Charlie Daniels invited a few of his closest friends to jam at War Memorial Auditorium with him during a live-recording session for his Fire on the Mountain album. 40 years later, country and southern rock musicians still gather at the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam in Nashville to raise money for the Journey Home Project and The Predators Foundation.
“When we first started in 1974, there was nothing else like it,” Charlie Daniels said.
This milestone year for the event brought together legendary artists for hours of music. The sold-out Bridgestone Arena was explosive as fans sang along to every song.
“If he [Charlie Daniels] said he was doing it on the moon, I’d figure out a way to get there,” Colt Ford said.
Special guests included: The Charlie Daniels Band, Alabama, Billy Ray Cyrus, Blackberry Smoke, Colt Ford, Craig Morgan, Lee Greenwood, Lynyrd Skynrd, Michael W. Smith, Montgomery Gentry, Phil Vassar, Ryan Weaver, The Grascals, Ted Nugent, Terri Clark, Tracy Lawrence, Travis Tritt, The Kentucky Headhunters, The Oak Ridge Boys, Trace Adkins and Wynonna.
“My mind was boggled,” Charlie Daniels said. “This is the biggest show, talent-wise, that we’ve ever done.”
The Volunteer Jam is a step back in time to the 60s and 70s. The history shared among these artists could provide stories for weeks — stories you’d have to see to believe. These artists were all just taking off and living the dream together, paving the path for southern rock.
“From the Allman Brothers to Skynyrd to Charlie Daniels to Wet Willie to Marshall Tucker Band, they all sounded different from one another,” The Oak Ridge Boys said. “The common thread really was freedom in the music.”
This event is centered around the Journey Home Project, whose mission is to return the favor to America’s veterans by connecting them with veterans’ organizations that do the most good. Proceeds from the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam go directly to The Predators Foundation and the Journey Home Project.
“I’m always fascinated by the attention that the men and women in the armed forces try to show the people coming over and entertaining them; because the reality of the situation is that’s why we’re there — to tell them thank you,” Craig Morgan said. “It’s very humbling.”
Charlie Daniels is dedicated to giving back to our soldiers. He’s known to play shows for members of our military overseas and plans to continue the Volunteer Jam for years to come.
“The only two things in my life that have been with me longer than Volunteer Jam is my band, which has been with me 42 years, and my wife, which has been 51 years,” Charlie Daniels said.