Charlie Daniels to perform benefit

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Charlie Daniels says he can't pound a nail in straight and can't cut a board square. He can sing. He can entertain. And he isn't bragging when he says he's going to offer a good show.

"I spent my life doing this," Daniels said. "Almost 50 years of my life. The only time I feel I know what I'm doing is when I'm on stage."

He looks out at the audience that has been building like an ocean swell for five decades, and he knows what they want.

They want to hear the songs they know -- such as "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," "Uneasy Rider," "The South's Gonna' Do It Again" and "Long Haired Country Boy."

After all these years, the best way to describe Charlie Daniels is "familiar." He's the grandfather of country music, and he takes care of his fans.

On his Web site, he has a forum for his fans, and when some of the comments contained profanity and lewd comments (usually in response to the candid, opinionated "Soapbox" column Charlie Daniels writes regularly on the same site), Daniels cracked down.

He wrote back, "I will not expose my fans, who are family people for the most part, to this trash."

Daniels is a Christian man, a Southern man and a patriotic man, and the message comes across in his music.

"Being a Christian is a big part of my life," he said. "I just finished doing my fifth gospel album -- a bluegrass gospel album."

Bluegrass, he said, is the first music he ever played. "It's been a while, but I never forgot."

Charlie Daniels' songs stick in your mind. They're funny and catchy.

"Some of the best songs are story songs," he said. "But a good song is just clever. It hits you and makes you smile."

In Daniels' lifetime, he's been in the studio with Bob Dylan, Flatt and Scruggs and Johnny Cash.

His musical taste and his inspirations are diverse.

"This morning while I was exercising, I listened to Yo-Yo Ma," he said. "I've been listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Phish and Dave Matthews. I try not to limit it."

Daniels will be playing a benefit concert Tuesday night after the annual Bud Light Cowboy Downhill.

"After all these years, I still love what I do," he said. "I'm in constant competition with myself. I try to do it better every night, and I've still never done it perfect."

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