Music Reviews

The Charlie Daniels Band

How Sweet the Sound: 25 Favorite Hymns and Gospel Greats


Charlie Daniels is a mammoth of Southern country rock music, having helped to both define and establish the genre, first through his contributions to Dylan’s late-‘60s country albums, and then as a solo artist (“Long Haired Country Boy”, anyone?). As such, he can do whatever he damn well pleases and still be a greater legend than most people can claim to be. However, it’s still sad to see him go this route, when he surely should be capable of so much more.

Over the course of two CDs, Charlie Daniels and his band of nicely groomed elder Nashville statesmen covers a wide variety of public domain gospel tunes, ranging from “Amazing Grace” and “Peace in the Valley” to “How Great Thou Art” and “In the Sweet By and By”. It all sounds remarkably like the same track done over and over again, with seemingly no particular effort having been put into arranging the songs. The band, consisting of very professional musicians who’ve never played a single note wrong, makes sure that none of the tracks are given a unique voice and that the gospel is kept in its place. Any potential power that may lie in these old and once so all-important messages of hope and love are kept under lock and key, hidden beneath the blandest sound that Nashville is capable of producing.

Again: Charlie Daniels can do whatever he wants to. He has put his mark on Southern cultural history and no one can take that away from him. Still, it’d be great to see him apply to music the bravery and independence evident in his choice of shirts.

The Charlie Daniels Band:

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