A music icon whose songs have topped charts in various genres — such as pop, rock, country and Christian music — will headline the return of the Rock the Park concert series at Columbus’ Mill Race Park.
Guitarist, fiddle and mandolin player Charlie Daniels, 78, will perform with his band Aug. 14, according to organizers with the Columbus Area Arts Council. Tickets go on sale June 15.
Daniels is best-known for his 1979 hit, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
The song boasted such a cultural impact that even The Muppets performed a cover version. Other hits for the Charlie Daniels band include “Long-Haired Country Boy” and “The South’s Gonna Do It,” both from 1975.
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Daniels will be returning to the Columbus area, having played before 3,500 people at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds in June 2000.
Tami Sharp, the arts council’s program director who books acts for the nonprofit agency, was impressed when she saw Daniels perform in November at Carmel’s Palladium.
“He sounds excellent,” Sharp said. “He’s absolutely amazing and still at the top of his game.”
Media reviews in the past several months have been glowing, applauding the artist for his onstage energy, humor and mix of his original material with cover tunes of artists such as Bob Dylan, with whom he played in the 1960s.
Rock the Park last was conducted in August 2013 when REO Speedwagon played before 7,000 nostalgic fans who sang along to many of the group’s tunes. The year before, the same size crowd rocked to a modern incarnation of Foreigner.
Rock the Park took a one-year sabbatical in 2014 as its leaders mapped a way to present an event that would not conflict with Our Hospice of South Central Indiana’s annual Labor Day weekend concert. Organizers of the two concerts said they did not want to compete for the same style of classic rock acts for shows that unfold nearly back to back locally.
Karen Shrode, the arts council’s executive director, sees Daniels’ bluegrass and southern-rock style possibly attracting a different audience than Rock the Park has reached before.
“He and the band have a following — no doubt about that,” Shrode said. “He will appeal to a different but wide demographic for us. It’ll be a great party.”
In online interviews last year, Daniels told writers that he is nurturing “a third generation of fans.”
Daniels was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009. He formed his band in 1970, joining the first wave of Southern rock ensembles, such as The Allman Brothers Band and the Marshall Tucker Band.
The Charlie Daniels Band will go on tour late this month, with tickets now on sale for nearly 40 events through Nov. 6. See tour information online at charliedaniels.com. Tickets for Rock the Park will go on sale June 15.
1936: Daniels is born in Wilmington, North Carolina.
1964: His co-written song, “It Hurts Me,” is recorded by Elvis Presley and put on the flip side of “Kissin Cousins.”
1967: He begins work as a session player with Bob Dylan. He also plays with Ringo Starr and Marty Robbins.
1970: He forms the Charlie Daniels Band.
1972: The band enjoys its first hit, “Uneasy Rider.”
1974: His album “Fire On the Mountain” spawns two hits: “Long-Haired Country Boy” and “The South’s Gonna Do It.”
1979: Daniel’s releases “Million Mile Reflections.” The album includes the hit song, “Devil Went Down to Georgia,” for which Daniels earns the Grammy for Best Country Vocal.