INTERVIW: Charlie Daniels

Charlie Daniels Interview PAINTING A BRIGHT FUTURE
Pre-Fundraiser Interview Benefiting St Jude’s Children's Hospital
By Bev Moser

Painting a Bright Future presented by Stanford Financial Group, a benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, will be held on Tuesday, September 23 at 5:30 p.m. at The Palm Restaurant hosted by Grammy-Award winner Charlie Daniels and his wife Hazel. This event will include a cocktail reception followed by The Palm’s signature “Surf & Turf” dinner, a live and silent auction, and a special toast by Charlie and Hazel Daniels. I had an opportunity to visit with Charlie Daniels about his involvement with this charity event and his passion for helping children.

Bev: Charlie, you amaze me, you will be celebrating your 72nd birthday in October. The majority of people think of slowing down, retiring and just enjoying life doing the simple things, you are busy as ever touring and traveling the country, hosting fundraisers and involved in many other community charities, what inspires you to keep going at the speed you do?

Charlie Daniels: I love what I do, I get to do it with a bunch of people I love, and it is just hard for me to imagine my life without touring being a part of it. I simply love what I do.

Bev: You and Hazel are hosting a fundraiser to benefit St Jude’s Children’s Hospital at the Palm next week, have you ever kept track of how many benefits you have done for St Jude’s? Did you have a hand in naming it Painting A Bright Future?

Charlie Daniels: No I have never kept track, I do a lot of different things for them, sometimes we play at the auction or whatever and this is just one of the different things I do for them. If you look at St. Jude’s record over the years, when they 1st started out, they had like a 60% cure and survival rate and now, this is close to 95%, but still that is not good enough, they strive to make it 100%. They are just good people and I just very much support them. No I did not have anything to do with naming it, I just go and show up. Everyone else does all the work and I just show up and have fun.

Bev: I know you do a lot for different children’s charities and youth program’s, are those that benefit the young your favorites to donate your time too?

Charlie Daniels: I cannot think of a more noble charity than something that benefits the children and youth. When you go to St. Jude and you see their mission and you see first hand what they have accomplished, you realize that God has got to have his hand on that place and the healing that goes on there because so much has been accomplished in the last 40 years. It takes a million dollars a day to keep the doors open at St. Jude’s, and no child is ever turned away, regardless of income or insurance, even if you cannot pay, they will not turn you away. Most of the money raised for them is done through small charitable events such as the one we are doing at the Palm.

Bev: You are patriotic to the bone and not afraid to vent your political or religious beliefs, which in some ways is a big contrast to the benefit you are about to host for the children, if you had to choose only ONE thing to support and be vocal about, what would you choose?

Charlie Daniels: I cannot even imagine myself doing that. I have to follow my heart and I would not be true to myself if I said I could only support the children and not support our soldiers. I have to go where my heart leads me and those are two things that go hand in hand, because without the protection by the troops, we would not be able to provide for the children.

Bev: Another event you do is coming up in November. You will be holding the Charlie Daniels Christmas for kids, how many years have you been doing this and how did you first become involved with this project?

Charlie Daniels: Gosh I am not sure how many years, it has been awhile now. Let me give you a little background on this. It started when some of the bus drivers for the artists wanted to do something for the underprivileged children, so they started to take them on their busses to the larger retail outlets and give each of them money to go in and Christmas shop. A few years later it was decided we needed a concert to go along with this and that is when I got involved. All the talent is free, everyone who performs volunteers their time, and we raise money for underprivileged children to be able to shop for Christmas. The most amazing part is these kids who do not even have things themselves, don’t try and buy toys or things for themselves, and it is so touching and a worthwhile project. The show is a great show and it is held during the Holiday Season when people are in a giving mood, and I know I am very proud to be a big part of this.

Bev: You have done many shows to support the military men and women, are you still doing any touring for the troops or do you have any planned at the moment?

Charlie Daniels: Probably next Spring we will go back over to Iraq. I am involved with a group called Stars for Stripes. Nothing is definite yet, but I think we are aiming for Springtime.

Bev: It has been a momentous year for you, finally being asked to join the Grand Ole Opry. I am sure you have been asked this a million times, so let me make it a million-one. How does it make you feel to have the honor of being an Opry member on your list of accomplishments?

Charlie Daniels: I certainly did not think it was ever going to happen and when Martina came out and invited me to join the Opry I was floored. I have played at the Opry many times, but to me, not having my name in the book with all the great artists that have been there throughout the years meant so much to me. I am absolutely ecstatic about being a member. It means the world to me.

Bev: You are up for the Musician of the Year award on the upcoming Inspirational Country Music Awards, so let me ask you this, of all the awards you have won, which has the most special place in your heart or is the one that you are most proud of?

Charlie Daniels: I am proud of them all, and I have them from the ACM’s, CMA, Grammy’s, wow, you name it, but really the ones I am most proud of are the platinum albums. Those are what I am the most proud of.

Bev: The last CD project you released was, DUECES in 2007, do you have another in the works?
Charlie Daniels: I always have something in the works. (chuckling) I am doing a Christmas album for next year.

Bev: Of all the projects you have released, is there one song or one cut which you can honestly say is your favorite song, not necessarily to perform, just your all time favorite among all your songs?

Charlie Daniels: I really don’t. I look at everything I have done as a body of work and I could never narrow it down to just one, it is just hard to say I have a favorite.

Bev: How involved are you on the ranch these days? What is your favorite thing to do there?

Charlie Daniels: Not so much involved with the day to day things. I have a couple guys who do it for me on a full time basis. When I am there I enjoy just being able to go out and shoot a gun, and ride a horse, hit some golf balls or fish on the pond. I never run out of things to do, but I run out of time to do them.

Bev: Is there anyone you have not performed with yet that you would really like too?

Charlie Daniels: BB King

Bev: Future plans? What is all in the works?

Charlie Daniels: Nothing different really, I am basically doing a lot of the same. Touring and making records and doing more charity work like this.

Bev: Charlie, I really want to say thank you very much for your time, and again for inviting me to share this time with you. I want to wish you much success with the fundraiser and all your charity work.
Charlie Daniels: Bev, you are so welcome and I look forward to talking again soon.

For more information on this fundraiser, you can contact Susan Keel
Tickets are $250 per person or $2,000 for a table of eight. Reservations may be made by calling (615) 742-3193.
Further information on Charlie Daniels can be found at

(reprinted with permission by Music News Nashville)

No comments: