Charlie Daniels passes after suffering stroke

Charlie Daniels, beloved country rock artist and fiddler, died this morning following what doctors describe as a hemorrhagic stroke. He died at 83 years of age at the Summit Medical Center in Hermitage, TN.

His web site offers this brief biography of the Country Music Hall of Famer and Grand Ole Opry member…

From his Dove Award-winning Gospel albums to his genre-defining southern rock anthems and his CMA Award-winning country hits, few artists have left a more indelible mark on America’s musical landscape than Charlie Daniels. An outspoken patriot, beloved mentor, and a true road warrior, Daniels parlayed his passion for music into a multi-platinum career and a platform to support the military, underprivileged children, and others in need. The Charlie Daniels Band has long populated radio with memorable hits and his signature song, The Devil Went Down to Georgia. Over the course of his career, Daniels received numerous accolades, including his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame and becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Daniels helped to shine the spotlight on the many causes that are close to his heart. He was a staunch supporter of the military and gave his time and talent to numerous charitable organizations, including The Journey Home Project, that he founded in 2014 with his manager, David Corlew, to help veterans of the United States Armed Forces.

Though not actually a bluegrass artist, Daniels was always open and receptive to the music which he had said he remembered fondly from his youth. In 2005 he released an acoustic album, Songs of the Longleaf Pines, as a tribute to bluegrass Gospel. Charlie played fiddle, guitar, and sang, supported by such bluegrass icons as Earl Scruggs, Mac Wiseman, Ricky Skaggs, Chris Thile, Rob and Ronnie McCoury, Jason Carter, and Mike Bub. A few years later a DVD was released which was shot at a live concert with these same artists at The Ford Theater at The Country Music Hall of Fame And Museum.

At that time, we conducted an interview with Scott Rouse, who produced Song of the Longleaf Pines, about how the album came to be. He described how excited and involved Daniels was throughout the process.

Of all the people I’ve worked with as a producer, since I was 19 and I’m 42 now, Charlie is the most energetic “Let’s do this!” artist I’ve ever worked with. And his charisma is infectious. And you can hear it on the album. And he’s surrounded himself with the same kind of people, from his manager, David Corlew to Bebe Evans and Angela Wheeler and everybody else that works with him at his offices. Everyone involved with the album from the musicians to the studio owners just couldn’t get enough of the guy. You really have to experience someone’s personality like that in person. It sounds corny, but hanging out with him really makes you see things a little differently. He’s not kidding about the things he says about God. He’s what my father calls “A true believer.” Before Charlie went to Iraq, we were talking and I said “Do you realize they are really having a real war over there and you’re gonna fly right into it? Doesn’t that scare you?” And he said “Scott, God will watch out for me from here to Iraq and back just like he does when I walk from my truck over there and back.” And he said it with that tone he uses when he’s reciting the 91st Psalm on the album. Let me tell you, THAT will get your attention! He’s such a powerful personality, and I think he’s using that in as many good ways as he possibly can.

Charlie showed his love for bluegrass on this live rendition of Uncle Pen with Scruggs, Del McCoury, and others.

Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.

R.I.P., Charlie Daniels.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.