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Music Legend Charlie Daniels Has No Intention of Slowing Down

Charlie: I wouldn’t trade places with anybody in the world. I love what I do. I love being Charlie Daniels for good, bad, or indifferent.

Charlie Daniels was just fourteen years old when he picked up his first fiddle and only seventeen when he formed his first band – the bluegrass “Misty Mountain Boys.” And now, over sixty years and forty+ albums later, the country music legend is stepping into a new chapter.

Scott: 80 years of life from Charlie Daniels, are you putting me on?

Charlie: The 28th of October, 80 years. 80 years old.

Scott: Wow.

Charlie: I don't know where the time went. I sure have enjoyed it.

Throughout his career, Charlie has garnered quite a collection of memories – from instruments and hats to polaroids and awards. His greatest achievement yet came this year when he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Still, none of that compares to his long-time gig with his number-one fan.

Scott: You and Hazel have been married how long now?

Charlie: 52 years this coming month.

Scott:  And you have one son?

Charlie: One son, he's 51 years old.

Scott: Wow. And you're saying that publicly.

Charlie: Yes. Absolutely.

Scott: I mean all those years. Do you remember when you were 51?

Charlie: Oh yeah.

Scott: How have you kept your – the marriage thing together and raise a son

with all the other activities you were involved in as a performer?

Charlie: You marry somebody you love, that you feel like you want to spend the rest of your life with, that you're excited to wake up with every morning if you enjoy spending the day with. Right now…my wife is my best friend, by far my best friend. 

Besides performing over 100 concerts this year, Charlie is also working on his autobiography and just celebrated the release of his latest album Nighthawk. And as his list of accomplishments continues to grow, one thing remains constant – his faith.

Charlie: I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ…if I can't take him with me, I don't want to go. I mean, that's the only way I can think of to say it. I mean, I don't want to go anywhere where Jesus can't go…I don't want to be without God's blessings.  If it's inconvenient, then it's just inconvenient. If somebody don't like it, then somebody just don't like it. That is part of me. That's who I am.

Scott: I don't know how politically correct that is, Charlie.

Charlie: I couldn't care less about politically correct.

Scott: (Laughs) You're a man of some strong opinions.

Charlie: I am.

Scott: So let's try to get in trouble.

Scott: How do we change the direction that this country's moving in?

Charlie: I don’t know…How long can we go around and take the crosses down off of places? How long can we try to take God's name out of everything? How long can we try to-to-to suppress anything to do with Christianity?...How long's God going to let us do that? I don’t know. I don't know if there is an answer to this thing or not…People say, "Well, we're all just going to die and go to heaven anyway, or Jesus is going to come back" or something. I don't feel like God wants us just to lay down and die just because that's going to happen. I think we should keep trying. I think we should keep voting, I think we should keep supporting things that we believe in. I don't think we ought to just quit.

In 2014, Charlie took his passion for the military and co-founded the Journey Home Project, a non-profit organization that assists troops who are returning home.

Charlie: It's quite a traumatic thing for a lot of our veterans that come back…You're in a war zone, you're dodging IED's and bullets one day and a couple days later you're back in society again with a bunch of people that have no idea of what you've been through.

Scott: Minus some limbs and…

Charlie: Yes.

Scott: and mental conditions and everything else that can occur.

Charlie: Many times. Many times.

Scott: Right.

Charlie: We owe these people, Scott, we owe them an unpayable debt of gratitude…I've been to Iraq three times. I've been to Afghanistan, I've been quite a few places, and I want to tell you something, these kids, they're the best we've got. They're the best Americans, they're the most loyal Americans we've got. And we owe them when they come back.

After a lifetime on the road, Charlie has been everywhere and seen everything, and he says he has no intention of slowing down now.

Scott: Is there any view of possible retirement?

Charlie: No. That word is not in my vocabulary right now.

Scott: Mine either.

Charlie: Seriously, you know, I just can't imagine not having something to do. I can't imagine not having a reason to get out of bed at night. I have people talking about, "Boy, I hate to go to work." I love to go to work! I can't wait to get off the bus and…go on stage and entertain people. That's my thing, that's what I love. I love doing it...I thank God I can make a living doing it.  

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