Charlie Daniels: 'Songs from
the Longleaf Pines'
By Ginny McCabe
Special to ASSIST News Service
Legendary musician, Charlie Daniels expresses his faith
with a collection of well-known hymns in his latest effort, Songs
From The Longleaf Pines, on Nashville-based Blue Hat/Koch
“We just released a new album, Songs From The Longleaf
Pines,” which can be characterized as a gospel/bluegrass
collection,” Daniels said. “The new album reflects
upon my strong belief in God and in our great country.”
Daniels admits he is known for a variety musical styles, including
country, rock, bluegrass, blues and gospel, but with the release
of his latest project, he said he’s drawn to his gospel
and bluegrass roots.
"The first music I ever played seriously was bluegrass and
I developed a deep and abiding love for this pure and honest music,”
From The Longleaf Pines features numerous guest performances
with artists, including Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Rob and Ronnie
McCoury, Mac Wiseman and Earl Scruggs.
Some of the selections featured on the 13-song project include:
“Fly Away,” “How Great Thou Art,” and
“Softly and Tenderly.”
Born in 1936, he was raised on a musical background that included
Pentecostal gospel, local bluegrass bands, as well as, rhythm
and blues and country influences. In 1955, Daniels graduated from
high school, and already skilled on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle,
he formed a band and started playing concerts and touring.
Songs From The Longleaf Pines marks Daniels forty-five
albums since his first self-titled recording, Charlie Daniels
(Capitol), released in 1971. With numerous certified Gold and
Platinum recordings, and Grammy awards under his belt, he said
he continues to be himself and capture his own style through his
His musical reputation is considered outstanding, and his resume
includes recording sessions with artists as diverse as Bob Dylan,
Flatt and Scruggs, Pete Seeger, Mark O'Conner, Leonard Cohen,
Ringo Starr and Johnny Cash. His songs have also been recorded
by Elvis Presley and Tammy Wynette.
“When it gets down to the nitty gritty, I've just tried
to be who I am. I've never followed trends or fads. I couldn't
even if I tried. I can't be them; I can't be anybody but me,”
Most people outside of Christian circles, probably know him best
for his Grammy winning, 1979 hit, “Devil Went Down to Georgia,”
from his Million Mile Reflections project, which went
to number one and earned him a Grammy for Best Country Vocal.
While his credits have continued to pile up, Daniels said he
remains down-to-earth, and continues to be a committed, hardworking
musician. “You just take it a step at time, basically, is
what you do,” he said. “You try to do what you feel
is your best shot. I don't sit around and think about what might
have been, or what was, I am pretty much a realist, as far as,
what's going on.”
When he takes off his hat, and cowboy boots, Daniels is as genuine
as they come. He doesn't even consider himself to be a legend.
“I don't look at myself like that. I am just looking at
myself as a guy who God has really blessed tremendously. I don't
look at myself as being anything special; better or worse than
anybody else,” he mused. “I don't really see myself
in that light. If other people catch me in that light, then that's
them,” he shared.
Daniels said his Christian faith is a part of his every day lifestyle.
“Your parameters change when you are a Christian, and everything
goes through those parameters. You are conscious of trying to
do the right thing, and you try to think about (what you do),
and how is going to effect other people, and how it's going to
effect you. Things become much more (clear and) your focal point
on things comes (more from a Biblical perspective), especially
moral things, they become a lot more clear and defined,”
He said he continues to write songs. He said that he is always
coming up with new ideas from different places, and that he draws
on a variety of experiences when he writes.
“There is just no telling. It may be whatever is on my
mind, something that's going on in the country, or some frivolous
little thing. There is no one set way. Songwriting is a God-given
talent, and if you do it in a very serious way, you are very apt
to write a song almost anytime,” Daniels expressed.
Daniels has a love for God, music and a great love for people,
and he is one of the few artists’ who has successfully touched
the lives of people everywhere.
“I think part of what makes my music so timeless, is that
it's purely American music with something for everyone,”
Daniels said. “At least that's what I've hoped for in my
40-plus years in music.”
Ginny McCabe is an entertainment and feature writer for The
Middletown Journal and Journal News (dailies), and
magazines including American Songwriter, Bassics,
NRB Magazine, CBA Marketplace, Relevant
Magazine, and others. Ginny has authored Audio Adrenaline's
book, Some Kind of Journey on the Road with Audio Adrenaline
and Living the Gold-Medal Life: Inspirations from Female Athletes.
She most recently co-authored her third book, Changed: True
Stories of Finding God Through Christian Music, which will
be releases in April, 2005.
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