Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Charlie Daniels, 'Devil' close down 4-H fair | Janesville, Wisconsin, USA

Charlie Daniels, 'Devil' close down 4-H fair | The Janesville Gazette | Janesville, Wisconsin, USA: "Charlie Daniels, 'Devil' close down 4-H fair

(Published Monday, August 1, 2005 10:56:58 AM CDT)

By James Davison
Gazette Staff

A tale of the devil and his duel with a fiddle-playing Georgian brought the 2005 Rock County 4-H Fair to a close Sunday night in front of a large crowd of happy music fans.

The Charlie Daniels Band played its well-known hit 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' after an hour-and-a-half set of classic country music blended with southern rock.

'We've got one more song to play for you,' Daniels said in a deep raspy voice.

The crowd responded with a loud cheer, anticipating 'Devil.'

'You think you know what it is, don't you?' he added. 'Well, you're absolutely right.'

Before the show, several fans who had waited much of the day for a good spot eagerly anticipated Daniels and his band.

Mike Nielsen of Beloit said he has been a fan for as long as he can remember, and he was excited to see Daniels live for the first time.

'That southern rock and country-he's got it going on,' Nielsen said. 'He paved the way for this music.'

Nielsen added that Daniels' advancing age hasn't hurt his music.

'He's gotten quite a bit older, but this man does not slow down. He's like a tank," Nielsen said.

Don Parsons of Janesville said he saw Daniels play 25 years ago, and he was eager to see him again.

"I'm expecting pretty much the same amount of enthusiasm he showed way back then," Parsons said. "I know he's gotten older through the years, but I don't think there's gonna be that much difference. He's just a great entertainer."

Colleen O'Connell of Janesville brought her 6-year-old daughter, Maddisyn, to see the band.

"(Daniels' music) is not like the rest of country music-it's southern," O'Connell said.

During the show, Maddisyn held up a sign that said the Charlie Daniels Band was her mom's first concert, and now it was her first concert.

Daniels noticed Maddisyn's sign.

"I see we have a young lady here who's at her first concert," he said.

At the beginning of the concert, the country legend wore a cowboy hat and dark sunglasses above his bushy gray beard. The 68-year-old was full of energy, playing his fiddle passionately and swinging his bow.

Fans were treated to music that dabbled in a wide range of genres, including blues, gospel and bluegrass. Several of the songs also had strong rock tones.

Daniels played several fan favorites, including "Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye," "The Legend of Wooley Swamp" and "In America."

Each member of the band played responsively to Daniels' ferocious fiddle playing, which resulted in several ruined bows.

Throughout his career, Daniels has been praised by some and criticized by others for the political messages he includes in some of his music.

"I'm probably the most politically incorrect person you'll ever cross," he said during the show.

Before playing "Simple Man," which drew fire in the early '90s for its seeming encouragement of vigilantism, Daniels told the crowd, "I make no apologies for this song."

"Just take them rascals (criminals) out in the swamp / Put them on their knees and tie them to a stump / Let the rattlers and the bugs and the alligators do the rest," he sang.

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