BILOXI -- Charlie Daniels, the leader of his namesake Charlie Daniels Band, has played almost every role in the music industry, including Nashville songwriter, producer and session player for Bob Dylan on several albums, including "Nashville Skyline" and "Self Portrait." The one thing Daniels continues to be is a performer.
Daniels will bring his band to the IP Resort and Casino at 8 p.m. Saturday, along with iconic hits such as "Long Haired Country Boy" and "Drinking My Baby Goodbye."
Performing live since the early 1950s, Daniels, who turned 79 on Oct. 28, released his first album in 1971 for Capitol Records. He has since released more than 30 studio albums, plus several live albums and a handful of Christmas albums.
Daniels' newest release, "The Charlie Daniels Band Live at Billy Bob's," finds the singer/songwriter doing what he enjoys the most -- performing his songs in front of a live audience.
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"I think it's a pretty accurate snapshot of what we do," Daniels said in an interview with the Sun Herald. "My approach to doing a live album is try and forget that there's a recording machine there and just go out and do our show. You get a better album that way. Going to Billy Bob's (in Fort Worth, Texas) is a special place for us. We've played there a bunch of times. They turned on the microphones, and we turned on our instruments."
The album is something of a greatest hits collection for Daniels' fans from "The Legend of Wooley Swamp" to "Southern Boy." It also includes a live version of Daniels' biggest hit, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
"Devil" was released in 1979, and it was prominently featured in the John Travolta film "Urban Cowboy." A crossover hit on both country, pop and rock radio, the song has taken on a life of its own, Daniels said.
"One of the reasons it has had such longevity is because it appeals to variety of people," he said. "I don't know how many kids tell me it's their favorite song before my shows. I tell them, 'You know what? I'm going to play it for you tonight.' They don't know that I play it every night. It's one of those tunes that are hard to come by, but thank God we have one."
Although Daniels has slowed down in recent years from performing 200 shows a year to about 100, he said he still enjoys touring and meeting his fans.
"I am able to handle it," he said. "The work that I do, though demanding, I can still enjoy at my advanced age. I love it. I can't think of anything else I would want to do. We love coming down to the Gulf Coast. We have a great fan base down there. Plus, it's in the South and I love anywhere where I can eat grits for breakfast and people love SEC football."