July 30, 2014

Elyria
Mostly sunny
73°F
test

Charlie Daniels brings classic tunes, politics to county fair

WELLINGTON — Mother Nature may have finally cooled things down, but the Charlie Daniels Band definitely turned up the heat Monday night for the nearly sold-out Lorain County Fair grandstand.

In case fans didn’t know what to expect, the Mount Joliet, Tenn., artist kicked off the evening with a crowd pleaser and his calling card “Redneck Fiddlin’ Man,” which showcased this virtuoso fiddler’s legendary skills. While perhaps positioned as an old-school, country-rock artist, Daniels and his band kept things modern with a slick guitar solo and heavy jamming.

After keeping up the momentum with “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye,” a quintessential Daniels quick-vocal, honky tonk romp, the bearded singer addressed the crowd:

“I do believe it’s boogie woogie time in the Buckeye State.”

Up next was the bluesy “Legend of Wooley Swamp,” featuring Daniels’ booming voice that made the scary tale seem perfect for Halloween campfires.

Swapping his fiddle for a guitar, Daniels showed off his sensitive side with the easygoing “Saddle Tramp.”

The seven-piece act launched into an unexpected bluesy, jazzy jam that if you closed your eyes, you would swear the Allman Brothers Band was on stage.

As impressive as this display was, there seemed to be a segment of the audience caught off guard. The fair folk wanted to sing along, not hear a jam, but it was quite a highlight.

In the middle of a handful of dates on the Sean Hannity Freedom Concert Tour across the country, Daniels didn’t let the evening go by without talking politics. The outspoken artist easily riled up the audience. After quick banter regarding America being the best country in the world, the 73-year-old talked about a television commercial where a woman is attacked in her home and calls the security company.

“There are some things we don’t need to put up with,” Daniels said. “For instance – violent crime. It’s always the same people year after year. All we have to do is get rid of those people. I have some ideas how about going about doing that. For instance, just one time in that commercial I wish instead of picking up that phone, she picked up a .357. Pow! End of problem.”

He quickly launched into his redneck-friendly “Simple Man.”

Out of that track he paid tribute to the troops, recited the “Pledge of Allegiance” and then went right into fast-paced “If You Never Did Think It Would Happen Again.” The audience ate it up and wanted more.

Luckily for them, Daniels wasn’t done. Having just released his new album “Land That I Love,” a compilation of patriotic songs he’s cut over the decades, the North Carolina native performed his updated version of “What This World Needs is a Few More Rednecks,” which was originally released in 1990.

Even though the country music icon has been performing professionally for more than 50 years, he continues to attract new fans, younger fans and not because of his popular Geico insurance commercial.

“I love country music, I’ve seen him at least five times,” said Avon resident Bri Spier, 28. “If he’s close by to here, I’m in. I think it’s the fiddle sound that makes him so popular. At least that’s what I know him mostly for.”

Her boyfriend Josh Armbrecht, 26, also of Avon, concurred.

“I love his fiddle playing and his sound,” he said.

Daniels ended with his signature tune “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” leaving fans young and old playing air fiddle and humming their way home.

Contact John Benson at ndiffrence@att.net.