The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 23, 2013

Songs of the South: Charlie Daniels Band, 38 Special to perform at Downstream

JOPLIN, Mo. — Two Southern rock legends will share a stage today at Downstream Casino. The Charlie Daniels Band and 38 Special will perform.

Both bands have long-spanning careers that have included massive tours, prolific airplay, No. 1 hits and multiple platinum albums. They also have songs that have remained in rotations for decades.

Charlie Daniels Band

Inspired by the rock revolution triggered by Elvis Presley, Charlie Daniels formed his first band in 1955, after graduating high school. That started a career of touring that resulted in him writing a song for the King in 1964.

The guitarist and fiddler later moved to Tennessee to find work as a session guitarist in Nashville. During that time, he was part of efforts by Bob Dylan, the Youngbloods and Leonard Cohen, according to a biography on his website.

In 1973 he broke through as a record maker with "Uneasy Rider." In 1975, his songs "Long Haired Country Boy" and "The South's Gonna Do It." became Southern anthems.

The chart success led him to be given a $3 million contract with Epic Records, one of the largest valued contracts for a Nashville artist at that time.

That contract resulted in his biggest hit: "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," the song about a young country boy's fiddlin' battle with the devil. The song became a crossover hit -- it earned him three Country Music Association awards and landed on the soundtrack for "Urban Cowboy."

Daniels is also known for a jam session that, according to his bio, became large enough to be a prototype for many music festivals across the country. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008.

He is touring in support of "Hits of the South," his latest album. It was released in February.

38 Special

Getting its start in 1974, 38 Special kept Southern rock roots in adapting a sound made to fill arenas. The band broke out in 1981 with "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys," an album that included "Caught Up in You."

The band prospered throughout the '80s, recording three platinum-selling albums between 1981 and 1984. They charted two No. 1 songs, "Caught Up in You" and "If I'd Been the One," and were added to the "Teachers" soundtrack.

Changing direction, a more mellow sound helped "Second Chance" sweep up the charts on adult contemporary charts.

Donnie Van Zant, lead singer of the band and brother of Lynyrd Skynyrd singers Ronnie and Johnny Van Zant, and Don Barnes formed the band as neighborhood friends in Jacksonville, Fla.

While the lineup has changed several times over the years, those two founding members still remain. Van Zant hasn't toured with the band since 2012 because of health reasons, but he still records and writes music for the band, according to a report from the band's website.

The band's last album, a live compilation called "Live From Texas," was released in 2001.

Want to go?

The Charlie Daniels Band and 38 Special will perform at 8 p.m. tonight at Downstream Casino's outdoor pavilion. Tickets range from $20 to $60. Details: 918-919-6000.

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