STLtoday - Neighborhoods - News: Charlie Daniels is coming to Hillsboro, and he's looking for a show to steal.
The poet laureate of southern rock and his band mates are co-headlining this year's Jefferson County Fair with 70s rock giants Kansas, the band famous for its existentialist lament 'Dust in the Wind' and the anthemic rocker 'Carry on My Wayward Son.'
Daniels promises a familiar set of tunes played a little differently each night.
'I'm in a constant competition with myself to play it better tonight than I did last night and better tomorrow night than I did tonight,' he said. 'And I've never played it perfect yet. It's just striving for perfection because you'll never play it as good as you want to and there's so much room for improvisation in our band.'
Though Daniels plays more than 100 dates yearly, he recently found time for a series of morale-boosting concerts for troops stationed in Iraq. Daniels, who had the chance to relax in one of Saddam Hussein's old thrones and pose for photographs, said the experience was a rewarding one.
'The troops were great, their morale is good and we are winning that war," he said. "We had a great time, it was a very satisfying audience to play to with a bunch of folks who are brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers that are thousands of miles away from their families. A little bit of support and knowing that somebody cares means an awful lot to them."
Daniels' musical career spans decades and multiple genres. His most recent effort, the gospel-tinged bluegrass CD "Songs from the Longleaf Pines," is somewhat of a departure for the country rocker who spent the 70s jamming with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bob Dylan, an era Daniels recalls fondly.
"It was a lot of fun and we all had a great time together," he said. "We all started about the same time. Of course with Dylan, I only played in the studio with him but that was very much of a learning experience that I'll always cherish."
These days a Charlie Daniels Band audience is a multi-generational affair. The 70s diehards still come out in full force to enjoy classic hits like "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and "Long-Haired Country Boy," but they often have new spectators in tow.
"It's a bit of both," he said. "We're in our third generation of fans. The folks that brought their children to see us, now their children are bringing their children to see us.
"We've got a section in our fan club called The Century Club. When you see 100 shows we give you a belt buckle. You'd be amazed at how many people have collected that buckle and have seen us 100 times."
Daniels, who says he's played "every town of any size in the Union," promises fairgoers a fun – and family friendly – experience.
"We do a good family show with the emphasis on the family," he said. "We want you to bring your kids. We won't do anything to embarrass you in front of your children. We do a good show. I don't want to sound like I'm bragging, because I'm really not, but I've devoted my life to doing this. It's a family show and a good hard driving show. I think people will have a good time."
The Charlie Daniels Band takes the main stage at the Jefferson County Fair at 9 p.m. Saturday. Co-headliner Kansas plays the main stage at 9 p.m. Friday.