News Column

Charlie Daniels returns to St. Cloud for Liberty Block Party

June 19, 2014

By Kate Kompas, St. Cloud Times, Minn.



June 19--Charlie Daniels is hard to hear on a static-filled phone call as he's traveling in Ohio, but a few things are clear: The country legend is full of Southern manners (many "yes, ma'ams" in a short conversation), he and his band will play a few Bob Dylan songs off their recent release at an upcoming St. Cloud concert, and they are excited to be coming back to the area.

"We're looking forward to it," he said of the Charlie Daniels Band's appearance at the June 27 Liberty Block Party in St. Cloud.

They are not alone. Mark Bragelman, president of event sponsor Liberty Savings Bank, says he's heard many comments like this: "God, I can't wait to see Charlie Daniels." The popular Liberty Block Party is one of the highlights of St. Cloud's annual Granite City Days summer celebration.

"He's one of those people on your bucket list, that you want to see," Bragelman said.

The Charlie Daniels Band was in St. Cloud as recently as December 2010, when the band played a show at the Paramount Theatre. The band travels a lot -- more than 100 dates on the road, which Daniels says is not that grueling. Its latest album, released this year, is "Off the Grid: Doin' It Dylan," which includes the band's covers of "The Times They Are A-Changin' " and "Just Like A Woman," among other Dylan-penned songs.

And, of course, the band will always be famous for its lightning-fast 1979 hit "The Devil Went Down To Georgia," a key part of John Travolta's "Urban Cowboy" (the band appears in the movie). The song is still frequently heard more than 30 years later.

The Charlie Daniels Band has crossover hits and appeal, in Christian/gospel and bluegrass, but has strong ties to country, a popular genre when it comes time to find the performer for the annual Liberty Block Party, Bragelman said. Recent past headliners have included country acts Sawyer Brown and Tanya Tucker, although there also have been rock groups such as America and pop-rock music such as Starship featuring Mickey Thomas.

"The way it works is you start out with a budget, and those budgets are getting bigger all the time, and you make a lot of phone calls to a lot of people," Bragelman said of booking the Liberty Block Party act.

And it's not about personal taste, although Bragelman notes that he's seen the Charlie Daniels Band perform, and he thinks they're excellent musicians. It's about who will draw an audience, and the biggest bang for your buck, he said.

Bragelman's dream acts? Cheap Trick and his personal favorite B.B. King.

He doesn't have an exact estimate of Liberty Block Party attendance, but the free factor certainly helps keep Whitney Park busy every year. From what Bragelman's heard from food vendors, he estimates somewhere around 12,000-15,000 people attend every year.

The event also is alcohol free, making it appealing to families. And "the performers love it," Bragelman said, noting that they appreciate that the crowd's enthusiasm isn't fueled by booze. "It's a very genuine response."

Bragelman noted that next year could be a challenge for the Liberty Block Party if Whitney Park is full of construction because of the proposed aquatics and community center. If so, that will require a move, and Bragelman needs to find the perfect location -- he says the Lake George area, which hosts the popular Summertime by George! summer concerts, wouldn't be big enough to fit everything.

He'll deal with those issues when it's time; for right now, Bragelman says he appreciates how big the Liberty Block Party has become.

"When we started doing this, there was nothing (entertainment-wise) outside ... so it's really gratifying for me that all of a sudden people have a lot of options," he said, pointing to events such as Summertime and other concerts all over the area. "I hope that we had some part of that legacy, and created a model that showed this can work."

All that diversity relieves some of the pressure, too, Bragelman said.

"Whatever we do is just one more cool thing instead of being the only thing," he said.

If you go ...

What: Charlie Daniels Band live at the Liberty Block Party, part of the Granite City Days celebration. The event is free.

When: 5 p.m.June 27.

Where: Whitney Park on St. Cloud's north side.

About the Charlie Daniels Band

Members are Shannon Wickline, Charlie Hayward, Charlie Daniels, Pat McDonald, Bruce Brown and Chris Wormer.

--Charles E. Daniels was born Oct. 28, 1936, in Wilmington, North Carolina.

--Daniels co-wrote "It Hurts Me" in 1964, which was recorded by Elvis Presley.

--In 1967, Daniels worked with Bob Dylan on "Nashville Skyline." The same year, he also worked with Marty Robbins and Ringo Starr.

--In 1970, Daniels cut his first solo album and formed the Charlie Daniels Band.

--In 1979, "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" reached No. 1 on the charts and won Daniels the Grammy for best country vocal.

--In 2008, Daniels was officially inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

Source: www.charliedaniels.com

___

(c)2014 the St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, Minn.)

Visit the St. Cloud Times (St. Cloud, Minn.) at www.sctimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel



Source: St. Cloud Times (MN)


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters