Charlie Daniels 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam - Jam Packed With Highlights
There were cheers, there were tears, there were standing ovations, spontaneous sing-alongs, honored guests and music legends in the lineup. What is was? The Charlie Daniels 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The Jam celebrated its anniversary in style. For this benefit show raising funds for The Journey Home Project, Charlie Daniels had rounded up some of his artist friends for the occasion, and it was not just any round up - it was jam-packed (pun intended) with megastars: Alabama, The Oak Ridge Boys, Travis Tritt, The Kentucky Headhunters, Ted Nugent, Phil Vassar, Terri Clark, Wynonna, Tracy Lawrence, Montgomery Gentry, Billy Ray Cyrus, Colt Ford, Craig Morgan, Blackberry Smoke, Michael W. Smith, Billy Dean, Ryan Weaver, Lee Roy Parnell, Lee Greenwood and the surprise guests Eric Church, Jamey Johnson, Jeannie Seely and - wait for it - Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Lee Greenwood had the honors of opening the show with his "God Bless The USA". Patriotism was the theme of the night, and very understandably and rightfully so. Proceeds benefited The Journey Home Project, which is a non-profit organization with the mission of connecting donors with organizations that do the most good helping returning veterans find their way back to civilian life. Additional proceeds went to the Nashville Predators Foundation.
Emcees this evening were the media personalities Sean Hannity and Storme Warren, who both did an excellent job entertaining the audience between the quick changes of sets on the stage.
Most of the artists performed one song each, with the exception of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the master of ceremonies himself and his band, Charlie Daniels and The Charlie Daniels Band. The sold out arena attendees got to hear hit song after hit song from the megastars and their guests. Lovers of the popular TV-series "Nashville" were presented a little treat when Charles Esten, who plays Deacon, joined with one of the stars. It felt like every act was a highlight, but the highlights of the highlights must have been 1. The instrumental "Black Ice" by The Charlie Daniels Band where the band members showcased their superb musical skills on their respective instruments including Charlie Daniels on electric guitar and 2. Jamey Johnson with an acoustic guitar and the ability to express every word and emotion through his singing. It is not every day that one, lone man with a guitar can hold the attention of an entire arena full of people for the duration of an entire song. That happened at the jam when Jamey Johnson came on stage and the song choice and intensely laid back and soul filled performance of Wood Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" was both fitting and a contrast to the program as the crowd lovingly sang along. Closed out the concert did Lynyrd Skynyrd with their hits "Call Me The Breeze" and "Sweet Home Alabama", joined in on fiddle did Charlie Daniels, who both before the show started and now at the end shouted "Ain't it good to be alive and be in Tennessee!". It sure was.
Shelley Ridge for Country Music News International Magazine