Charlie Daniels: ‘Never Look at the Empty Seats’

Charlie Daniels
By Charlie Daniels | July 28, 2017 | 9:23 AM EDT

Charlie Daniels' new book titled, "Never Look at the Empty Seats," will be released on October 24, 2017.

On October 24, a project that has been 80 years in the making and 20 years in the writing will be released in the form of a book titled, “Never Look at the Empty Seats,” a memoir of my life, my career, and my experiences and a wee bit of advice to those whippersnappers who would like to pursue a career I’ve devoted over 60 years of my life to.

I know, I know, the title is kinda weird, so let me explain it.

When you’re just starting out, trying to establish a career, if you’re truly serious about it, you’ll play just about anywhere, for just about anybody, for just about anything they’ll give you, and believe you me, you’re going to play to a lot of empty seats.

But it’s not the empty seats you’re interested in. It’s the seats with people in them, so you don’t even look at the empty seats. As far as you’re concerned every seat is full and you do your show with the same energy and effort as if it was really a full house.

Then the people who do come to see you will probably come back the next time you’re in town and may very well bring someone with them, and that is how you build a following.

The story takes the reader from me learning my first three chords, through the beer joints, dance halls, slop chutes and skull orchards where I perfected my trade on the concert stages of America and the world where I performed it.

You meet the people who have had an influence on my life, the musicians I’ve been honored to share the stage with, and friends and family.

There’s the small victories, like having a song I co-wrote being recorded by Elvis in 1963, playing on three Bob Dylan albums in the late sixties and early seventies, my first gold, platinum and subsequently multi-platinum albums, winning a Grammy, several CMA and ACM awards, and finally, at the age of 71 years old, realizing a lifelong dream by becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

The hardest chapter for me to write was the one on my faith, because I was sharing my own personal beliefs about redemption, forgiveness and living the Christian life, and I wanted to make sure every jot and every tittle reflected my true and honest feelings.

Over a period of twenty years or so I kept writing, and since my career was ongoing, I was still making records, playing over 100 concerts a year, constantly exploring new territory and doing new and exciting things. I just couldn’t find a place to end it.

Actually, what I wanted was for the end of the book to be a comma instead of a period, since I had no intention of ending my career until the Lord calls me home or it becomes obvious due to health or other uncontrollable issues that it’s time to exit the stage.

I truly love my profession, and although I have several hobbies I am extremely fond of, there are none I would care to make a vocation out of. So as long as I enjoy getting up in the morning and pulling the bus curtains back to see what motel parking lot we’re in, as long as I get a thrill standing on the wings in the last seconds before I walk on, as long as I can make an audience happy and enjoy waking up in a different town every morning, I intend to keep on doing what I’ve done for the last 60 years.

But I did want the book to come out while I am still alive, so I kept trying to find a place to end it.

It all came together when I was informed that I was being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It just made sense for this to be the comma I had been trying to find for so long.

The morning after my induction I wrote my memories and impressions of one of the greatest nights of my life, tied it to the other 20 years of my writing, and voila!

Never look at the empty seats.

What do you think? (I guess you really don’t know ‘cause you haven’t read the book yet)

Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.

God Bless America

Charlie Daniels

Get a sneak peek of the first three chapters of Never Look at the Empty Seats here:

Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.