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Charlie Daniels Band
BB King’s Blues Club
May 20, 2006

Written by Hunter Gorinson
Photographed by Lina Haskel

The Devil came down from Georgia, huh? Judging from the crowd at the Charlie Daniel’s Band Concert at BB King’s, it looked more like the Devil had just driven down from upstate New York. As I looked out upon the throng of Kid Rock fans and Bush voters wedged into BB King’s for Charlie’s show, things were starting to seem quite grim.

It is important to remember that Charlie Daniels is not only a direct forbearer of the modern country-western scene (ugh), but an important touchstone of in the history of rock as well. Once upon a time, he wrote songs for Elvis and played fiddle with both Leonard Cohen AND Bob Dylan. With a resume boasting street creed like that, it hard to imagine how the man wound up irrelevant to whole generation of cool kids at school.

But then again, Charlie’s not exactly a spring chicken anymore. Dressed up like a good ol’ boy with his white thirty-gallon hat and trademark beard, Charlie never strayed far from his barstool on stage. Having just returned from a USO tour of Iraq, all the band members seemed a little road weary, but, nonetheless, the crowd was still enthused to hear some of their greatest hits like “Long Haired Country Boy,” “Midnight Train” and “High Lonesome.” While Charlie’s tunes sometimes come off as about as threatening as a rerun of Hee-Haw, that sure didn’t stop the majority of the room from wiggling in their Wranglers.

These days, Charlie’s got himself a more than competent backing band; they really sold a whole set of tunes that really haven’t aged all that well. Charlie himself still plays a bitchin’ fiddle and guitar and it would seem that even old age isn’t killing his love of a good riff. There weren’t too many surprises in the hour-long set, but it wasn’t exactly as if the crowd was really hoping to see any new ground broken. They paid to see true blue country and that’s exactly what Charlie laid down for his audience - even if it all came off a bit like an exhibit at the Nashville Wax Museum. Wait a minute, what am I saying? I got to hear “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” live…all is forgiven, Mr. Daniels.

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