Country music icon Charlie Daniels likens the time one has on Earth to the shape of the Egyptian Pyramids.

"There is plenty of room at the bottom, but as you move toward the top there is a less and less," Daniels said in a phone interview last week from soggy Chicago. "You have to prioritize what you want to do with the time you have left."

For Daniels, whose songs such as "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" and "Long Haired Country Boy" have long been staples of country and Southern rock, playing music has always been a top priority, even in his later years.

He calls it his passion, his obsession. It's an unflinching drive that will bring him to perform at the Desert Diamond Casino on Saturday.

"I would probably not be as involved in the music business if it was not for the live part of it," Daniels said.

At 76, he keeps busy on the road, playing more than 90 shows a year, come hell or high water.

Even after a bout with pneumonia and the subsequent insertion of a pacemaker in March, Daniels has managed to keep things going.

While many musicians his age rely on their hits, Daniel's brain is constantly churning out new ideas and concepts.

"I've got music in the back of my head that I don't know I'll ever get out," Daniels said. "There are so many things I want to do. It is just a matter of what you pursue the hardest."

His pursuit of good music has resulted in a lifetime of fans and, as of late, some very high-profile nods.

In 2009, Daniels was inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, home to such artists as George Jones, Vince Gill, Dick Dale and Booker T & the MGs.

In 2008, he was invited to be an official member of the Grand Ole Opry.

"There was always a deep desire in my heart to be a member of the Opry," he said. "We had played the venue for years, almost at will, whenever we were in town. But we were never official members. This was a big deal for me."

It's the type of recognition that makes Daniels feel like it has all been worthwhile.

"You do the things that are most important to you," he said. "That as much as anything is how I spend my life."

If you go

• What: Charlie Daniels Band in concert.

• When: 8 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: Desert Diamond Casino's Diamond Entertainment Center, 1100 W. Pima Mine Road.

• Tickets: $22.50 to $39.50 through

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at or 807-8430.