Brad Paisley shared a special connection with the late Charlie Daniels, who passed away at the age of 83. The “Whiskey Lullaby” singer wrote an essay for Billboard shortly after news of Daniels’ death made headlines on Monday. Among other things, Paisley applauded him for everything he brought on stage, saying he brought it every night like he "was going into battle", adding that "he was like a general up there."
Their bond goes back to one of Paisley’s first ever performances in which he opened for him when he was 15-years-old, though he admits he didn’t really get a chance to truly meet him until years later while on a tour bus. That was when Daniels, according to Paisley, told him, “Son, you're doing some things out there. There's quite a buzz about you.” From that point on, Paisley went on to have an impressive career in the music industry and continues to do so with his latest single, “No I in Beer.” Paisley said he was “struck by his warmth” and added they were “friends right away.”
Further down in his essay, Paisley explains how the two, who worked together on a song for Daniels’ album in 2007, came about working together for Paisley’s 2013 album, “Wheelhouse.” Paisley pitched him an idea for a song that he wanted to have a rap part and so he went to Daniels, feeling his vibe on “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” would be a perfect fit. Having him assist on the song, “Karate,” was a blessing for Paisley, who said it gave it legitimacy, “It just sounds so cool coming out of his mouth. It gave it cred.”
Paisley concluded his piece by recounting a story where the two played at a festival together and Paisley was the headliner. He said having Daniels perform right before him was a hard act to follow,” He was making it very hard for me to follow him in a great way.” At the end, Paisley called him a “fantastic, wonderful man.”
News of Daniels’ passing sent shockwaves across the country music industry. Many of the genres’ biggest stars shared personal stories of Daniels, everyone from Montomgery Gentry to today’s biggest musicians like Luke Combs and Luke Bryan. Eddie Montgomery referred to Daniels as an icon, “We just lost the greatest American hero I’ve ever known.” On Twitter, Combs added that the “country music flag is flying at half mast today.”