Entertainment, On A High Note

Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam marks 40 years of supporting veterans

Country superstar Eric Church joined the legendary Charlie Daniels on stage at the 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam. PHOTO COURTESY CHARLIE DANIELS

Volunteer Jam XVII 2015 - logo 18 - piecesImagine an open-air structure similar to the Parthenon. The cornerstone of this structure is Charlie Daniels, while the foundation is comprised of hundreds of the most talented musicians spanning multiple decades. The building blocks are thousands upon thousands of generous donors and music fans who’ve purchased tickets for Charlie Daniels 40 years of Volunteer Jam concerts. This structure is worthy of some impressive columns called Lipscomb University, Task Force Dagger Foundation, Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation and The Boot Campaign.

The structure has a name. It’s called The Journey Home Project.

Why build such an an elaborate structure? Because this structure is supporting a network of U.S. military veterans and their families – veterans who answered the call to protect our country and the freedoms we cherish.

Often when our veterans return from their tour of service, the tolls of war have been too great to bear alone. Wars in the Middle East and other parts of the world have left some of our bravest service personnel with injuries that will affect them the rest of their lives. Some require intense rehabilitation and years of physical therapy.

Country superstar Eric Church joined the legendary Charlie Daniels on stage at the 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam. PHOTO COURTESY CHARLIE DANIELS

Country superstar Eric Church joined the legendary Charlie Daniels on stage at the 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam. PHOTO COURTESY CHARLIE DANIELS

Cutbacks to veterans’ services from the federal government, combined with an increase in wartime active personnel have put a strain on health care, education and job opportunities for veterans. The Journey Home Project sees its mission as connecting donors to veterans’ organizations that do the most good.

To that end, Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena recently provided a stage for Charlie Daniels’ 40th Anniversary Volunteer Jam.

Each year music fans from all over the world come together for this concert event. In addition to great performances, these concerts are typically highlighted by video clips featuring veterans who have overcome various obstacles and have been helped by the proceeds of these concerts. One of these clips featured a veteran, once placed in a medically induced coma after receiving battle injuries, who went on to graduate from Lipscomb University.

While Eric Church was one of the biggest current stars to join Daniels on stage at this year’s Volunteer Jam, two of the regular performers are ones that have a special connection to the veterans. Those are rising country music artists, Ryan Weaver and Craig Morgan.

Weaver, a former Blackhawk pilot lost two brothers to combat related deaths in the Middle East. He says when he writes songs and performs he gains strength and inspiration from his fallen brothers.

The inaugural Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam  at War Memorial Auditorium in 1974. PHOTO COURTESY THE JOURNEY HOME PROJECT

The inaugural Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam at War Memorial Auditorium in 1974. PHOTO COURTESY THE JOURNEY HOME PROJECT

Morgan spent 17 years serving our country including 10.5 years on active duty in the U.S. Army. He recently returned from his 12th trip overseas to entertain U.S. troops and just launched the sixth season of “Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors” on Outdoor Channel. His next album is expected to be released later this year.

The first Volunteer Jam was held in back in 1974 at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium and was the Charlie Daniels Band’s way of celebrating their first hometown sellout concert. Daniels and his band invited numerous musical friends to stop by, like Marshall Tucker Band and The Allman Brothers, and “do some jamming.” Throughout the years since the first show in 1974, hundreds of award winning stars from across multiple genres of music including rock, country, bluegrass, gospel, soul, classical, comedy, and southern rock have donated their talent to make this concert series for a truly noble cause a reality.

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