Charlie Daniels Remembered By Family, Friends Ahead of 2021 Volunteer Jam

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Scott Legato/Getty Images)

This year’s annual Volunteer Jam takes place at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. However, as it has in past years, the event will not be led by late country music legend Charlie Daniels. Daniels, who passed away last July from a hemorrhagic stroke, headlined the show for decades before his demise. Now, music icons across genres prepare for the major event. And in preparation, family and friends shared their outpourings of love for the man who gifted us “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” among other hits.

Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam should have taken place last September 15, 2020, however, COVID-19 struck. For months following, the world remained on lockdown. Charlie Daniels’ manager, David Corlew, said that many people were shocked by the country legend’s passing. Still, many are processing his death a year later.

“None of us really believe that we are going to live forever,” Corlew said, however, “because of Charlie’s energy level and his attitude towards work, we didn’t see his passing coming.”

Daniels’ representative continued, saying he, Daniels, and the rest of the band were just trying to outwait the pandemic. Following the end of coronavirus mandates, the icon and his band would have had “300 dates on the books.”

Further, Charlie Daniels demonstrated his love for life, faith, and country music to the very end. During an interview with the Tennessean in 2016, the artist shared he still loved playing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” fiddle solo each performance. “I haven’t played it perfect yet,” he told the outlet. But “I am in love with walking on stage and entertaining people with songs I’ve written. It’s one of the few times in my life that I feel like I know what I’m doing.”

Country Music Intends to Memorialize Charlie Daniels at This Year’s Volunteer Jam

The Charlie Daniels’ Band frontman inspired musical artists across genres. Additionally, “The Volunteer Jam: A Musical Salute to Charlie Daniels” features a large host of country music artists. Singers such as Chris Young, Gretchen Wilson, Big & Rich, and Travis Denning among others will make appearances.

Of the legendary singer, Chris Young stated, “He put so much of his heart into his music, and he cared so much about others…I was excited every time I got to be a part of any event with Charlie.”

Fellow country artist Dierks Bentley reportedly held such high regard for the Country Music Hall of Famer he refused to follow Charlie Daniels on stage. In a discussion with People magazine, Larry Gatlin shared similar sentiments.

“I would follow Charlie Daniels into battle,” the star said, “but I would not follow him on a show because nobody could…It took a man of Charlie’s size to carry that big old heart around.”

Charlie Daniels’ son Charlie Daniels, Jr. also spoke out about his father’s death and the coming event. “The Jam meant a lot to Dad because it was his annual homecoming concert every year,” Daniels explained. “There’s a huge hole that he left,” he continued as the legend was not only his father but his friend, boss, and “the whole focal point of [the] organization.”

Overall, country newcomer Alexis Wilkins said, “We have to carry the torch of [Charlie Daniels’] work.”