His early years in the hills of Kentucky gave him plenty of fodder for future songs. Charlie recalls the relatives moving the furniture back, and holding square dances on Saturday nights. He watched the fiddle and guitar players, and listened to the Grand Ole Opry every week with his friends.
His earliest musical influences were Hank Williams and Roy Acuff. When Charlie was 6 or 7, he performed for the first time, singing "Love Sick Blues" for a school play. He also remembers clogging, yodeling, and singing spirituals. The county music teacher came by when Charlie was in the 4th grade, and signed him up for the school band program. He wanted a trumpet, but didn't have the necessary funds, so a helpful relative stepped in and gave Charlie a trombone.
A couple of years later, the Hit Parade started airing, and Charlie got his first introduction to popular music. He particularly recalls hearing and enjoying Glen Miller. Up until then, his only musical exposure had been to hills folk music, the Grand Ole Opry, and school band music.
When Charlie was a sophomore in high school the family moved to Arizona. He remembers seeing a group of teachers rehearse a swing band one afternoon at his school, and being entranced with the trap drum set. Shortly thereafter, he had his own set, and was practicing "eight hours a day." In six weeks he had his first gig, playing instrumental dance music at proms and other events around town. He remembers some musical influences of that time for him being Gene Vincent, Little Richard, and other early rock and roll artists.
Around this time a friend showed Charlie a few chords on guitar, and soon he decided he wanted to learn to play. He picked up an old Harmony and an amplifier, learned a few more chords and got another guitar. He was also still playing drums, sneaking into bars (he was 18 and underage) and performing with local honky-tonk bands. "That's really where I developed my feel," he says.
About this time Charlie visited a recording studio for the first time. He got to sit in on some sessions. "It blew my mind! I thought, whoa, so this is how they do it!" he says. Charlie promptly sat down and wrote some songs, so he could go in and record them. He made friends with the owner of the studio, who found a song he thought Charlie should record, called "The Great Duane." He did, and the song became a hit, leading to an appearance for Charlie on the Dick Clark show. Charlie's stage name at that time was Richie Hart, and the band was called The Hartbeats.
At age 24, Charlie was drafted, and was posted in San Francisco. He arrived in San Franciso about 2 weeks before John F. Kennedy was killed. After completing basic training, he was selected for the 6th Army Band on trombone. He spent his whole tour of duty in San Francisco, playing in the 6th Army band, and also for Officer Club dances and other post gigs. He was mainly playing jazz at this time, then in 1965 at a friend's house he heard the Beatles. Shortly thereafter he also listened to Bob Dylan for the first time. He says hearing them "got me back into rock & roll."
After the Army Charlie returned to Arizona, and formed a folk-rock band. He let his hair grow, and got a job back at the same studio where he was introduced to recording earlier. Charlie says he was tired of clubs, and wanted to do something totally original. He would go into the studio at night, and record. He wrote a song called "Confusion." In 1967 he met Paul Spradlin, and Bob Henke, a bass player. Together they continued to experiment in the studio at night, with the beginnings of what would become Goose Creek Symphony. By 1968 the recording of the first Goose Creek Symphony record was underway.
Charlie visited the Pacific Northwest for the first time during this period. He actually had decided to move there, but then Capitol Records decided to pick up the first Goose record, so Charlie moved back to Phoenix. A few years later, Charlie did finally move to the Northwest, where he lived for about 17 years.
Charlie now lives in Nashville, Tennesse, with his wife Carolyn. Charlie is also an avid fisherman, with a particular penchant for steelhead fly fishing. He enjoys tieing flies and working on his vintage cars. He has three children, and two grandchildren.