The Devil, Johnny & That Fiddle

The Zac Brown Band rocked the crap out of Charlie Daniels’ classic “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” at this past Wednesday’s (11/11/09) CMA Awards. (video below)

This is one of those songs that will stand the test of time. It is also one of those songs that it is tough to categorize, which I believe is part of why it has, and will, stand the test of time. Some consider it Country, others Rock N Roll, others simply know it from their local Classic Rock radio station, and others put it in the ever-widening category of Southern Rock.

The Charlie Daniels Band originally released “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” in 1979, on the album Million Mile Reflections. Side-note: the title Million Mile Reflections is a reference to the band surpassing one million miles on the road.

Here is the Zac Brown Band’s performance of the song from the 43rd Annual CMA Awards.

In researching for this post, I came across a very interesting music video from a song called “The Devil Came Back To Georgia,” released on the 1993 album, Heroes, by Mark O’Connor. Included in the song and video are: Charlie Daniels, Johnny Cash, Marty Stuart and Travis Tritt.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Who’s the Opening Act?

I saw a billboard yesterday along I-24 in Kentucky promoting an upcoming Josh Turner concert, with The Charlie Daniels Band as the supporting/opening act.

I’m a Josh Turner fan; I really am. We share an alma mater. This post has nothing to do with Josh Turner and his obvious talent and success in the music world.

What it does have to do with is taking a look at the (painful) difference between music as a business, and (someone’s) very important musical legacy.

Let’s be honest. Do you really think that Josh Turner feels justified in having Charlie Daniels open for him? To be clear, that means The Charlie Daniels Band plays first, then Josh Turner is the headliner. I get it – Josh Turner is a “hot” artist right now. He’s being played more by Country radio (currently) than Charlie Daniels is. He has multiple hits, “Your Man,” “Would You Go With Me,” etc., that translate to Turner being the “current” artist with the “current” success.

Again, this is not a slam on Turner. I’m looking at a bigger issue that (should) bother (or at least occur to) a lot of us.

Charlie Daniels is unequivocally a living music legend. In my opinion, he could have only written “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” and still be a music legend.

From his bio, here are a few career highlights:

-Resume includes recording sessions with: Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Leonard Cohen, Flatt & Scruggs, Pete Seeger

-His songs have been recorded by Elvis Presley and Tammy Wynette

-“The Devil Went Down To Georgia” was a platinum single, topped both the country and pop charts (specific charts not stated), won a Grammy Award and earned three Country Music Association awards

-Charlie started the Volunteer Jam, and artists that have performed at this annual event through the years include: Little Richard, Don Henley, Stevie Ray Vaughn, The Allman Brothers, Roy Acuff, Billy Joel, Steppenwolf, B.B. King, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, James Brown, among many others 

Maybe Charlie hasn’t had a big radio hit in a while. Maybe his “face” isn’t appealing to our wonderful media culture. Maybe his politics don’t line up with your’s. 

I’m just struggling with the legend opening the show.

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