The Grascals remember Charlie Daniels

The country, bluegrass, Gospel, and roots music communities are all mourning the unexpected loss of Charlie Daniels this week. A member of both the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Charlie Daniels passed away at the age of 83 from a stroke yesterday. Charlie’s “big break” in the country music world came by way of bluegrass legends, Flatt & Scruggs, and Charlie’s love for bluegrass remained prevalent throughout his colorful career.

The Grascals and Charlie Daniels collaborated many times throughout the years on a multitude of projects. Charlie Daniels recruited The Grascals for his Joy To The World: A Bluegrass Christmas CD and DVD in 2009, while Charlie joined The Grascals for a bluegrass version of his signature song, The Devil Went Down To Georgia on their Country Classics With A Bluegrass Spin album in 2011. Charlie also appeared on their all-star version on the album’s I Am Strong, commemorating children battling cancer, and Charlie’s manager, David Corlew assisted with the I Am Strong music video. Over the years, The Grascals worked with Charlie Daniels in Japan, played some of his legendary Volunteer Jams, and even joined him for some of his all-star Journey Home Project and Scholarship For Heroes benefit concerts supporting veterans organizations.

The Grascals and The Charlie Daniels Band had a close connection for many years. After learning of the passing of their dear friend, Charlie Daniels, The Grascals share these words.

The Grascals truly were blessed to record and perform so many times with Charlie, and we will forever be grateful for those opportunities. Our prayers are with Mrs. Hazel, Charlie Jr., David Corlew, Bebe Evans, Angela Wheeler, Thurman Mullins, and the entire CDB family – they were a family. Not only was Charlie Daniels a phenomenal entertainer, he was a good man that loved his country, and he is going to be missed tremendously.

Band founders, Terry Smith and Danny Roberts shared these sentiments as well.

I love the fact that he said “bluegrass pickers” instead of “SOB” on our version of The Devil Went Down To Georgia, on our Cracker Barrel CD. We just had to leave it that way! It was great!

I heard that Charlie once skipped school to go see Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys! He had the love for music early on, and this made me respect and love him even more. 

— Terry Smith of The Grascals

Charlie was one of the nicest people I ever met. I was fortunate to get to visit and record with him on many occasions, but one time really stands out. The Grascals were going in the studio with him to cut some tracks, and my brother-in-law, Mike Mullins, was visiting my house. When he found out where I was going, he really wanted to go along and meet Charlie. Mike was a Vietnam vet and always admired how good Charlie was to the military. Mike went to the studio with me, even though I explained that he may have to leave after he said hello to Charlie. Well, I was wrong! Charlie treated Mike like a long lost friend — sat and visited with him all day long. That’s just one example of the kind of man Charlie Daniels was and just one of the many reasons I loved Charlie Daniels!  

—Danny Roberts of The Grascals

RIP to Charlie Daniels.

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About the Author

Daniel Mullins

Daniel Mullins is an IBMA award-winning journalist and broadcaster from southwestern Ohio, with an American Studies degree from Cedarville University. He hosts the Walls of Time: Bluegrass Podcast and his daily radio program, The Daniel Mullins Midday Music Spectacular, on the Real Roots Radio network. He also serves as the station’s music director, programming country, bluegrass, and Americana music.