Charlie Daniels, who turns 83 years old later this month, is still going just as strong as ever!
He’s been doing music for 61 years, and the Charlie Daniels Band’s signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” turned 40 this year.
I had a great conversation with Charlie this morning, and one of the questions I asked him was, “What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned over the years?” His answer was a simple, but powerful one. “Every day is important. Just try to be happy today. Don’t try to relive yesterday. Don’t try to pre-live tomorrow. Live today.”
His latest book, “Let’s All Make the Day Count,” just went into it’s second printing, and it is loaded with more great wisdom and life lessons just like that.
Charlie is no stranger to Pittsburgh, and even though he gets asked the question a lot, he was kind enough to share the story of why he included the line “Just go and lay your hand on a Pittsburgh Steelers fan” in his song America. As for the current state of the Steelers, Charlie said, “I haven’t made my mind up on that one yet. I’m not used to the team without Roethlisberger for any length of time…I hope he’s gonna be okay.”
We also talked about the great work that he is doing for veterans with The Journey Home Project, which was started to help veterans coming back from combat or regular service transition into civilian life after being discharged. Daniels said, “There is a lot of immediate need, and a lot of slow help, so we try to fill in the gaps." He shared a story about a veteran they recently bought a bicycle for so he could get to work. It seems like a small thing, but it really made a difference. “All he wanted was a chance. He got that chance, and I’m glad to report that he is doing wonderful.”
Another big thing The Journey Home Project is very concerned about right now is the suicide rate among veterans. 22 veterans a day take their own life. “One of the things we do is help support other groups who are involved in the same things we are involved in,” Daniels said. “And if they’re further advanced in it then we are, we make a donation.” A group he mentioned that they do a lot of work with who is doing tremendous things to help prevent veteran suicides is Shepard’s Men.
You can learn more about The Journey Home Project on their website, thejourneyhomeproject.org.
Listen to the full interview below, and don’t miss the Charlie Daniels Band in concert at Jergel’s tonight! You can still grab your tickets at jergels.com.
In addition to The CDB, there is a new side project that Charlie is working on called the Beau Weevils. They released a new album last year called “Songs In The Key of E” and the band features bass player Charlie Hayward, Billy Crain on guitar and producer James Stroud on drums.
Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images