It was a cool and rainy evening on March 29 in Peekskill with the last remnants of snow banks melting away making for a perfect virtual escape from the Northeast with the southern rock and country stylings of The Charlie Daniels Band.
The night started with an acoustic set from Nashville country singer-songwriter Jacob Powell, who is making a handful of stops with the Charlie Daniels Band during his current tour. While his self-titled debut EP features a full band, he was joined on stage with fellow Nashville guitarist Jason Brooks to create a nice, full live acoustic sound. Singing some songs about summer, good times and koozies, Powell eased the crowd’s minds out of the cold northeast weather and warmed folks up for the Charlie Daniels Band.
After a brief set change, the Charlie Daniels Band took the stage, wasting no time in setting the energetic tone for the evening. The band’s slightly short but appropriate length set of 75 minutes featured a number of CDB favorites. “Birmingham Blues” radiated vibes akin to an Allman Brothers Band performance both in song style and in the chemistry on stage. A rather interesting display came to us during a longer instrumental jam, “Black Ice.” Featuring some funky beats and riffs, elements of country and rock and roll and a spotlight on each band member, this fused a conglomeration of sounds and ideas and was a treat for every member of the audience. The set also included “The South’s Gonna Do It,” popular fan request “Long Haired Country Boy” – a tune that turns 40 this year – and of course “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”
This best-known hit for the Charlie Daniels Band closed the evening with flawless fiddle lines and a few extended segments over the studio version. It’s one thing to get a guitar pick from a band, but one lucky fan in the front row was given by Daniels himself the frayed horse hair fiddle bow in the middle of the song. Another crowd-pleaser came with a raucous cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” with fans having a grand time clapping and cheering along with the Johnny Cash classic.
Throughout the evening, Daniels presented some songs off his latest album, Off the Grid – Doin’ It Dylan. Prior to performing “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” about mid-show, Daniels paused from the music for a moment to explain his connection with Bob Dylan which goes back to the late 1960’s when he recorded with Dylan on Self Portrait and New Morning. Aside from that song, Daniels also gave his nod to Dylan with “Tangled Up In Blue” early on in the set with a refreshing up-tempo and fuller arrangement of the tune. Off the Grid – Doin’ It Dylan was released this past Tuesday, April 1st.
One unique element of the show was when Daniels, who holds his band mates in high regard, stepped to the back of the stage to put the limelight on the talent of two of his band members. Lead guitarist Bruce Brown, a 24 year veteran of the band, stepped forward and performed one of his solo works with the rest of the band; guitarist Chris Wormer did the same with his rockin’ version of the “William Tell Overture” on his double neck guitar.
At age 77, Daniels can still perform a powerful show. His frequent quick wit and humor exchanged with band members and the audience between songs, along with a few anecdotes, kept every party at the Paramount engaged with one another. For those who missed the show in Peekskill, the Charlie Daniels Band will be back in Upstate NY at the Times Union Center in Albany May 31 with the Marshall Tucker Band and Bret Michaels (of Poison) and at the Main Street Armory in Rochester on June 1.