is nothing ordinary about the project you are about to hear. How Sweet
The Sound is what happens when a committed, passionate, flesh-and-blood
Christian who's also a premier Southern rocker picks up his guitar
and fiddle, gathers his talented long-time band around him, turns
up the amplifiers and makes a flat-out joyful noise unto the Lord.
It is also proof that there is no substitute for either conviction
or talent when it comes to making music, and that when those two commodities
meet, the result is as stirring as it is memorable.
wanted to do traditional gospel music," says Daniels of his
new Sparrow Records project, "but the way my band and I do
it rather than what you might expect."
cornucopia of influences that have helped put the Charlie Daniels
Band in the forefront of southern rock for more than three decades--blues,
gospel, rock, country, bluegrass--help assure that "the standard
thing" is nowhere in sight. The soul-stirring power of that
approach is evident from the first track.
Grace' has been done so many times in so many different ways that
I really wanted to do something different with it," says Daniels.
"It sets the tone for the album in a way that says, 'Hey, this
is a bunch of classic/traditional titles, but you're not going to
hear them in the way you're used to hearing them. There's going
to be a different kind of feeling, of energy, brought to bear on
is indeed. "Amazing Grace" is a powerhouse, a rocky, blues-tinged
cut complete with soaring gospel choir. The sentiment remains evident
throughout the album. "Are You Washed" boasts bluegrass
instrumentation and energy, "Peace In The Valley" is an
unabashed gospel rave-up, and "Railway to Heaven" is pure
chugging Southern rock a la The Charlie Daniels Band. "Abide
With Me" finds tightly interwoven acoustic guitars under Daniels'
big baritone, and in "In the Garden," you can hear the
simple faith of his upbringing as well as the lifetime of experience
and reflection that infuse every line. "How Great Thou Art"
is simply the man singing what's in his heart. Daniels' affinity
for the genre is as old as he is.
was raised in a Christian household," he says. "Gospel
music was very evident. My first memory of it goes back as far as
I can remember things," he says. "I recall going to the
front of the church and singing 'Kneel at the Cross' when I was
five years old." He revisits the song here, in a soaring version
marked with equal doses of reverence and power, as majestic as it
for a larger image!
before Daniels has recorded albums of original gospel songs for
Sparrow. This time, he and his band reached into the great wellspring
of Christian sacred music that has for so long poured from church
windows into city streets and country lanes. As might be expected
given his heritage, the process was highly organic.
band and I literally sat down in the studio and looked at a hymn
book," he says. "We'd say, 'Hey, let's do "The Old
Rugged Cross." How about "Blessed Assurance"? We
put the arrangements together right there as a band, bouncing ideas
off each other, and I think you can hear that in the tracks. The
thing about a band effort as opposed to having someone come in and
write out arrangements is that it has a more human sound to it."
Joining his stellar band--Taz DiGregorio on keyboards, Charlie Haywood
on bass, Pat McDonald on drums, and guitarists Bruce Brown and Sparky
Mataja--are singers Bonnie Bramlett and Carolyn Corlew, and the
legendary Bobby Jones Singers.
record had been completed before the world-changing events of September
11, which added a special relevance and poignancy to the project.
"We need to remember from whence comes our help," he says.
"We hope this project can help serve as one of those reminders
we all need, that God's in his heaven and still in control. Given
the circumstances, I think it's a great time for this project to
music, like the message, is universal, and while the influences
are many--black gospel, the hymns of his rural North Carolina upbringing,
Delta blues, country, rock and bluegrass--the sound is pure Charlie
part of what I am and what I do," he says. "This is music
I have always loved. I think there's a little seed in everybody
that is seeking God," he adds, "so I guess it's kind of
natural for people to be drawn to songs like this. You can get people
from all types of music together and they'll know a lot of these
songs. They're the ones that stick in the mind through the years."
now, with How Sweet The Sound, one of music's present-day legends
has placed his heartfelt stamp on them.
can buy this album or just listen to clips at Amazon.com.
can get an autographed copy of this album from Charlie's Website!