His first big hit came in 1973 with Uneasy Rider, a countryfied talking blues, years before the rap craze began. The hilarious song, following on the recent success of the Dennis Hopper film, Easy Rider, told the tale of a stranded, long-haired motorist who stumbles into the wrong bar looking for a phone in the deep South. It was a hit primarily in the rock music world, with a story that appealed to the “hippie” culture more than the country music world of the day, where Merle Haggard’s Okie From Muskogee had been a 1969 hit.
In 1978, Daniels’ Devil Went Down To Georgia was an even bigger hit, mixing a rock beat with an old time fiddle in a timeless story of dueling with the devil. Charlie worked the southern rock scene for many years, but always as a fiercely independent artist who went his own way. As pop and country formats moved away from his signature sound, he formed his own label, Blue Hat Records, and has released new projects annually, without regard for radio play.
In 2005, Charlie released his first bluegrass CD, Songs From The Longleaf Pines, featuring Earl Scruggs, The Del McCoury Band, Mac Wiseman, Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs and Chris Thile. Since then, two other releases have featured substantial bluegrass content, while it is also included in his live show.
For the end of 2009, Daniels has a new CD/DVD project with a bluegrass Christmass theme. Joy To The World – A Bluegrass Christmas has an audio CD with 12 new studio tracks and a DVD with 10 live performances of the songs from the CD. The Grascals join Charlie for Christmas Time’s A Comin’, Dan Tyminski is on hand for The Christmas Song, and Kathy Mattea for O Come All Ye Faithful – on both discs.
Other guests include Aaron Tippin, Jewel, and Suzanne and Evelyn Cox.