‘Volunteer Jam XX’ must-have compilation of the year

2 CD set captures legendary performances and collaborations

Blackbird Presents has released the must-have compilation of the year with a 2 CD edition of Volunteer Jam XX: A Tribute To Charlie Daniels. The set, recorded at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville earlier this year, captures incredible tributes and performances by some of country and classic rock’s most valuable players. Blackberry Smoke, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Travis Tritt, Justin Moore, Eddie Montgomery, Chris Janson, and the man himself — Charlie Daniels — are among the entertainers who are featured on the release.

The AXS TV special with in-depth interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage would be a nice DVD addition to the set, but needless to say, the listener is still presented with the warmth and love of the show. Featuring an all-star band with Don Was, Jamey Johnson, Nir Z, Sam Bush, Chuck Leavell, Tom Bukovac and Audley Freed, some of Daniels’ most prominent hits are put on display throughout the night, such as “Trudy,” “Evangeline,” “Simple Man,” “(What This World Needs Is) A Few More Rednecks,” “The Legend Of Wooley Swamp,” “Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye,” “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” and “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.”

Some of my favorite Daniels’ covers on the project include Justin Moore covering “Simple Man.” Moore was the perfect artist for this song as he often sings about the more conservative, simplistic lifestyle Daniels values. The song fits Moore’s no nonsense attitude towards the modern movement and could easily be covered on his new more traditional album which would bring it new life that would be refreshing.

I can’t think of a better artist to cover “(What This World Needs Is) A Few More Rednecks” than country’s most modern redneck, Chris Janson. The guy is full of high energy and serves the song well. His half singing/talking style gets the crowd amped as he gets them on their feet.

Some artists chose their own hits to perform including Eddie Montgomery singing Montgomery Gentry’s “My Town,” honoring Troy Gentry who passed from a helicopter crash last year. The duo and Daniels have a long history together, even collaborating on “All Night Long” from their 1999 debut, Tattoos And Scars. While Gentry is surely missed, it’s fitting that Montgomery is continuing the Montgomery Gentry banner without him and appears for this special, name dropping both Daniels and his fallen bandmate.

Other stand out performances include Skynyrd with their southern classic “Sweet Home Alabama” for everyone’s favorite sing-along. The group, who’s on their farewell Last of the Survivors Tour, is always entertaining and is rowdy as usual on this one.

Travis Tritt performs two of his classics in true southern rock fashion, “Modern Day Bonnie And Clyde” and “It’s A Great Day To Be Alive.” Billy F. Gibbons heats up the room with a rousing rendition of ZZ Tops’ “La Grange” that I swear I could play all day long, and Alabama perform their most popular hit, “Mountain Music,” with a rocking feel.

The all-star finale of The Allman Brothers’ “One Way Out” is a ten minute gem you don’t often hear: every performer reconvening on stage to close the night. Daniels takes on guitar duties for this while he and his comrades duel it out for a love fest. It’s the perfect closer.

Whether you’re a fan of southern rock and/or country, this is a must-have compilation of the year. These all-star performances are what has kept Volunteer Jam rocking on and off for 40 years. Daniels started it in 1974 and it’s been a staple for more than 40 years with individual shows, jams and special celebrations, and is surely to continue as Daniels doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon at the age of 81.

Author: Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.