to from WSM. Coming to Nashville, he became a session musician, playing guitar and bass on albums for Bob Dylan among others. He was also finding a career as a songwriter – co-writing “It Hurts Me,” a Top 40 hit for Elvis Presley in 1964.

Charlie’s first hit song as a recording artist was “Uneasy Rider” in 1973, peaking at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Since then, he has won a Grammy in 1979 for Best Country Vocal Performance for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” was inducted into The Grand Ole Opry (2008), The Musicians Hall of Fame (2009) and the Country Music Hall of Fame (2016).

In October 2018, Charlie released Songs In The Key of E, a ‘side project’ album as part of a group called the Beau Weevils. The group consisted of Charlie plus CDB bass player Charlie Hayward, James Stroud on drums and Billy Crain on guitar. You can see a fun and funky video – “Geechi Geechi Ya Ya Blues (Quarantine Edition)” – featuring Charlie, fellow Beau Weevils and friends such T. Graham Brown, Crystal Gayle and more on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Or7UIOCupw  It was posted June 1, 2020 – when we thought Charlie Daniels would go on forever.

In 2017, Charlie published Never Look at the Empty Seats: A Memoir.  The autobiography is still available at Amazon and elsewhere.

More about Charlie at his official website https://www.charliedaniels.com/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/charliedanielsband/

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have had to postpone their scheduled Facebook Live show, set for tonight, July 7.  They learned that one of their crew had been exposed to coronavirus and decided to cancel the show. Garth and Trisha will self-quarantine for two weeks.

Their official statement said: “Out of an abundance of caution, Garth Brooks is moving his and Trisha Yearwood’s July 7th Facebook concert to a later date and postponing Inside Studio G for 2 weeks. While Garth and Trisha are fine, the Garth/Trisha camp has possibly been exposed to the Covid-19 virus. To be smart about this, they are all quarantining for 2 weeks and thank everyone for their concern

It’s estimated that more than 350,000 people trekked to more than 300 drive-in theaters to watch the pre-recorded show starring Garth Brooks in concert on June 27, that we discussed last week. The show featured an opening six-song set from Warner Music Nashville’s Randall King.  According to Country Aircheck, the production was so skillful that, for the most part, audiences seemed unaware that the show was pre-recorded, with Brooks and the band working the gig as if they were playing in person. A master of social media, Brooks used Twitter both before and during the show and responded to fans on Facebook Live.

Glen Campbell Memoir: We’ve talked about Loretta Lynn’s book, Me and Patsy, about her friend Patsy Cline. Now we have a book titled Gentle on My Mind: In Sickness and in Health with Glen Campbell, a memoir written by Glen’s widow Kim Campbell.  According to Kim’s pre-publication interview with USA Today, life with Glen wasn’t always easy, particularly during his battles with alcohol and drugs.  Then, his final years, together, they dealt with his decline into Alzheimer’s disease. But the book also recounts many of the fun and enjoyable events during the 34-year marriage, including his seemingly-unlikely friendship with rocker Alice Cooper, his long-time golf buddy.

Published June 23, the memoir also talks about the high points of the life together including Glen’s many awards, acclaimed performances, the birth of their children and encounters with Mick Fleetwood, Waylon Jennings, Jane Seymour and others. I’m looking forward to reading about the unique artist who went from a guitarist in LA’s famed ‘Wrecking Crew’ to an acclaimed singer selling more than 45 million records worldwide, as well as a career in TV and movies.

  • Among Glen Campbell’s hit songs: “Gentle on My Mind” (1967), “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (1967), “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife” (1968), “Wichita Lineman” (1968), “Galveston” (1969), “Rhinestone Cowboy” (1975) and “Southern Nights” (1977).
  • Glen Campbell was born April 22, 1936 and died August 8, 2017. Kim was Glen’s fourth wife. They married in 1982.
  • One of Glen’s former wives, Sarah, had been Mac Davis’ second wife. Glen also had a well-publicized relationship with Tanya Tucker before meeting and marrying Kim.
  • Another book, Life With My Father Glen Campbell, by his daughter, Debby Campbell, was published in 2014. 

Single and album from Jeannie Seely. New music from an Opry veteran. Jeannie celebrates her 80th birthday on July 6 by releasing a new song, “Not A Dry Eye In The House,” that she premiered the on WSM-AM radio in Nashville that morning. The song is a duet with long-time friend Willie Nelson whom she first met in 1963. (Jeannie was a secretary and an aspiring songwriter for a music publisher in Los Angeles at the time.)

The duet will be released on Jeannie’s upcoming album, An American Classic, set for release on August 14 on Curb Records. The album will also include another duet – with Ray Stevens – on Jeannie’s version of Paul McCartney’s “Dance Tonight.”  Another highlight on the album: Jeannie’s friend Dottie West died (from injuries sustained from a car wreck) in 1991 before she could finish writing “If You Could Call It That.” Songwriters Bobby Tomberlin and Steve Wariner completed the song, working from notes left behind by Dottie, and now Jeannie gets to sing her friend’s song on her new album. Bill Anderson, Vince Gill and Lorrie Morgan are also featured on An American Classic.

  • In an interview in Sunday’s Tennessean, it was noted that Jeannie Seely has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for five decades – more than half of the Opry’s 94-year history.
  • Jeannie was the first to wear a miniskirt on stage at the Opry (shock! sensation!) and the first female artist to lead a segment of the Opry show.
  • Dottie West was one of the first artists to cut a song written by Jeannie: “It Takes Practice” (1965) when Jeannie was a staff writer at Four Star Music.

Luke Bryan has jumped to No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart for the list dated July 11.  “One Margarita” is Luke’s 23rd No. 1 and made the quickest trip to the top of that chart of any song so far this year. “One Margarita” was written by Michael Carter – who is Luke’s bandleader – along with Josh Thompson and Matt Dragstrem.

If you watch the official video of the song, you can catch cameo appearances of Caylee Hammack and members of Old Dominion, along with Luke’s wife Caroline and his mom, having fun on the beach.  The video was filmed – pre-pandemic – in Mexico earlier this year.

“One Margarita” is a happy-go-lucky earworm that seems to have resonated with fans hankering for some fun on the beach. Luke even drops a name-check to Kenny Chesney in the song!  You can see the video for “One Maragarita” (directed by Michael Monaco) on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEq-cvq_cK4

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“I Know Country” Q&A from www.IKnowCountry.com 

QUESTION: Which country star made his Grand Ole Opry debut then met his future wife for the first time backstage at the Ryman Auditorium on this date in 1956?

•••

This Week’s Country Music Birthdays

July 5               Dave Haywood (Lady Antebellum), 1982

July 6               Jeannie Sealy, 1940

July 7               Charlie Louvin (Louvin Brothers) 1927. (died Jan 26, 2011)

Maddie Marlow (Maddie & Tae), 1995

July 8               Toby Keith, 1961

July 10             Gary LeVox (Rascal Flatts), 1970

July 11             Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), 1947

No. 1 Country Songs Over The Decades

July 7, 1963     “Act Naturally”            Buck Owens

July 7, 1973     “Why Me”                   Kris Kristofferson

July 7, 1983     “Love Is on a Roll”       Don Williams

July 7, 1993     “That Summer”           Garth Brooks

July 7, 2003     “Beer For My Horses” Toby Keith

July 7, 2013     “Cruise”                       Florida Georgia Line [see below]

  • An oddity: “Cruise” from FGL was No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for two weeks in January 2013. It then returned to the No. 1 spot in April 2013 and stayed there for 19 consecutive weeks, plus a couple more later for a total of 24 weeks, breaking a record that had stood for around 60 years. The second run at No. 1 was a result of a remix featuring the rapper Nelly.
  • The re-mix did not appeal to Country Radio programmers: the song had the distinction of holding the No. 1 spot for multiple weeks atop the Hot Country Songs chart without ever appearing on Billboard’s 60-song Country Airplay chart!

•••

“I Know Country” Q&A ANSWER: July 7, 1956 was the date Johnny Cash met June Carter backstage at the Ryman.  They were married in March 1968.

  • July 7 played another important role in the life of Johnny Cash. On July 7, 1950, he joined the US Air Force. During basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, he became part of a 5-piece group of fellow servicemen calling themselves The Landsberg Barbarians. It was there that he learned to play the guitar.
  • And on July 7, 1986, Johnny was awarded the Shalom Peace Award by the Jewish National Fund to honor his contributions and efforts to promote peace through music.

Preshias Harris is a music career development consultant with the emphasis on new and aspiring artists and songwriters. Visit www.collegeofsongology.com for more details.   Follow her blog at  www.nashvillemusicline.com

Harris is also the author of “I Know Country” with 366 daily country music questions and answers. You can buy and instantly download your e-book copy at www.IKnowCountry.com.

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