"We've done so many patriotic songs through the years that it's a no-brainer to do an album of patriotic tunes. Right now, with everything that's going on, I think people need a little encouragement," Charlie tells The Boot. "They need to say, 'Hey we're still the United States of America. We're still the greatest country on the face of the earth. This country is worth fighting for. It's worth working for, worth voting for. It's worth being a good citizen. So here's some encouraging music for you. Here's how I feel about it. Here's my America!'"
'Land That I Love' opens with 'My Beautiful America' and the 15-song CD includes such CDB classics as 'In America,' 'Still in Saigon' and 'Simple Man' along with Charlie's version of 'The Star Spangled Banner' and such outspoken anthems as 'This Ain't No Rag, It's a Flag' and 'America, I Believe in You.'
"They are songs that deal with America and Americans, and the principles we're about, the cornerstones of what America is about," says Charlie of the music on 'Land That I Love.' "These songs are about what America means to me personally, what patriotism means to me, and my admiration for the people who defend the liberty of this country."
Charlie is well known for supporting America's troops and was recent recognized with the Patriot Award for Operation Troop Aid, honoring his consistent support of the US military. His pal Marty Raybon presented Charlie with the honor during CMA Music Fest. Marty's son Matthew is serving in Iraq and he wanted to present Charlie with the award on behalf of his son.
Charlie's new song, 'Iraq Blues," was written during three trips to Iraq and has become a favorite among military men and women. "I wrote one verse the first time I went over to Iraq, the second verse the second I went over and the third verse the third time I went over," Charlie says. "It's a little bit of an inside song -- some of the lines about not watching CNN or buying the New York Times because they've treated those guys so bad over there. It's a song the troops get a big charge out of. I do it every show for the troops."
Also available for download on July 4 is a new version of 'What This World Needs is Few More Rednecks.' A longtime favorite of Charlie's fans, the tune was also featured in the 2002 Reese Witherspoon film, 'Sweet Home Alabama.' "I do that song every night and crowds seem to like that one," he says. "I just recently [rewrote] it. I got to thinking: 'It's a good tune, but it's not up to date. It's got something about Gorbachev and stuff, so let's change it around and bring it up to date.' I started fooling with the words a couple years ago and finally decided to cut it."
During the July 4 weekend, Charlie can be heard on more than 200 country radio stations coast to coast as host of 'America's Opry Weekend Star-Spangled Special.' "I was very honored," Charlie says of hosting the Opry special. "Any time my name is associated with the Grand Ole Opry or someone says 'Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Daniels,' it's a big thrill to me."
Having rebounded from a mild stroke in January, Charlie has been on the road maintaining a busy tour schedule this summer and working in a little r-and-r wherever he can. After the show in Billings, he and wife, Hazel, planned to stop and pay a visit to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.
When asked about his July 4 plans, Charlie says he's almost always working on the holiday and this year will be no different. "I'll be playing music in Shreveport, La.," he says. "And I love fireworks. I hope they have some good fireworks down there!"
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