By Jess Mancini
Famed country performer Charlie Daniels talks politics as well as he plays the fiddle.
Daniels leans conservative, but doesn't say who he supports for president.
"It ain't Hillary, I'll put it that way," said Daniels, who will be 80 in October.
Daniels and the Charlie Daniels Band will perform April 1 at the newly-refurbished Peoples Bank Theatre in Marietta, Ohio and granted an interview in advance of that show.
Calling himself a late bloomer, Daniels started playing the violin in his mid teens and knew all his life he wanted to be a performer.
"I was determined I was going to make a living playing music," Daniels said in a telephone interview in early March.
Among Daniels' greatest hits was "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," which was released in 1979. The band has performed together for 40 years, he said.
The concert will include past hits, including "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and "Long Haired Country Boy," and newer material, Daniels said. The audience deserves and expects to hear those hits, he said.
"You can bet a million dollars on that," he said.
A latest release by the band is the album "Off the Grid - Doin' It Dylan," which includes 10 songs by Bob Dylan.
Nearing 80, Daniels performs about 110 shows a year. It's not as physically taxing as it seems, said Daniels, whose wife accompanies him on the road.
"The thing about it is if I was shoveling coal, I couldn't handle it," Daniels said.
Daniels fears for the future of the country and the impact $19 trillion in debt will have on children and their children. It's not sustainable, Daniels said.
On his website, Daniels this month posted about Mitt Romney's "anybody but Trump" speech.
"With all the charm of a petulant wet noodle, Romney informed us that Donald Trump would be a nightmare president, he would be bad for the country, translated into plain language, he would be bad for the elitist Republican Party, which has spent a fortune and expended much of their relevance trying to push an establishment candidate down the throats of a fed up America that isn't buying their promises anymore," Daniels said. "The Republicans are in a dilemma of their own making."
While the problems are many, a big solution would be term limits on congressmen, Daniels said. The intent in the early days of the United States was someone would briefly serve in government, go home, then someone new would be in office, he said.
Instead, they stay in office for years, amassing power to benefit them, not the people, Daniels said.
"Nobody should serve more than eight years, in my book," Daniels said.
The country needs a unifier, Daniels said. President Obama had the opportunity to unify the country, but failed to in different ways, including supporting people like Al Sharpton who survive on poor relations between blacks and whites, Daniels said.
"(Obama) did nothing and made it worse," Daniels said.
Remaining tickets for the concert are limited, maybe one is left, and could be sold out today, according to Drew Tanner, marketing director at the theater. With a sell-out for the Daniels concert, it would be the sixth sold-out performance since the renovated theater opened in January, he said.
"We've had a very stellar opening so far," Tanner said.
*Editor's note: As of press time, tickets were indeed sold out.