This hard-working group is a live band first, and never disappoints in person. Daniels’s reputation for delivering top-notch performances comes from a very hands-on approach to all aspects of his show. From the level of musicianship and style of play he insists on from his band to the mix he wants from head audio engineer Bob Workman to the demands he places on his gear, Daniels expects everything to work just so, without technical issues: “The crowd deserves better than that,” he says. Of his chosen gear, he adds, “I expect it to work every night with a minimum of fuss.” On the road, that means a sound system built around Meyer Sound’s MILO® high-power curvilinear array loudspeaker.
“I’m not a real technical type of person at all,” Daniels confesses. “Some guys can talk up and debate the fine details like throw, pattern and all that stuff, but all I judge things by is whether or not they sound good, and the MILOs sound real good. Plus, I’ve got one of the best sound guys in the business in Bob, and I trust his judgment to the end of the earth. He loves them, and if he says it’s great, I go with it.”
Workman, whose resumé includes 25 years working with such high-profile acts as Ray Charles, Tanya Tucker, and Ricky Skaggs, had already seen plenty of Meyer Sound gear over the years when he first encountered MILO at the 2006 Country USA festival in Oshkosh, Wis. Sandwiched among 31 other diverse acts, with little time to prepare or tune, Workman quickly gained an appreciation of what this MILO could do. “This system sounded great right out of the box,” he says. “Other than a couple of minor adjustments I always do, it needed very little tuning. The MILOs are probably the smoothest line array that I’ve ever heard. Ever since that show it’s been my first-call box.”
Part of what makes a Charlie Daniels Band show acoustically challenging is the eclectic style in which they play. While typically categorized as country, the band draws from a large range of influences and styles, including Southern-tinged rock, gospel, bluegrass, and even bebop. With a lineup of two guitarists, keyboards, bass, drums, and of course Charlie himself manning the guitar, mandolin or fiddle, the need for pure sound is even more crucial.
Speaking of his requirements for a sound system Daniels says, “I mainly need something that’s clear. Of course you want to start out with a good balance between guitar, bass and drums, and build on that, but I also want something that will have a clear enough sound that we won’t drown out everything else, and lose the keyboard and fiddle in the mix.” “I usually worry about pulling up that very critical vocal region as I tune,” adds Workman “but the MILOs are just so smooth and controlled through there that I hardly have to touch a thing.”
The band’s tour schedule takes them all over the world, which puts their equipment through the full spectrum of environmental conditions, in addition to the wear and tear of travel. Still, the dramatic differences in temperature and humidity don’t seem to bother the Meyer Sound gear. “Weather conditions don’t affect the Meyer lines the way they do everybody else’s,” notes Workman. “They’re just very predictable. I can depend on them from night to night, venue to venue. MILO is, without a doubt, the smoothest, most consistent line array that I’ve ever heard.”