If you ask Charlie Daniels, he will tell you that going on stage in his home state is always special. The Wilmington native and graduate of the former Goldston High School in Chatham County has played during the Fair in Dorton Arena five times since 1988. His memories of the fair go back a lot farther.
“My earliest memories of the N.C. State Fair was coming with my FFA group,” Daniels said. “I remember when we visited the new building, which at the time was Dorton Arena (built in 1952). We would have a good time walking around and seeing the animals. We’d usually go over in the morning and stay all day, it was something to look forward to.”
Daniels also remembered seeing another country music idol, Hank Snow, perform in Dorton Arena.
The North Carolinian also still pulls for the Tar Heels and remembers going to Kenan Memorial Stadium with his dad to see Charlie “Choo-Choo” Justice play. Other memories of growing up in North Carolina include visiting Krispy Kreme on Oleander Drive. At the N.C. State Fair, Daniels favorite food is giant pretzels.
On Tuesday, Oct. 22, the Charlie Daniels Band will bring its classic hits to the Dorton Stage. This year marks the 40th anniversary of one of Daniels biggest hits, The Devil Went Down to Georgia, perhaps the most impactful fiddle-centric song ever released.
Fans can expect a high-energy, classic Charlie Daniels Band show. “We are going to play the songs everyone has come to see, like Devil Went Down to Georgia, Legend of Wooly Swamp and Longhaired Country Boy,” Daniels said. “We will have some surprises as well.”
For more than half a century, Charlie Daniels has helped write the story of county music with his genre-defining southern rock anthems and his CMA award-winning country hits. Over the course of his career, Daniels has received numerous honors, including his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame, Grammy award and becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 1999. Daniels has sold more than 20 million records in his career.
At 82, Daniels shows no sign of slowing down, and will perform 100-plus concerts in 2019. Daniels uses his music career to help support the military, underprivileged children and others in need. In 2014, Daniels and his manager, David Corlew created the Journey Home Project, which helps secure funding for other non-profits that benefit veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The second annual Charlie Daniels Patriot Award Dinner in Nashville last month raised $200,000 for the Journey Home Project.
Daniels is also an author, releasing Never Look at The Empty Seats in October 2017 and Let’s All Make the Day Count: The Everyday Wisdom of Charlie Daniels in November of 2018.