Travis Tritt was on the bill for Charlie Daniels' 80th Birthday Volunteer Jam in 2016, and he shared his fond memory of meeting Daniels for the first time at a press conference before taking the stage.

Tritt was a brand-new act with his first single, "Country Club," at country radio in 1989 when he and his band were tapped to open for Daniels at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Tritt was such a new act that his name wasn't even on the marquee, and he found the backstage accommodations somewhat lacking.

"They stuck us in a broom closet for a dressing room," he told the assembled reporters, adding, "There was a big canister of Zep sweeping compound in the corner."

When Daniels came by to meet his opening act and saw the arrangement, he asked Tritt and his band to follow him up the hall, where he ushered them into "this room you could land a plane in. They had all of their equipment set up in the middle for jamming before the show started, and off to the left they had a full prime rib carving station, and off to the right they had a full bar with three bartenders."

"And he said, 'This is now your dressing room, because whatever is mine is yours,'" Tritt recalled.

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Daniels took Tritt under his wing, giving him all of his numbers and inviting him to call any time if he had any questions or problems, since he himself had experienced how hard it could be to adjust to the newfound challenges of life on the road and in the spotlight.

"I've never forgotten that, and he's been one of my dearest friends for many, many years," Tritt shared.

Charlie Daniels died on Monday, July 6, 2020, at the age of 83. Tritt was quick to issue a statement, calling Daniels a "dear friend" so many years later.

"My heart is crushed today," Tritt says on Monday, adding: "I have so many great memories of touring, performing, writing and recording with Charlie, but my favorite memories are of simply talking with the man when it was just the two of us alone."

"Farewell dear friend until we meet again."

Mt. Juliet Police Department in Tennessee will escort the body of Charlie Daniels to Sellars Funeral Home on Monday afternoon.

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