Steep Canyon Rangers headed for show in Newberry

Steep Canyon Rangers will have a fifth CD, Nobody Knows You, which will be released April 10.

The great bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers, of Asheville, N.C., will be back in this area with a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 22, at the Newberry (S.C.) Opera House.


Tickets cost $30 and can be bought through the box office at (803) 276-6264 or ordered at

In late 2009, I asked band lead vocalist Woody Platt whether the band planned to record with comedian, banjo player and movie star Steve Martin, whom they had been backing in concerts.

Platt replied, “We haven’t talked about doing any new record together in any shape or form yet. But on this tour we have been writing songs with Steve. So, yes, there is a chance we might do some collaboration with him in the future.”

There apparently was more than just a chance, because the band and Martin did collaborate on an album with their joint effort Rare Bird Alert, which was released in 2011 and earned a 2012 Grammy nomination. Unfortunately, it lost out to Alison Krauss and Union Station’s CD Paper Airplane.

Steep Canyon Rangers’ fifth CD (without Martin) will be Nobody Knows You; its release is set for April 10.

It was while attending the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill that Platt hooked up with fellow students Graham Sharp, Mike Guggino and Charles Humphrey III to form Steep Canyon Rangers in late 1999. The name was inspired by the beer Deep Canyon Stout.

Fiddler Nicky Sanders, a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, later joined the group.


DON WILLIAMS REMINDER: Don’t forget that country music balladeer Don Williams will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, in Bell Auditorium.

Tickets cost $57.50, $42.50 and $35.50. They are available at the James Brown Arena Box Office or online at or by phone at (877) 4AUGTIX.


ERIC LEE BACK AT COYOTES: Nashville country rocker Eric Lee Beddingfield returns to Coyotes nightclub, 2512 Peach Orchard Road, at 9 p.m. Friday, March 16. The cover charge is $7. The former Augusta and Dearing, Ga., resident last month received Music Row magazine’s Independent Artist of the Year award during the Country Radio Seminar for being the independent label artist with the most country radio air plays in 2011, thanks to his single The Gospel According to Jones. Brad Paisley, at the same awards show, picked up the major label Artist of the Year award having the most air plays.


BLIND WILLIE LINEUP: The good folks who organize the annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival near Thomson have announced the musical lineup for the 19th annual event.

It will be held Saturday, May 19, at the site on Stagecoach Road, just off Washington Highway, one mile from Interstate 20 exit 172.

Texas-born vocalist Delbert McClinton will headline the festival. His last appearance at the event six years ago was cut short by lightning and heavy rain.

Also on the bill are blues harmonica player James Cotton (inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame in Memphis, Tenn., in 2006); Athens, Ga., musician Randall Bramblett performing with Geoff Achison, from Australia; country blues player Guy Davis of Harlem, who starred on Broadway in the musical Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil; and local funk-blues band Mama Says.

Tickets cost $25 in advance or $35 at the gate. Ages 12 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult. Visit for details.

Thanks, by the way, to the blues festival organizers for giving credit on their Web site to yours truly for suggesting to Dot Jones, then-tourism director for Thomson/McDuffie County, that a blues music festival should be considered to honor local native and blues legend Blind Willie McTell and promote Thomson.


CONDOLENCES TO THE JONES FAMILY: My sympathy especially goes to the family of international rhythm and blues singer Sharon Jones on the March 6 death of her mother, Ella Mae Prescott Price Jones, 79, of North Augusta.

The funeral will be at noon Saturday, March 17, at Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church, 815 Murrah Road, in North Augusta.