Country music legend Charlie Daniels is taking the road less traveled in the music industry, insisting that he will play in states where controversial bills on transgender bathroom access and same-sex couples have either become law or are under consideration.
In an April 15 post on Twitter, Daniels said, “Let’s put some rumors to rest. Any shows we have booked in NC, Mississippi, or anywhere else in these Sovereign US of A will be played.”
In response to a transgender bathroom law in North Carolina, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band cancelled an April 10 concert in Greensboro. Bryan Adams also cancelled a show in Biloxi to protest Mississippi’s new “religious freedom” law, which allows businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples.
Other acts including Pearl Jam and Boston have nixed performances in North Carolina because of the bathroom law.
North Carolina’s new law, House Bill 2, requires people to use the public restroom that corresponds with their biological sex. Springsteen and other critics have claimed that the law discriminates against transgender people.
Springsteen has also suggested that he may not play in Michigan, where a pending bill would require students to only use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their birth gender.
Charlie Daniels' lifetime record sales have surpassed 13.5 million units, according to the Country Music Association (CMA), which puts him on a par with Paul Simon, John Lennon, Natalie Cole, Yes, the Temptations, and Jefferson Airplane/Starship. The CMA recently announced that Daniels would be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year.
Daniels' song, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," went platinum as a single, was the CMA single of the Year in 1979, and earned the Charlie Daniels Band a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
The Charlie Daniels Band has been awarded CMA Instrumental Group of the Year Awards, and Daniels himself has been honored with the CMA Musician of the Year Award, as well as two Dove Awards. In 2008, Charlie Daniels became a cast member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Over the years, Daniels has placed 33 singles on the Billboard country charts, reported the CMA. Among his top hits are "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," "Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye," "Boogie Woogie Fiddle Country Blues," "Uneasy Rider," "The South's Gonna Do It Again," and "In America."
Daniels has been married since 1963, and he and his wife Hazel have one son, Charlie Daniels, Jr.