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Charlie Daniels brings his iconic Southern rock to Beaver Creek

Caramie Schnell
cschnell@vaildaily.com
Beaver Creek CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyCharlie Daniels brings his iconic Southern rock to the Vilar Center Sunday night.
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BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” After 50 years and 50 albums, there’s still just one song that follows Charlie Daniels around like, well, the devil. But Daniels doesn’t mind being primarily known among the younger generation for a single song ” “Devil Went Down to Georgia” ” despite having recorded hundreds of songs, including a few with Bob Dylan and Ringo Star.

“That song has basically transcended generations,” Daniels said during a recent phone interview. “It came out in ’79 and now 7- and 8-year-old kids like that song.”

Daniels, the pioneering country music star known for blending hard-core country with razor-sharp Southern rock, performs at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek Sunday night. The skilled string player is well aware that for a whole generation of people, “Devil” is likely the only Charlie Daniels song they’ve heard. But that’s OK, he said, because maybe that teenager will come to a show because of that one song and end up hearing ” and liking ” a lot of other classic Daniels tunes.

“If you like ‘Devil,’ chances are you’re going to like other things we do as well ” ‘The South’s Gonna Do It,’ and ‘Long Haired Country Boy.’ That’s how you build a fan base. We’re a whole lot more than that one song, so that’s OK, that’s all right.”

Even though it’s been nearly 30 years since “Devil” was released to widespread acclaim ” it not only topped both country and pop music charts, it went platinum and won a Grammy ” a harder rock/heavy metal version of the song is being played in living rooms and bedrooms around the country, thanks to its inclusion on the video game “Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock.”

It was the original fiddle-frenzy version of “Devil” that Daniels, 72, performed in Nashville, Tenn., in January when he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry ” a “life-long dream” come true for the gracious, gravely-voiced Daniels.

Wearing a bright yellow shirt, a grapefruit-sized belt buckle and his signature bullrider hat, Daniels gave a high-energy performance you’d expect from someone 20 years younger. It’s not surprising then to hear that Daniels hasn’t given much thought to retirement.

“I haven’t come anywhere close to that point yet,” he said. Saying that “God willing,” he’ll continue to perform for years to come.

“People ask me what fires me up after all these years, I tell them I sincerely love doing what I do for a living,” Daniels said. “It’s exhilarating to me. It’s in my blood. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Mike Hardaker, the guest services manager for the Vail Valley Partnership, plans to be in the Vilar Center audience Sunday night with 10 or so friends when Daniels performs. Hardaker grew up on Charlie Daniels’ quintessential Southern music.

“My dad used to listen to a lot of Charlie Daniels, so a lot of the early music I heard was a lot of that Americana, rock music,” he said.

“I love the picking, fiddle, banjo playing. There are just great acoustics in the Vilar Center. I think it will be absolutely amazing in there.”

And what is Hardaker hoping to hear, along with “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” of course?

“I really like the dueling banjos from ‘Deliverance,'” he said. “It’s kind of a creepy one. It’s from that scene in the movie where that creepy little kid and the guy are playing the song back and forth. It’s definitely something I’ve had in my head for 10, 15 years.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

What: Charlie Daniels Band

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, Beaver Creek.

When: Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $58-$98.

More information: Call 970-845-TIXS or visit http://www.vilarpac.org.


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