Still touring at 73, veteran country singer feels 'blessed' by musical longevity
Charlie Daniels is like a lot of the people you'll see at the South Carolina State Fair: He gets excited when the fair comes to town.
Well, in his case, he gets excited when he comes to town to play at a fair.
"I love 'em because the family will come together," Daniels said. "Grandma and grandpa will come to the fair with the grandkids.
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"I'm a family person. We do family shows."
Just don't expect to see Daniels walking around the fairgrounds eating a fried turkey wing.
"I can't stretch my day out and play my set at night," he said. "Pretty much day of the show I don't do much of anything."
Daniels, a country singer who began performing in the 1950s, calls himself an old feller. He turns 73 this month, but Daniels, who was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry last year, stays on the road.
"I don't know how to do anything else," he said. "I like pulling up the curtain on the bus to see what motel parking lot I'm in."
Daniels' hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," which tells the story of a boy's fiddle contest with the devil, is still popular with crowds - and the radio. The song recently reached four million plays.
"I got a piece of paper to prove it," he said. "We've been blessed to have some music to last.
"It's novel enough to appeal to the generations that come along."
Daniels has been known to be outspoken, and in an interview he mixed politics with music.
About Congress, he said, "they know as much about the music business as a hog does an airplane."
He was talking about downloading music, and how the record labels should've thanked Napster for creating peer-to-peer music file sharing.
Daniels said the labels should've swallowed Napster like, say, what Google does to competitors instead of instituting litigation.
"The record industry has always been behind the curve of technology," Daniels said. "You can't stop downloading.
"Now they're behind the curve trying to play catch-up."
Daniels speaks his mind about war, too. He recently returned from performing for troops in Iraq and Korea.
"These guys are a long, long way from home and they've got a lot on their mind," Daniels said.
And the people that he'll see at the fair, the ones struggling with bills and rising unemployment?
"As long as the American spirit doesn't get broken," Daniels said. "As long as people don't give up. We are America.
"We can pull out of this. We've done it before."
Like a lot of people who will be at the fair, Daniels has hope for the future.
IF YOU GO
WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: South Carolina State Fair