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“I’ve told you once–you son of a bitch–I’m the best there’s ever been:” A Charlie Daniels Memoriam

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The Oxford American’s Music Issue is about to hit the shelves of whatever internet bookstore you buy your magazines from these days, and I have written a piece for it, which is now online! It’s all about Charlie Daniels, he of the formidably weird life in song!

Like a lot of kids brought up during the pivot point between recovery from the Depression and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Daniels developed a profound sense of patriotism coupled with a provincial suspicion of the big banks and speculators that had, in some faraway distance, nearly destroyed the country. This was and is a complicated cocktail. It confers a knee-jerk love of the military, along with a quasi-rational contempt for the government that makes their marching orders. To parse that particular contradiction is to understand something crucial about contemporary American life.

Check it out if this seems like your particular cup of meat! And if you like physical mags, please order a copy. There’s some really great stuff in the issue – Brittany Howard guest edited and LG&M fave Patterson Hood from the Drive By Truckers contributed a wonderful essay about his dad, the superlative Swampers’ bassist David Hood.

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