Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, told the “Todd Starnes Show” on Monday that he was “shocked” to learn that his good friend Charlie Daniels died from a stroke earlier in the morning.
Huckabee said Daniels, a devout Christian believer who “loved the Lord Jesus with all his heart,” and was a guest on his show a few weeks ago. He considered him a “dear friend and a great guy.”
“I loved being around him,” Huckabee, who is himself a capable musician, said. “He was an amazing entertainer. I once played on stage with Charlie and his band and he gave me a bow to his fiddle, something I’ll cherish forever.”
Huckabee said he was shocked by the news of his death because Daniels, who was 83, took on a workload that surpassed musicians half his age. The Associated Press reported that Daniels—who was most famous for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”—died in Tennessee Monday morning.
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“He was tireless and he loved to entertain,” said Huckabee.
Huckabee said that the title of Daniels’ memoir, “Never Look at the Empty Seats,” was very much the way that the musician lived his life.
“If Charlie Daniels went to an arena– of course they were almost always packed anyway– but if he ever gave a performance—if 10 people were in the crowd or 10,000, he gave the exact same performance,” Huckabee said. “Because he felt that he owed it to the fans that made him successful.”
Todd Starnes, the host of the program, said he has been a fan of Daniels and remembered one of his most stirring performances was a few years ago in front of U.S. troops on Easter Sunday in Afghanistan.
“And it was just Charlie and his guitar and he was singing ‘How Great Thou Art.’ And every time I listen to that song, you just get a little misty because it was so real, so authentic—and once again illustrates– you don’t need all of the stuff on stage to communicate a message with people,” Starnes said. “Just a man and his guitar in front of a bunch of our troops overseas.”
Huckabee recalled an encounter with Daniels where they discussed the woke culture permeating in the U.S. and how an artist can be destroyed in the industry if he doesn’t accept the narrative that the country is fundamentally flawed. Daniels replied, “I don’t care, because I earned the right to say what I believe.”