Country music legend Charlie Daniels says he’s “doing fine” and working away the numbness in his left hand after suffering a mild stroke while snowmobiling in Colorado.
“I can still play my fiddle. I can play my guitar. One of the first things I did when I came home from the hospital in Denver was to pick up my guitar and make sure my fingers still worked on it,” he said in a phone interview on Wednesday night.
The 73-year-old has begun physical therapy, not because of doctor’s orders — they told him the feeling in his hand would return on its own — but “to speed up” the process. He will do another session in Colorado this week, and find a therapist when he returns to Tennessee. Daniels doesn’t plan to cancel any of his upcoming shows, which resume in February.
He blames his stroke on high blood pressure.
“It had gotten higher than what I realized it was,” he said. “We have taken steps to remedy that, and we are back in the game.”
When the left side of his body began to go numb on that snowmobile ride on Friday, Daniels realized he was having a stroke. The thought crossed his mind that he may never be able to play music again, but he didn’t dwell on it.
“I never seriously thought, ’Well, this is it,”’ said Daniels. “I just look for everything to turn out good.”
Daniels said “the fingerprints of God were all over” his experience. He wasn’t far from the local hospital in Durango, Colo., which he said had only recently begun stocking the drug used to break up the blood clot in his brain. If he had arrived any later, the clot would’ve caused permanent damage. Additionally, a plane was immediately available to take him to Denver.
The stroke did make Daniels stop and think.
“It makes me realize that things can happen to you, but I choose not to sit around and worry about the possibility that I could have another stroke. It’s not imminent by any stretch of the imagination.”
He does have a list of things he still wants to do.
“I want to keep entertaining people,” he said. “I want to go fishing in Alaska again. I want to go back to Israel, which I intend to do in March.”
And he’ll continue doing what he loves.
“I love riding snowmobiles. I love fishing. I love shooting guns. I do a lot of target shooting when I’m at home. I love horses. I love cowboys.
“What the heck, I may take up skydiving next, who knows.”
Daniels is best known for his 1979 hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The Charlie Daniels Band earned a Grammy for best country vocal for the song.
He currently appears in a television ad for Geico Insurance, playing a scorching fiddle riff in an upscale restaurant before handing the fiddle to a man in a tuxedo and saying, “That’s how you do it, son.”