From his Dove Award winning gospel albums to his genre-defining Southern rock anthems and his CMA Award-winning country hits, few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. An outspoken patriot, beloved mentor to young artists and still a road warrior at age 79, Charlie has parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children and others in need.
Raised among the longleaf pines of North Carolina, Charlie began his career playing bluegrass music with the Misty Mountain Boys.
After moving to Nashville in 1967, he began making a name for himself as a songwriter, session musician and producer. Elvis Presley recorded a tune Charlie co-wrote titled “It Hurts Me,” which was released on the flip side of “Kissin’ Cousins.” He played on such landmark albums as Bob Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and tried his hand at producing on the Youngbloods’ Elephant Mountain and Ride the Wind.
His own unique voice as an artist emerged as Charlie recorded his self-titled solo album in 1970 for Capitol Records. Two years later he formed the Charlie Daniels Band and the group scored its first hit with the top ten “Uneasy Rider.” Since then the CDB has populated radio with such memorable hits as “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “In America,” “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” and of course, his signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” which won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group in 1979 as well as single of the year at the Country Music Association Awards.
The CDB will perform 100 concert dates this year including performances on the Grand Ole Opry. The band’s latest release, “Off the Grid – Doin’ It Dylan,” features 10 Bob Dylan songs by the CDB, and is their first CDB studio release since 2007.
“I love what I do,” says Charlie of his 50-plus years in the music business. “I look forward to entertaining people. When show time gets here, I’m ready to go, ready to go play for them. It’s a labor of love. I just thank God I make a living at what I enjoy doing.”
Top Songs: “Uneasy Rider” “Long Haired Country Boy” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again” “In America” “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”
By nearly every metric, Tracy Lawrence is a mega-watt success story. Thirteen million albums sold, eighteen No.1 singles and twenty-two songs on the Billboard Top 10 charts, multiple CMA and ACM awards and even a Grammy nomination. Yes, the small town Arkansas-bred teenager who arrived in Nashville nearly three decades ago, with a guitar and $700 in his pocket, has done himself proud. Don’t remind him though, because despite it all, the “Sticks and Stones” icon has always felt it important to maintain a steadfast workmanlike approach to and sheer reverence for his craft.
“I still see myself as that kid that came to town and idolized Merle Haggard and George Strait,” Lawrence, who is currently in the studio working on a new album on November 10th, says with a sense of wonder in his voice. “If you’re a lawyer you put your suit on every day and you go to work. I go to work. I put my uniform on and I go do my job. I’ve been blessed.”
In recent years, however, the scope and diversity of Lawrence’s job has evolved in thrilling ways. Just over two years since it first launched in January 2015, the country icon’s syndicated country-music radio show, “Honky Tonkin’ With Tracy Lawrence,” has fast become one the genre’s most cherished. Lawrence, who earlier this year was nominated for National On-Air Personality of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Radio Awards in Las Vegas, says the three-hour weekly program (syndicated in over 80 markets) was born out of his sensing a lack of attention being paid to country music of the 80s, 90s and early-2000s. “I just felt there was such a void in the market because there really wasn’t anybody focusing on the music from my era,” he explains. “The industry had missed the fact that so many people — and not just the people that had grown up with us, but their kids and younger people too — are getting into it now.” “I’ve been able to get things out of some of these interviews that maybe other people haven’t been able to do before,” he says of revealing chats with everyone from Reba McEntire to John Anderson to Sammy Kershaw and Ronnie McDowell. “It’s got a comfort to it that people enjoy.”
Top Songs: “Sticks and Stones” “Paint Me a Birmingham” “Time Marches On” “Alibis” “How a Cowgirl Says Goodbye”