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Texas troubadour recalls roots on new record

 

Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen set out to make a his most recent record, he knew it would be unlike anything he had ever done, but at the same time, it was the one he always wanted to do.

“This was something that I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time and didn’t ever really get started,” said Keen, about his 12th studio ablumn, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions. “But I had made some effort in that direction, and for one reason or another the effort was thwarted. So for this one, I literally woke up one morning in the summer and said I have got to make this record, if I didn’t make it now I will never make it.”

Keen called up his friend and producer Lloyd Maines to tell him about his desire and began pulling the pieces together, gathering songs and pulling in a few extra musicians, such as Nickle Creek fiddle player Sara Watkins, to produce his first ever bluegrass record.

“It about six months from the time I said I had to do it, but everybody was on board and I tell you it was like lightning in a bottle once we got started because it was fantastic,” said Keen. “We cut 28 songs in just a handful of days. It was amazing.”

The new record mixes bluegrass classics from genre royalty such as Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, with other less traditional tunes, such as Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.”

The result is a record of that has met near universal acclaim.

The fact that they are all covers from a musician known for his song-writing prowess, is not lost on Keen, who said he set out from the start pay tribute to the music, and not to compete with it.

Keen said from the beginning he decided he would not contribute any original songs to the effort.

“I created that rule for myself before I started. I didn’t want to invite the comparison,” he said. “I wanted to pay tribute to bluegrass, but me being me, I know that a lot of my fans don’t have any clue at all.”

Keen said he wanted to share his love of bluegrass, and of the songs with fans who might not have ever heard of Carter Stanley.

“This is my way of turning people onto music, is by putting it on a record,” he said. “I hope that someone will listen to this and say, I love this Stanley Brothers song, ‘White Dove.” and go out and look up the Stanley Brothers. It is really on of the most exciting things about music, passing it along.”

Keen will be passing along these songs, as well as more familiar tunes from his catalogue at the Lady Antebellum Pavilion in Evans on Friday. He will be joined by other national and regional bluegrass artists in the lineup for the sixth annual Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que. The two-day barbecue and bluegrass festival kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday.

The line-up of live entertainment includes the The Roosevelts, Delta Cane, the Mason Jars, the Little Roy and Lizzie Show, Chatham County Line, Vance Joy and Shovels & Rope. Headliners Leftover Salmon will take the stage at 9:45 p.m. Friday and Trampled By Turtles will close out the festival beginning at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.

Keen’s connection to bluegrass music is not a recent development. It date’s back to his earliest days as a musician, when he and four othe classmates at Texas A&M were in a group, known as the Front Porch Boys.

“I always felt like the genesis of my songwriting comes from my lifelong love of bluegrass,” he said.

Although he’s touring in support of his new bluegrass record, Keen said he intends to mix in some of his own songs that many fans will be expecting, such as “The Road Goes on Forever,” and “Merry Christmas from the Family,” his take on the holiday tune that grew out of his attempt to reconcile his “dysfunctional Christmas” experience growing up in Houston, Texas.

“We had this insane Christmas circus and I had to try to capture that,” he said. “On the one hand it’s all about snow and sleigh bells and things like that. On the other hand in Houston, Texas it’s 100 degrees and 90 percent humidity and everybody’s drunk.”

Keen is not finished telling tales through his songs, by a long shot. Most recently, he has been working with some of the big-name country hit makers in Nashville to try for a different kind of success.

“I’ve written a lot of songs over the years but I’ve never had a hit,” he said. “I thought you know what I need to do it write with some of these people.

“The difference between now and back then when I washed out is that now I have some pretty good credibility and so I get to work with some really amazing writers.”

He said the newer country music is more about celebrating life, not “crying in your beer.”

“I wouldn’t say that the ballad is dead, but it is flopping on the beach,” he said. “They are looking for stuff that kind of go with this uber-fast world we are living in. At the same time, songs are songs. They have to get you.”

Keen is optimistic that his new collaborations will result in some big airplay, but even so he doesn’t expect it to change his style as a singer-songwriter.

“I’ve worked real hard at creating audiences. I’ve always felt like the borders of Texas were too small and there was no real valor at being a hero in your own back yard,” he said

“The fact is that what I have done and what I really am is a touring musician.”

In addition to music, Keen also has a few other side endeavors in the works. This past year he introduced Robert Earl Keen Beer, which is only sold in Texas.

“It’s light beautiful, sparkling golden beer,” he said.

Categories: Local

Texas troubadour recalls roots on new record

 

Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen set out to make a his most recent record, he knew it would be unlike anything he had ever done, but at the same time, it was the one he always wanted to do.

“This was something that I’ve wanted to do for a long, long time and didn’t ever really get started,” said Keen, about his 12th studio ablumn, Happy Prisoner: The Bluegrass Sessions. “But I had made some effort in that direction, and for one reason or another the effort was thwarted. So for this one, I literally woke up one morning in the summer and said I have got to make this record, if I didn’t make it now I will never make it.”

Keen called up his friend and producer Lloyd Maines to tell him about his desire and began pulling the pieces together, gathering songs and pulling in a few extra musicians, such as Nickle Creek fiddle player Sara Watkins, to produce his first ever bluegrass record.

“It about six months from the time I said I had to do it, but everybody was on board and I tell you it was like lightning in a bottle once we got started because it was fantastic,” said Keen. “We cut 28 songs in just a handful of days. It was amazing.”

The new record mixes bluegrass classics from genre royalty such as Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers, with other less traditional tunes, such as Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning.”

The result is a record of that has met near universal acclaim.

The fact that they are all covers from a musician known for his song-writing prowess, is not lost on Keen, who said he set out from the start pay tribute to the music, and not to compete with it.

Keen said from the beginning he decided he would not contribute any original songs to the effort.

“I created that rule for myself before I started. I didn’t want to invite the comparison,” he said. “I wanted to pay tribute to bluegrass, but me being me, I know that a lot of my fans don’t have any clue at all.”

Keen said he wanted to share his love of bluegrass, and of the songs with fans who might not have ever heard of Carter Stanley.

“This is my way of turning people onto music, is by putting it on a record,” he said. “I hope that someone will listen to this and say, I love this Stanley Brothers song, ‘White Dove.” and go out and look up the Stanley Brothers. It is really on of the most exciting things about music, passing it along.”

Keen will be passing along these songs, as well as more familiar tunes from his catalogue at the Lady Antebellum Pavilion in Evans on Friday. He will be joined by other national and regional bluegrass artists in the lineup for the sixth annual Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que. The two-day barbecue and bluegrass festival kicks off at 4 p.m. Friday.

The line-up of live entertainment includes the The Roosevelts, Delta Cane, the Mason Jars, the Little Roy and Lizzie Show, Chatham County Line, Vance Joy and Shovels & Rope. Headliners Leftover Salmon will take the stage at 9:45 p.m. Friday and Trampled By Turtles will close out the festival beginning at 9:45 p.m. Saturday.

Keen’s connection to bluegrass music is not a recent development. It date’s back to his earliest days as a musician, when he and four othe classmates at Texas A&M were in a group, known as the Front Porch Boys.

“I always felt like the genesis of my songwriting comes from my lifelong love of bluegrass,” he said.

Although he’s touring in support of his new bluegrass record, Keen said he intends to mix in some of his own songs that many fans will be expecting, such as “The Road Goes on Forever,” and “Merry Christmas from the Family,” his take on the holiday tune that grew out of his attempt to reconcile his “dysfunctional Christmas” experience growing up in Houston, Texas.

“We had this insane Christmas circus and I had to try to capture that,” he said. “On the one hand it’s all about snow and sleigh bells and things like that. On the other hand in Houston, Texas it’s 100 degrees and 90 percent humidity and everybody’s drunk.”

Keen is not finished telling tales through his songs, by a long shot. Most recently, he has been working with some of the big-name country hit makers in Nashville to try for a different kind of success.

“I’ve written a lot of songs over the years but I’ve never had a hit,” he said. “I thought you know what I need to do it write with some of these people.

“The difference between now and back then when I washed out is that now I have some pretty good credibility and so I get to work with some really amazing writers.”

He said the newer country music is more about celebrating life, not “crying in your beer.”

“I wouldn’t say that the ballad is dead, but it is flopping on the beach,” he said. “They are looking for stuff that kind of go with this uber-fast world we are living in. At the same time, songs are songs. They have to get you.”

Keen is optimistic that his new collaborations will result in some big airplay, but even so he doesn’t expect it to change his style as a singer-songwriter.

“I’ve worked real hard at creating audiences. I’ve always felt like the borders of Texas were too small and there was no real valor at being a hero in your own back yard,” he said

“The fact is that what I have done and what I really am is a touring musician.”

In addition to music, Keen also has a few other side endeavors in the works. This past year he introduced Robert Earl Keen Beer, which is only sold in Texas.

“It’s light beautiful, sparkling golden beer,” he said.

Categories: Local

Newsmakers

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Mega Millions - 05/19/2015

Georgia Lottery - Wed, 5/20/2015 12:00 AM
10-12-21-29-65 Mega Ball: 10 Megaplier: 5X Estimated Jackpot: $194 Million
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Fantasy 5 - 05/19/2015

Georgia Lottery - Wed, 5/20/2015 12:00 AM
08-20-25-30-32 Estimated Jackpot: $100,000
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Woman arrested for house party

 

An Evans woman was arrested after she allowed a party that included for some underage drinkers last weekend.

Courtney Martineau West, 41, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Deputies went to West’s Preakness Drive home at for a noise complaint just before midnight on Friday, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report. As deputies approached the home, several people including West ran out the back door and into a wooded area behind the house. Two of those people who admitted to drinking alcohol were underage – 16 and 18.

West told deputies that she heard her doorbell ring, panicked and ran out the back door,. She said after running away, she gathered her thought and returned back to the house, according to the report. West said that she misread the situation and feared the worst effect on her custody dispute with her ex-husband, according to the report.

The deputies determined that West hosted the gathering and provided alcohol to those attending.

The 18-year-old, Jordan Emiel Carter, of Augusta, was charged with minor in possession and the 16-year-old was charged with minor in possession and unruly juvenile.

West was released from the Columbia County Detention Center Saturday after posting a $1,600 bond, according to jailers.

Categories: Local

Woman arrested for house party

 

An Evans woman was arrested after she allowed a party that included for some underage drinkers last weekend.

Courtney Martineau West, 41, was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Deputies went to West’s Preakness Drive home at for a noise complaint just before midnight on Friday, according to a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office incident report. As deputies approached the home, several people including West ran out the back door and into a wooded area behind the house. Two of those people who admitted to drinking alcohol were underage – 16 and 18.

West told deputies that she heard her doorbell ring, panicked and ran out the back door,. She said after running away, she gathered her thought and returned back to the house, according to the report. West said that she misread the situation and feared the worst effect on her custody dispute with her ex-husband, according to the report.

The deputies determined that West hosted the gathering and provided alcohol to those attending.

The 18-year-old, Jordan Emiel Carter, of Augusta, was charged with minor in possession and the 16-year-old was charged with minor in possession and unruly juvenile.

West was released from the Columbia County Detention Center Saturday after posting a $1,600 bond, according to jailers.

Categories: Local

North Augusta City Council honors employees, hears about city designation as Tree City USA member

A brief Tuesday meeting for members of North Augusta City Council saw city employees recognized for collectively losing 461 pounds during a recent fitness challenge, a thank you given to a friend who brightened many days at the activities center and the city recognized as the latest member of a growing roster of American towns and cities to earn membership with Tree City USA.

Employee Health Nurse Susan Bratcher told council members that a team of 62 city employees participated in a 10-week C3 Challenge designed to encourage increased wellness and establish longterm fitness habits.

North Augusta faced off with teams from Aiken County and the City of Aiken, finishing second. Bratcher said she was very proud of the number of participants who joined the city team, which equaled participation from the county and Aiken, which have far more employees.

“We will definitely be doing it again,” Bratcher said of the challenge. “I feel like we did really well.”

Individual winners honored Tuesday included Susan Reynolds (Parks and Recreation), Verne Sadler (Public Safety), Roy Kibler and David Caddell (Operations) and Michael Baldy (Administration).

Already active in tennis and dance, Reynolds said the challenge introduced her to yoga, which she plans to continue practicing.

“I didn’t believe in (yoga), but once I tried it made me feel great,” she said.

Mayor Lark Jones then presented longtime activities center custodian Jonathan Stephens with a plaque and trophy for his eight years of service to the city, thanking him and expressing his gratitude on a job well done.

“We love you,” Jones told Stephens, who is moving to the Tallahassee area in Florida.

Finally, council heard from Everett Sharpe, Jr., of the South Carolina Forestry Commission, who congratulated the city on its recent designation as a new Tree City USA member. The Arbor Day Foundation sponsored organization recognizes towns and cities across the country which display the dedication of a community to the development of natural beautification.

There are around 40 Tree City USA communities in Southy Carolina, according to the foundation’s website.

Sharpe, who was joined in the presentation by Operations employee Roy Kibler, reported the largest Tree City USA member as being New York City with 8 million residents, and its smallest member as Sibley, North Dakota, with a population of just 28 people.

“It’s a beautiful city,” Sharpe said of North Augusta. “You can go through a town and tell whether people there care or not.”

In other business, city council passed third and final reading of zoning ordinance 007-14-17-008 moving a .46-acre parcel located at 505 Sikes Avenue from Planned Development to Small Lot Single-family Residential with no discussion from council members or the public.

Categories: Local

North Augusta City Council honors employees, hears about city designation as Tree City USA member

A brief Tuesday meeting for members of North Augusta City Council saw city employees recognized for collectively losing 461 pounds during a recent fitness challenge, a thank you given to a friend who brightened many days at the activities center and the city recognized as the latest member of a growing roster of American towns and cities to earn membership with Tree City USA.

Employee Health Nurse Susan Bratcher told council members that a team of 62 city employees participated in a 10-week C3 Challenge designed to encourage increased wellness and establish longterm fitness habits.

North Augusta faced off with teams from Aiken County and the City of Aiken, finishing second. Bratcher said she was very proud of the number of participants who joined the city team, which equaled participation from the county and Aiken, which have far more employees.

“We will definitely be doing it again,” Bratcher said of the challenge. “I feel like we did really well.”

Individual winners honored Tuesday included Susan Reynolds (Parks and Recreation), Verne Sadler (Public Safety), Roy Kibler and David Caddell (Operations) and Michael Baldy (Administration).

Already active in tennis and dance, Reynolds said the challenge introduced her to yoga, which she plans to continue practicing.

“I didn’t believe in (yoga), but once I tried it made me feel great,” she said.

Mayor Lark Jones then presented longtime activities center custodian Jonathan Stephens with a plaque and trophy for his eight years of service to the city, thanking him and expressing his gratitude on a job well done.

“We love you,” Jones told Stephens, who is moving to the Tallahassee area in Florida.

Finally, council heard from Everett Sharpe, Jr., of the South Carolina Forestry Commission, who congratulated the city on its recent designation as a new Tree City USA member. The Arbor Day Foundation sponsored organization recognizes towns and cities across the country which display the dedication of a community to the development of natural beautification.

There are around 40 Tree City USA communities in Southy Carolina, according to the foundation’s website.

Sharpe, who was joined in the presentation by Operations employee Roy Kibler, reported the largest Tree City USA member as being New York City with 8 million residents, and its smallest member as Sibley, North Dakota, with a population of just 28 people.

“It’s a beautiful city,” Sharpe said of North Augusta. “You can go through a town and tell whether people there care or not.”

In other business, city council passed third and final reading of zoning ordinance 007-14-17-008 moving a .46-acre parcel located at 505 Sikes Avenue from Planned Development to Small Lot Single-family Residential with no discussion from council members or the public.

Categories: Local

Man missing at lake identified

 

Emergency officials identified a man today, who has been missing since Monday afternoon in the waters of Lake Thurmond’s West Dam recreation area.

Christopher Lee Harper, 43, was last seen just before 3 p.m. Monday riding his Yamaha WaveRunner about 250 yards off shore near Thurmond Dam, according to Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division Capt. Mark Padgett. Witnesses told a park ranger they saw the man fall off the WaveRunner, surface once and go under again. He was not wearing a life jacket.

The search for Harper was called off late Monday as thunderstorms moved into the area. Padgett said emergency crews are using a sonar equipped boat to search the bottom of the lake where Harper went missing.

Padgett said the area of the lake where he disappeared is has a depth of about 40 feet.

Categories: Local

Man missing at lake identified

 

Emergency officials identified a man today, who has been missing since Monday afternoon in the waters of Lake Thurmond’s West Dam recreation area.

Christopher Lee Harper, 43, was last seen just before 3 p.m. Monday riding his Yamaha WaveRunner about 250 yards off shore near Thurmond Dam, according to Georgia Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division Capt. Mark Padgett. Witnesses told a park ranger they saw the man fall off the WaveRunner, surface once and go under again. He was not wearing a life jacket.

The search for Harper was called off late Monday as thunderstorms moved into the area. Padgett said emergency crews are using a sonar equipped boat to search the bottom of the lake where Harper went missing.

Padgett said the area of the lake where he disappeared is has a depth of about 40 feet.

Categories: Local

Jumbo Bucks Lotto - 05/18/2015

Georgia Lottery - Tue, 5/19/2015 12:00 AM
05-19-22-29-34-45 Estimated Jackpot: $2,300,000
Categories: Local

Fantasy 5 - 05/18/2015

Georgia Lottery - Tue, 5/19/2015 12:00 AM
07-12-14-15-32 Estimated Jackpot: $100,000
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Medac opening in North Augusta pushed back to August or September by parking deck delays

 

Delays in construction of a parking deck have pushed back the opening for Medac Inc. in North Augusta to at least late August or early September, according to city administrator Todd Glover.

Employees at Medac, an anesthesia billing company expected to bring over 500 workers to its new, near-complete facility located next to the North Augusta municipal building, were reportedly told of the new timeline in a meeting last week.

Glover said in an e-mail the setback is due to the combination of a problem prior to the start of construction on the parking deck and then heavier than expected rainfall more recently.

“The delay with the (parking) deck can be summed up with one word: water,” Glover wrote. “We lost four months on the front end dealing with a springhead and lost time recently due to heavier than normal rainfall ... End of August, first of September is achievable. The precast goes up fast and is not weather-dependent.”

Medac, which has had offices in Augusta for more than 20 years, had previously looked into moving into the former Fort Discovery building in downtown Augusta. When the announcement for the move was made last year, the company expected to spend $12 million to consolidate three locations and add 65 jobs.

Medac processes billing for anesthesiology companies and was founded in Augusta in 1992 by Bijon Memar and his brother Kam.

Categories: Local

Medac opening in North Augusta pushed back to August or September by parking deck delays

 

Delays in construction of a parking deck have pushed back the opening for Medac Inc. in North Augusta to at least late August or early September, according to city administrator Todd Glover.

Employees at Medac, an anesthesia billing company expected to bring over 500 workers to its new, near-complete facility located next to the North Augusta municipal building, were reportedly told of the new timeline in a meeting last week.

Glover said in an e-mail the setback is due to the combination of a problem prior to the start of construction on the parking deck and then heavier than expected rainfall more recently.

“The delay with the (parking) deck can be summed up with one word: water,” Glover wrote. “We lost four months on the front end dealing with a springhead and lost time recently due to heavier than normal rainfall ... End of August, first of September is achievable. The precast goes up fast and is not weather-dependent.”

Medac, which has had offices in Augusta for more than 20 years, had previously looked into moving into the former Fort Discovery building in downtown Augusta. When the announcement for the move was made last year, the company expected to spend $12 million to consolidate three locations and add 65 jobs.

Medac processes billing for anesthesiology companies and was founded in Augusta in 1992 by Bijon Memar and his brother Kam.

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