Having won a Grammy and performed professionally for more than 50 years, country music icon Charlie Daniels might seem ready to lay down his fiddle and step off the stage.
However, the North Carolina native turned Tennessee resident looks to his performances as a way to improve as an artist.
“It’s a constant competition with myself to play them better and better,” he said. “So I never get tired of playing them (his songs).”
Thursday, The Charlie Daniels Band and country artist Travis Tritt will perform at Lady Antebellum Pavilion at Evans Towne Center Park. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets cost $35 in advance and $40 the day of the concert. Tickets closest to the stage cost $50.
It didn’t take Daniels long to pursue a path in music.
After graduating from high school in 1955, Daniels joined a rock ’n’ roll band and left home. Having learned to play the guitar, fiddle and mandolin, Daniels began performing with The Rockets in 1958.
Daniels co-wrote a song recorded by Elvis Presley in 1963 and tried his hand at producing before forming The Charlie Daniels Band in 1972.
By 1979, the group’s crossover hit, Devil Went Down to Georgia, won a Grammy for best country vocal performance.
Daniels said he felt the song had the possibility of becoming a Top 40 hit, but was surprised to see it take off the way it did.
“There’s no way you can predict that,” he said. “There’s no way you have foreknowledge of that at all.”
Not one to shy away from sharing his political opinions, Daniels also aligned himself with Jimmy Carter when the Georgian ran for president in 1976. The band performed at Carter’s inauguration.
A strong supporter of the nation’s military, Daniels has taken his band to Europe and the Middle East to play for the troops.
Having grown up during the World War II era, Daniels said his patriotism comes out naturally in his music.
“I came up with a great respect of military people and a great love for this nation being absolutely the best,” he said. “I still say it’s the greatest nation on the Earth and that’s ever been on the Earth.
“It’s worth defending, and without our military people, we would not be a nation.”
At age 71 and after years of performing on Nashville’s famous country music stage, Daniels was officially inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008.
“It was a dream of mine come true,” Daniels said. “I told the crowd that night when I was inducted, ‘The Bible says God will give you the desire of your heart. Well, you’ve just seen one of those come true tonight.’”
“A very deep desire in my heart was to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry,” he said.
When he and his band perform in Evans this week, Daniels said the crowd will hear hits such as Devil Went Down to Georgia, Long Haired Country Boy and The Legend of Wooley Swamp.
“We always play the songs that they expect us to play,” he said. “We’ve (also) got some surprises for you and some things I think you’ll really enjoy.”