Charlie Daniels Band – Jacksonville Show Review
When Charlie Daniels strides onstage in his silver buckled blue jeans, leather boots, and hat, it is clear that he is not like many eighty year old musicians who still occasionally limp out on stage to warble an old chart topper. He establishes himself as a presence- a presence that doesn’t give a damn about anything but the music.
After over 50 years of touring and writing with his revolving door band of world renowned musicians, he has honed such a unique sound and earned the loyalty of a proud fan base. The Florida Theatre was flooded that night with a blue collar crowd that knows the lyrics; raises their third , fourth, and fifth drinks; and screams their “woohoos” and “I love yous” as loud as they want. At the beginning of the night Daniels declared, “we have had some monumental good times in this town,” and yet another monumental good time was brought that night.
That night Daniels only brought a six piece band, but it is amazing what the addition of a beautiful fiddle and an old fashioned upright piano can do for a band’s presence onstage, and more importantly their sound. The Charlie Daniels band has a colorful, autobiographical, and unique sound that comes through in their live performance even more than it does in their recorded work. There was a younger guitarist present onstage that evening , but aside from him, the band clearly possesses chops you only get from so many years of successfully writing, touring, and developing both skill and sound.
Energetic rambling keys, fiery quick fiddling, and groovy bass lines , bluesy, like they are asking you a seductive question, are all present at the same time. Charlie’s matter of fact, sing-song vocals pair with close in-pitch harmonies that mimic folksy group vocals. In fact, you can tell that their music is written to be easily played with a larger band and it maintains that sound even with only six musicians on stage.
I expected to hear a great deal of music from their 2016 release Nighthawk that night, but Charlie had another plan in store for us, armed with songs that had never been played onstage before. There was one notable song that told the story of a man with a long grey beard and a fiddle who won’t die until he is 125 years old…I wonder who that could be? The song had nods to “Fire on the Mountain,” “Cotton Eyed Joe,” and “Do Your Ears Hang Low ?” and left Charlie sighing to the crowd , “My right arm ain’t been that tired…since the Grand Ole Opry.” I am greatly anticipating the release of some of this new music, which we will hopefully hear more of soon on this tour as well as an upcoming album release.
The Charlie Daniels Band, along with their surprising southern rock opening act The Scooter Brown Band, seemed to understand the proud nostalgia associated with the city and venue they were playing in that evening. Jacksonville is a city with true Southern rock roots and the Florida Theatre is venue with a beautiful history, not to mention fantastic acoustics. It was one of those rare evenings where things come together in a way that transcends musical genres or trends and provides the “monumental good time” Charlie spoke of. Look forward to our coverage of an upcoming release from the band as it is announced
Photo credits to Ablynn Photo
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