Friday, October 14, 2011

Taz. 1944-2011. RIP

This is sad news. Taz is an original, and I am glad I bought his album and got to shake his hand this summer when he was in town. The following is from Charlie's Soapbox.


This is the hardest soapbox I've ever written.

This morning about 4:15am I got the news that I had lost one of my oldest and dearest friends, Taz DiGregorio. He was killed in a one-car accident on I-40, East of Nashville when he was driving to catch our tour bus to go on the road.

As I write this, I am still somewhat in shock and have not fully accepted that there will be an empty spot on stage right where Taz's keyboards set for over forty years.

I honestly don't know what it's going to feel like when I walk back on stage for the first time without him, but one thing I do know, the music will go on, but it will never be quite the same.

Taz's wailing organ and rowdy piano were a mainstay in The CDB style since our very first records in the early 70's.

His tender piano intro to "Carolina I Remember You", his jazzy organ solo on "Birmingham Blues" and the signature riff he wrote for "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" were as much a part of The CDB sound as the songs themselves.

I traveled a good part of the world with Taz. We've been broke down on the roadsides of America, stranded by an air traffic controller's strike in Paris, stood together at the Berlin Wall and the 38th Parallel, walked the streets of Hong Kong, London, Amsterdam, Dublin, Juarez, Sydney, and a thousand little towns you've probably never even heard of.

We've stormed the Big Apple, the Big Easy, the Rockies, the Smokies, Clamtown, Beantown, the Midlands and the Maritimes and lit up the Daddy of 'Em All in Cheyenne Wyoming.

We've been in jail in Louisiana, rained on in Raleigh, shot at in Baghdad and left behind a trail that stretches millions of miles, thousands of shows and zillions of memories.

Taz was there through some of the toughest stretches of my life, when my dad died suddenly, through my battles with cancer and stroke and during the years it took me to pay off massive debts from a bad business arrangement.

Conversely, he shared some of the highest moments of my life, when my son was born, when we had our first gold record, when I was inducted into the Musician's Hall of Fame and when I became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

At this early stage of the game, it's hard for me to think about what the future will be like without Taz in it, but I know one thing…

There is an empty place in my life today that nobody else will ever fill.

I will miss you my friend.

Love never dies.

William Joel DiGregorio
Born January 8, 1944
Southbridge, Massachusetts

What do you think?

Pray for our troops, and for our country.

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

More news, which really just repeats what Charlie said in a more clinical fashion can be found all over the web -- here's a link

Back To Top

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Live setlist @CDBFan

I'm tweeting the show in pleasanton, California. Check @CDBFan for the info at

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rest In Peace, Tommy Crain

Not a lot to say about this sad news! Tommy Crain was a smoking guitar player and helped make the CDB the band that it is today. Here's a copy of one of the obits, and a poem, by Charlie Daniels.

From Billboard:

John Thomas "Tommy" Crain, a guitarist in the classic Charlie Daniels Band lineup of the 1970s-'80s who enjoyed a 15 year run with the band, died Jan. 13 in Franklin, Tenn. He was 59.

Crain, a Nashville native, played on more than 20 CDB albums and co-wrote more than 60 songs with the group. He was co-writer and co-arranger of many classic ones, including the Grammy-winning "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," and the writer/vocalist on such CDB classics as "Cumberland Mountain Number Nine," "Blind Man" and  "Franklin Limestone," from the some of the band's best-selling albums ("Saddle Tramp," "Nightrider," "Full Moon" and "Million Mile Reflections").

Charlie Daniels Band, "Blind Man"

"Tommy Crain will always be a part of the CDB family and his music will always be a part of the CDB sound," Charlie Daniels said in a statement. "We have lost a good friend and the world has lost a unique, creative and precious human being.  We send our deepest condolences to the family of our brother Tommy Crain. You were special, buddy. We're gonna miss you."

Prior to joining the CDB, Crain played in such popular local outfits as the Flat Creek Band (with his brother Billy) and Buckeye (which played Daniels' first Volunteer Jam in 1974) before joining Daniels and company in 1975, when Southern rock was king. Though not as well-known as some of the other Southern rock guitar slingers of the day, Crain was an influential musician much appreciated by fans, and an integral architect of the CDBs unique blend of rock, blues, country and improvisational jamming.

Crain was a versatile musician, adept on all stringed instruments including guitars, banjo and the pedal steel. The CDB toured relentlessly at the arena level during Crain's tenure, and he left the band in 1989 to devote more time to his family.

At the time of his death, Crain was employed by Rogers Remodeling and Southbound Trains, both of Franklin, but kept one foot in music as the leader of Tommy Crain and the Crosstown Allstars of Atlanta.

Crain was preceded in death by his daughter, Ella Helen Crain. He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Thomas Crain (Helen), his wife, Melissa Williams Crain, daughter Ann Crain McDuffee, grandson Hunter McDuffee, brother Billy Crain (Sandy), sister Sherry Crain Arledge (James) and many nieces and nephews.

Details are pending on a memorial service to be held for friends and family. Donations can be made to the Nashville Local Chapter of Musicians On Call.

From Charlie Daniels, on his site:

I Remember Tommy

For a thousand nights he stood by my side with the rest of the boys in the band

When he'd grab that Les Paul by the nap of its neck, it was just like part of his hand

Ol' T.C. was a natural; it came easy for him his fingers would fly like the wind

It was way past just thinking about what lick to play, that guitar would do magic for him

He took me to heights I may never have known if he hadn't come into my life

When you'd trade licks with Tommy, you'd best bring it all, because that's what he did every night

We were too hot to handle and to wild to tame and the jams were bodacious and loud

Some nights the music would take us so high that's it seemed we were up in the clouds

Late nights on the bus with my brothers in arms rolling on toward tomorrow nights' stage

Pickin' old country songs on acoustic guitars still pumped from the music we'd played

The good times the bad times the road and the crowds yes the memories roll on without end

Of a time in my life when we burned up the stage with Ol' T.C., my brother, my friend

Rest in peace, old friend. Thank you for passing my way.


Charlie Daniels