Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Charlie Daniels, whose fusion of traditional country and Southern rock made him a popular cross-genre artist during the ‘70s and ‘80s, died Monday of a hemorrhagic stroke in Hermitage, Tenn. He was 83.
After establishing himself on the Nashville studio scene with session and touring work behind such performers as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Daniels attracted attention as a singer and bandleader in his own right with several singles for Epic Records – “Uneasy Rider,” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “Long Haired Country Boy” – that expressed kinship with the redneck rockers in the country audience.
Country historian Bill C. Malone identified his appeal in his book “Country U.S.A.”: “This big, gruff, tobacco-chewing, outspoken musician embodied Southern good-old-boy traits almost to the point of caricature. He was nationalistic, hedonistic, macho…and lovable. He also made compelling music.”