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Charlie Daniels Discusses Dylan Covers

Charlie Daniels
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Charlie Daniels is perhaps the biggest Bob Dylan fan in country music, so he was excited to get the chance to tell the music legend about his new tribute album, ‘Off the Grid – Doin’ It Dylan.’

Though Daniels played on some of Dylan’s albums early in his career, including the iconic ‘Nashville Skyline,’ their recent chat was the first time the two had spoken in a long time.

“He seemed to be happy about the idea, he hadn’t heard the album yet,” Daniels tells The Boot. “We sent it to him. Very amicable, very talkative, very friendly. I hadn’t talked to him in years and it was just like I talked to him last week … I wanted him to know that we had done the album and what it meant to me to have been associated with his name over the years. He just — it was just a really nice conversation.”

The record features 10 Dylan songs re-imagined by Daniels, including ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’ ‘I Shall Be Released’ and ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight.’ Daniels says that he chose the songs for the record based mainly on the arrangement that his band could put together, rather than dissecting each song’s meaning and choosing that way.

That’s partly because he wanted to bring something fresh to each track, and partly because the lyrics for a song like ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’ could be interpreted any number of different ways.

“Well, I have an idea of what it means,” Daniels says of the song. “It’s almost like a drug song or a mental attitude song, or a wishful thinking song. But you don’t really know for sure. You can’t pin it down because he don’t come out and say. One of the wonderful things about Bob Dylan music is everybody can draw their own conclusions about what he’s talking about.”

Daniels began touring with his band to support the release of the album at the end of March, with dates continuing into December.

“Having new material to play on the live show is like pouring a little hot sauce on your morning eggs, just adds a little extra zest to the set,” he says.

Next: Is Traditional Country Music Dead?

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