40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam: Back in a Big Way - Soapbox Jr.
August 12, 2015
After a hiatus of almost 10 years, there was a real Volunteer Jam in Nashville again, and not just a tour stop on a Volunteer Jam Tour.
The 2015 Jam celebrated the 40th anniversary of the very first Jam at War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville on October 4, 2014, and the success of the 2014 non-official Jam in Colorado seemed to be the catalyst to bring back what was a Nashville tradition for over 20 years.
In 2015, the Jam was reimagined as a way to promote The Journey Home Project – Now The Charlie Daniels Journey Home Project – dad’s charity which partners with other organizations to help our veterans adjust to civilian life, and to commemorate the Jam’s 40th anniversary.
The new home would be Bridgestone Arena, downtown Nashville’s home of the Nashville Predators hockey team, CMA Awards and countless concerts since it opened in 1996.
The Journey Home theme was evident in the push to make this as patriotic a show as possible.
The first-timers for the 40th Anniversary VolJam were Phil Vassar, The Grascals, Colt Ford, Trace Adkins, Craig Morgan, Terri Clark, Lee Greenwood, Michael W. Smith, Eric Church, Blackberry Smoke, Billy Dean, Ryan Weaver, Jamey Johnson and Craig Morgan.
Those returning were Kentucky Headhunters, Jeannie Seely, Ted Nugent, Tracy Lawrence, Wynonna Judd, The Oak Ridge Boys, Alabama and Sean Hannity was on hand for the festivities.
There were two acts that were technically Jam first-timers but had previously performed at some of the Jam Tour stops, and they were Lee Roy Parnell, and Montgomery Gentry, but this was their first official Jam appearances.
And there was one more returning act that I’ll talk about shortly.
The show arena was electric and fast-paced. Great care and planning had been in place to make sure that the impressive array of artists would fit into the show’s almost five hours. Being on a Wednesday night would have made it impossible to have the 8-9-hour spectacles of Jams past.
One of the most emotional moments for me took place during the CDB set. Billy Crain, brother of the late Tommy Crain - who played guitar with the CDB from 1975-1988 - came on stage to play one of Tommy’s songs that the CDB recorded, “Lonesome Boy From Dixie.”
Eric Church was one of the surprise unannounced guests that night and came out and sang “In America.”
And Natalie Stovall – now part of Runaway June – came out to assist dad on fiddle for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
Then a band that’s history was very intertwined with the Volunteer Jam made their third appearance. Lynyrd Skynyrd returned to the Jam stage after reuniting, albeit briefly, at 1979’s Jam V and then launched their comeback at 1987’s Jam XIII. Though most of the original band has passed away now, Gary Rossington and the current band still rocked the Jam stage, along with dad.
The music was great, and it was a very comforting feeling that the Jam was back, and in a big way.
But as I mentioned, part of this was about raising money for The Journey Home Project and helping further their mission.
That was evident when Henry Repeating Arms, one of the show’s sponsors donated $200,000 to TJHP, and as part of that presentation, several veterans were honored, including one of the oldest surviving World War II veterans was on hand, then 95-year-old Jack ten Napel, a Marine who survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor and served on each one of the islands in the Pacific Theater, and he arrived in uniform, USMC dress blues.
Of the roughly four hundred men in his outfit, only he and seven of his fellow Marines survived to the end of WWII.
One interesting fact about the Volunteer Jam numbering system which was pretty straightforward until the Jam returned in 2015. Technically the 40thAnniversary Volunteer Jam was number XVII, The Charlie Daniels 80th Birthday Volunteer Jam was number XVIII and then came Volunteer Jam XX: A Tribute to Charlie Daniels.
Yep, you read that right. We skipped a Roman numeral.
I’ll write about that in a few days.
Just a few short days until Volunteer Jam: A Musical Salute to Charlie Daniels on August 18, 2021 at Bridgestone Arena, and we hope you will come out for it. Get tickets HERE
“Ain’t it good to be alive and be in Tennessee!”
Let’s all make the day count!
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police, the Peace of Jerusalem and our nation.
God Bless America!
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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