He is a singer-songwriter and U.S. Navy veteran, whose songs include “Four Square Miles,” “Semper Fi” featuring Trace Adkins” and the Tennessee Titans anthem “Welcome to the South.”
And this week, Adam Warner released a cover version of the Charlie Daniels classic “Long Haired Country Boy” to coincide with the anniversary of Daniels’ passing two years ago. (Daniels died on July 6, 2020 at the age of 82.)
“He was always a hero of mine,” Warner says.
Prior to recording the song, Warner contacted the family through Daniel’s former manager and close friend David Corlew. Warner wanted to make sure everyone understood why he wanted to do this.
“I’ve been playing this song on stage for years and it’s one of my favorites,” he explains. “And I know you’re never going to top what Charlie created or make it better than the original, but I have a younger audience. And people come up to me at gigs and say, man, I love ‘Long Haired Country Boy, that’s such a badass song.’ And when I tell them it’s not mine, it’s a Charlie Daniels song, they look at me like, ‘who the hell is that? ?’ And that’s because they’re about 19 years old.
It’s been nearly 50 years since Daniels first released “Long Haired Country Boy.” It was one of the signature songs from his 1974 album fire on the mountain. Warner traveled to Macon, Georgia to record his cover video at Capricorn Studios where Daniels recorded this album.
Warner says he hopes his version of the song will help introduce Daniels’ music to the next generation.
“It’s sort of my little way of being able to keep, not only his memory and his legacy, but also to present his music to younger audiences who don’t necessarily know who he was.”
To further honor Daniels, Warner is donating a portion of the song’s proceeds to the Journey Home Project. Journey Home is a non-profit organization created by Daniels with David Corlew in 2014, to help veterans.
“That’s another thing very near and dear to me, obviously,” Warner said. “The military was a very special place for me and if I can help my brothers and sisters in any way, I always will.”
He served four years in the Marines before being released in 2008. Warner is originally from Illinois and grew up on a multi-generational family farm in southeastern Illinois. As a child, he listened to a wide range of music, including country, rock and roll, and lots of southern rock.
“I loved the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Charlie Daniels,” he recalls.
At the time, he never gave much thought to pursuing a music career. He left home to join the Marines, then found himself in Nashville after leaving the service to attend school at Middle Tennessee State University. There, he started writing songs with classmates who loved music as much as he did.
“We didn’t take ourselves too seriously,” he says. “We just wrote fun music. And then we started writing songs that were pretty good. I ended up recording a few and then one thing led to another. And I was like, well shoot, I don’t want to end up sitting on my couch thinking “what if.” So, I thought I might as well give it a shot.
He gained traction in 2018 and 2019 with songs reflecting both his life and values like his “Four Square Miles” which evokes growing up on a farm in the heartland of America, and his duet “Semper Fi ” with Trace Adkins honoring the military.
When COVID hit, Warner – like everyone else – saw his music career come to an abrupt halt. Throughout the pandemic, however, he continued to work on songwriting.
He now has a new album due out later this year. It’s called What we are known for. “Long Haired Country Boy” is one of 12 tracks, but the only cover. The others are all new songs, half of which are written or co-written by Warner. Songs with titles like “Split a Beer”, “Granny’s Lincoln” and the previous “Catchin’ Hell”.
“As far as songwriting goes, I try to write in a way where it doesn’t matter if you’re from a small town in southeast Illinois,” he says, “or you be born and raised in New York and never even seen the country, I want you to be able to listen to it and see it, instead of just hearing it I try to write stories that you can see unfold in front of you I’m a visual guy, I guess.
What we are known for is scheduled for December.
“I’m really excited about the new album and can’t wait for people to hear it,” he says.