Last month the Grammy Award winning all-around badass, Charlie Daniels came to Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in Warrendale, PA and played to a sold out crowd. It had been years since I last saw the Charlie Daniels Band play live, and Jergel’s is a really cool venue with great food, drink selections and a killer sound system. Lighting not so killer, but it seems almost everyone is going with cheaper LED lighting these days.

As the intro music played, the band came out on stage and took their places. With the band now playing along and eventually drowning out the intro, Charlie Daniels strutted out and and the fans let out a loud cheer. With his trademark cowboy hat, button down shirt and enormous belt buckle – Charlie sang and fiddled his way through the first three songs just as he has done for well over over a half century. Not only is he still fast with the fiddle, but the 79 year-young singer still sounds like he did a few decades ago when I last saw him play.

Charlie Daniels Band at Jergel's
After packing up my camera it was time to sit back and enjoy the rest of the show. Charlie traded the fiddle for an electric guitar, and once again the crowd went nuts as he performed “The Legend of Wooley Swamp.” Up next were “El Toreador” and “(What this World Needs Is) A Few More Rednecks.” Following a very emotionally charged Pledge of Allegiance from Daniels, the band broke into a true Pittsburgh favorite – “In America.” When Charlie sang the line ‘You just go and lay your hand on a Pittsburgh Steeler fan’ I don’t even think I could hear him as the entire crowd sang it out loud and proud. After a few more songs and a drum solo by Pat McDonald that would have left Alex Van Halen huffing and puffing, Charlie started with an acoustic guitar on a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” that sounds better than the original. “Long Haired Country Boy” proved to be a crowd favorite, as did Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.” After Charlie belted out a beautiful rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” he said to the crowd ‘Folks, you’ve heard this song all your lives, but you ain’t never heard it like this.’ At this point, guitarist Chris Wormer treated us to a killer guitar version of the “William Tell Overture.”
Charlie Daniels Band at Jergel's

Back on stage with fiddle in hand, Charlie Daniels said ‘we’ve got to get on down the road, so we’ve got one more for ya’ll.’ Everyone in the house knew what was next. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” was probably running through everyone’s heads for the rest of the night and most of the following day. Although there were a few hits left unplayed such as “Uneasy Rider,” “Trudy” and “The South’s Gonna Do It,” everyone got what they expected – a kick ass show put on by a living legend.



See more from the show at the Pennsylvania Music News website…