Charlie Daniels and his band rolled through Frederick Sunday night to deliver classic country tunes to a sold out crowd at the Weinberg Center.
The night began with a high-energy version of the staple barstool heartbreak song “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye”. The band drove through the opening number and dazzled the audience.
Daniels was as lively as ever – dressed in his usual attire: a cowboy hat/boots and a huge metallic belt buckle that demands your attention.
Next, the band launched straight into “Texas”. Daniels solidified himself early as an amazingly skilled multi-instrumentalist and songwriter and both of these qualities are on display throughout the show. During the song, Daniels played a blazing fiddle and came to the edge of the stage to throw his bow into the crowd. He then received a new one with which he proceed to spank the other band members with comedicly (his comedy was an added bonus of the show).
Before the band started “Trudy” Daniels quipped, “We’re gonna do a song that’s older than half the front row put together, but I ain’t gonna tell you which half.” Armed with a guitar this time, Daniels shredded along.
Solos and amazing add ins from every band member were a theme throughout the night. This band is experienced and tight beyond any imagination.
“The Legend of Wooley Swamp” may have been my favorite song of the night. Daniels stated,”I have to explain this next song because no one in Maryland knows what a swamp is.” before proceeding to tell a hilarious story about how only southerners know how swamps are filled with critters, alligators and boogers. An extended jam after the song left the crowd in awe.
“Simple Man” spoke to many in the room who applauded as Daniels’ emphasized that he “knows what it’s like to be a country boy in a politically correct society”. The number also showed how his unique voice still holds up years later.
“In America” was dedicated to those in the military for their service – Daniels talked about growing up (being born in 1936) and witnessing pearl harbor/many other tragedies and how the military is our only hope time and time again/something we can always rely on. Daniels created massive applause when he switched the “Pittsburgh Steelers fan” line in the song to “Washington Redskins fan” instead.
“When you record a song you never know how people will react to it. We’ve played this song at about every show since we recorded it in 1974.” the band then played a rousing rendition of “Long Haired Country Boy”.
Daniels paid tribute to Johnny Cash by playing a fun cover of “Folsom Prison Blues”. He spoke of his time in Nashville by saying, “When I first showed up to in ‘67 I was just another kid with a guitar.” Daniels again played to the local audience by changing “I shot a man in Reno” to “I shot a man at RFK – a Dallas Cowboy fan.”
The most surprising moment of the night was when Daniels whipped out an acoustic guitar and delivered a touching soulful version of “How Great Thou Art”. This is a side of Daniels I’ve never heard – it was delightful.
Armed with a fiddle for the remainder of the night, Daniels brought the audience to their feet after rocking through the classic hits “South’s Gonna Do It Again” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”.
As the audience fizzled out of their seats it was clear that Daniels still impacts music lovers everywhere and he’s got damn good showmanship too. His music will continue to live on.