CHARLIE DANIELS Interview par Arnaud Choutet.
RTJ: Bruckner, Haydn, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Mendelssohn or Vivaldi each produced one-off works in E. It’s even more common in the Blues tradition. But the bluesmen often choose lyrics dealing with the themes like sexual rejection, powerful physical desires, and vengeance. What are the main topics you wanted to deal with, on this album ?
CD: I had no particular topical intentions, just straight ahead, easy to understand lyrics sung over solid, soulful tracks.Insofar as all the songs being done in the key of E, as I wrote them they seemed to lend themselves, in range and emotion, to being done in that key.
RTJ: « Geechi Geechi Ya Ya blues » and « Well All Have Some » have wonderful slide guitar leads in the southern rock tradition. You use a few French expressions in the lyrics : « beau temps roulez », « c’est la vie », « c’est pas mal ». Is it linspired by the swamp rock of Louisiana ?
CD: The song was certainly inspired by the music, the culture and the people of South Louisiana. The Cajun patois came to mind during the song writing and was just part of the creative process.
Philippe: this was a note to me from Charlie. Ps please ask the people of France to forgive me for murdering their beautiful language.
RTJ: « Louisiana Blues » is also a fantastic tune but has a very different athmosphere, very nostalgic, in the Toy Caldwell tradition. Do you agree ?
CD: More reminiscent of a Dixie Land Jazz ballad, imagine Louis Armstrong singing it.
RTJ: Are you hoping that one of these ten new songs may become a hit ? Is there one which will be promoted more than the others ?
CD: Of course we would love to have a hit off this album, but, as we are in the middle of the Christmas, frozen play list, season at American radio, it will be after the first of the year before we will know what song will emerge .
RTJ: Why has the name « Charlie Daniels Band » disappeared over time? (Charlie Hayward, for example, has been playing with you for a long time).
CD: The Charlie Daniels Band name has by no means disappeared.,We played 108 concert dates this year and plan on doing about the same in 2019. We have a full time office staff, band and road crew and have no plans whatsoever to disband. The Beau Weevils is just a fun project I’ve been wanting to do for some time, but has nothing to do with the existence or operation of the CDB.
RTJ: On your website, you say that the cowboy features on the cover of Saddle trampis an amalgam of the faces of band members ? Is that right ?
CD: Band and road crew in 1976
7) You have a very fertile imagination, writing (or co-writing) all of the tracks, creating new characters on those new songs. You have also written stories in books. Have you been tempted to develop a story on a full album, or turn one into a movie ?
CD: Not particularly a movie but a thematic album is certainly possible.
RTJ: On « How You Roll » you speak of a redneck, a country boy.Have the characteristics of this type of person changed over the years in the United States ? Do you think their relationship to their southern roots has changed ?
CD: A redneck to me is just the kind of working men I was raised around and whose company I prefer. Just honest, hard working, patriotic men who are not afraid to speak their minds or defend their positions.
RTJ: You played a few concerts in France in 1970, backing Leonard Cohen, then you played on April 12 in 1996 at the Disneyland Billy Bob's Saloon in Marne-La-Vallée. What do you remember of those experiences ? Could we hope that you come again in the future ?
CD: Remember them well and would love to come back to France one of these days.
RTJ: Your voice sounds unchanged along the years...as young as ever. You spend your spare time helping numerous charitable organizations. You seem to live many lifes simulltenously. What is the secret of your energy ?
CD: My strength, my energy, my enthusiasm and ability to create and perform are all the blessings of God.
I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, and my priorities are God, family, country and work. I just try to keep my priorities in order and leave the rest to Almighty God.
RTJ: You are interested in politics, and often share your opinions, leaning toward conservative and patriotic views. Are you sometimes worried about the hardcore views, on either side, that divide people ?
CD: It is not my intention to divide, alienate or offend, but to use my rights as an American citizen to express my heartfelt opinions. I don’t expect everybody to agree with me.
RTJ: You have been a beloved mentor of the southern rock scene for the last 50 years. Among the younger generation, do you see any heirs?
CD: I don’t really keep up with the current music scene so I’m not really up on the latest bands, but I’m sure there are some Duane Allman-Ronnie Van Zant Influenced young folks out there who are able to carry on the tradition.
RTJ: with French southern rock fans that I may include as a foreword ?
CD: The music called Southern Rock is a combination of the original musical styles that were born and nurtured in the Southeastern United States. Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Country, Bluegrass individually interpreted by boys and girls from different parts of the country, but with a lot in common, raised in the same economic, religious and social surroundings and exposed to the same music, a river with many tributaries, but all flowing in the same direction.
Thanks and God bless