Charlie Daniels: Life on the Road at 82 (If God Is Willing for Me to Carry On, I Sure Am)

By Charlie Daniels | July 19, 2019 | 4:29pm EDT
Charlie Daniels (Getty Images/Gary Miller)

If you’re ever traveling the highways of America in the wee small hours of the morning, you’re apt to see a touring coach, pedal to the metal, interior lights dimmed, heading out for who knows where, hauling a band of tired musicians bound to their next show.

I guess some people think there’s something a little mysterious looking about a coach rolling through the midnight hours, the curtains closed and nothing visible, even in the blacked-out cockpit where the driver sits, his mind intent on getting his sleeping charges to their next destination safely.

Actually, to those of us who ride on those coaches, there’s nothing mysterious at all, and sleeping in a moving bunk and waking up in a different motel parking lot every morning is routine.

Let me fill you in a little bit.

I am currently sitting at my desk aboard the Twin Pines Rambler – my tour bus – rolling through the lush and beautiful agricultural area of Illinois in route from Chicago to New Salem, North Dakota, enjoying the view of some of America’s most picturesque and productive farmland.

In a couple of hundred miles, the landscape will change as the big four-lane interstate rolls into the prairie country of Iowa and again when we approach the Black Hills Country of the Dakota Badlands.

Between now and the middle of December, the CDB's tour will take us to over thirty states and around sixty thousand miles to play seventy more shows added to the forty we’ve already done this year.

My band, road crew and me will see more of each other than we will members of our families, spending the nights bouncing down the road in a bus bunk, days in different motels, existing on fast food, concert rider vittles and cold pizza.

We will go through dozens of sets of guitar strings, thousands of gallons of diesel fuel, and I can’t even estimate the amount of drumsticks and fiddle bows.

We will see the changing of the seasons about three times, considering the timing of the weather changes in different parts of the country we travel to.

We will play "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" approximately eighty more times, be near the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, cross the Smoky Mountains, the Rockies, the Adirondacks and the Poconos and traverse a goodly portion of desert.

We will watch somewhere around fifty college and pro football games, and have cells phones behind the amp line tuned to up to the minute score information on Saturday nights when the game of the week involves teams we are interested in, with one of the guys taking a quick peek between songs and signaling the info around the stage.

We will pay thousands of dollars in road tolls, permits and state performance taxes, go through pounds of chewing gum, barrels of spring water, untold cases of soft drinks and beer, enough junk food to fill a dump truck, meet sloughs of new people and see a lot of familiar faces.

We will play shows with old friends like Travis Tritt and Alabama and meet fresh talents and hear new young sounds. We will sit with our old acquaintances and tell road stories of bygone days, talk about legends we admire and old road warriors who left us in an early, untimely fashion.

And night after night, we’ll pack it up and move on to see what’s around the next bend or over the next hill.

We will play the Grand Ole Opry as many times as our schedule will allow and possibly get in a few recording sessions later in the fall.

About the middle of December, we’ll have our company Christmas party, say goodbye to each other for a couple of months and go our separate ways until the first of March when we’ll start the whole thing over again.

It’s an itinerant, sometimes grueling way of life that can be tough on marriages and nerves and can only be tolerated by those with a fire in their bellies and stars in their eyes.

I am in my 62nd year of being a professional musician, and at the age of 82 I can honestly say that, despite all the bumps in the road, the loneliness and the separation, I don’t believe I could have spent my life in a more exciting, fulfilling way.

And if God is willing for me to carry on, I sure am.

Already booking dates for 2020.

What do you think?

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

God Bless America

— Charlie Daniels

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.


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