Black Music Matters Festival

Charlie Daniels Band

Preachin', Prayin', Singin' DVD – 2008 (Koch)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Charlie Daniels Band

Charlie Daniels has his Southern rock personality (exemplified by The Devil Went Down To Georgia) and he also has his spiritual side (as he's known to join Billy Graham crusades now and again). But when the fiddler/guitarist first arrived in Nashville, he befriended folks like banjo great, Earl Scruggs, and his two sons, Gary and Randy.

These three players appear with Daniels during this mainly bluegrass set, along with Del McCoury, The Whites and Mac Wiseman. Bluegrass gospel songs make up the majority of this 12-song concert set, although room is also made for Salty Dog Blues and Uncle Pen. McCoury sings Richard Thompson's picturesque 1952 Vincent Black Lightning, even though it wasn't a bluegrass song until Del turned it into one. It sure sounds like an old standard now, however.

Daniels, who was studio musician on Bob Dylan's pivotal Nashville recordings, mostly keeps his instrumental skills subdued for this show. Instead, his warm and expressive singing voice is center of attention. You don't get the feeling Daniels is making a play to get accepted by the bluegrass community. Instead, he's singing these (mostly) old favorites for the love of the game. And to paraphrase one song, he keeps to the sunny side.