Ramblin' Rhodes: Music of nature, man can be heard at Phinizy Swamp

Visitors make their way through Phinizy Swamp Nature Park. The 1,100-acre park is open dawn to dusk, daily.

Two of my favorite performers, Flo Carter and Okefenokee Joe, will be the featured attractions along with snakes, birds and possibly a gator for Earth Day at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park on April 21.


Carter will perform at 10:30 a.m., and Okefenokee Joe will talk about swamp wildlife and sing his original songs about nature at 1 p.m.

The main Earth Day activities organized by the Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy (headed by former Augusta Mayor Bob Young) are free and will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There will be food vendors, scavenger hunts, crafts, swamp tours and more.

Earth Day actually begins at the park off Old Lock & Dam Road near the Bush Field airport runway with the Swamp Stomp 5k Run/Walk at 8 a.m.

Registration for the race is $23 with a T-shirt provided with a packet pick-up at the park’s Pfizer Pavilion from 7 to 7:45 a.m.

Call (706) 828-2109 for other information.

If you haven’t been to Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, you are really missing out on one of Augusta’s treasures. Hopefully this Earth Day will lead to many more music offerings at the park.

And hopefully the park will take advantage of Okefenokee Joe living here and being an internationally recognized expert on swamps, nature and Native American culture. He was filmed in the Okefenokee Swamp a couple of weeks ago by a Japanese television crew for a documentary on swamp life.

Joe already has suggested having a full-blown Native American pow-wow in the fall at the park, complete with crafts demonstrations, music and story-telling. Let’s hope that comes off.


THAT SPECIAL DAY: Tickets are on sale for the 2012 A Day in the Country music festival that begins at noon on Sunday, May 6, at Augusta Riverfront Marina.

Entertaining will be Tracy Lawrence, Jerrod Niemann, Ashton Shepherd, Carey Murdock & NoStar, Brantley and the Jeremy Graham Band.

Tickets are $25 advance or $35 day of the show. Children 5 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult. Café special area tickets are $75. Call (803) 278-4849 or visit tixonline.com.


PAPA JOE’S MOVING: The annual Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que & Bluegrass Festival is moving this year from The Hippodrome in North Augusta to the Evans, Ga., Towne Center.

The festival May 25-26, will feature Drive By Truckers, Ketch & Critter (members of Old Crow Medicine Show), Mountain Heart, The Little Roy & Lizzy Show, Buxton, The Brothers Comatose, Lera Lynn, Frontier Ruckus, The Whiskey Gentry, Austin Lucas and Glossary, Sibling String, The Ramblin’ Fevers and The Mason Jars.

Tickets ($35 for weekend pass, ages 12 and under admitted free, military ID gets $5 discount) go on sale Tuesday, May 1, at A.B. Beverage in Evans and Aiken, Communigraphics in North Augusta and Fireside Outdoor Kitchens & Grills in Augusta. Visit www.banjobque.com.


JEFF & SHERI’S HOMECOMING: Bluegrass-gospel stars Jeff & Sheri Easter will host their fourth annual Homecoming & Lewis Family Home Place Fund Raiser on May 11-13 at the home place, 1935 Lewis Family Road, outside Lincolnton, Ga.

The music begins at 7 p.m. May 11, featuring Ivan Parker (of the Gaither Homecoming TV concerts) and The Little Roy & Lizzy Show; 6 p.m. May 12, featuring The Perrys gospel group and The Lewis Tradition; and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 13, featuring The Primitive Quartet. Jeff & Sheri will perform all three days.

Tickets are $20 on May 11 and May 12 and $15 on May 13. Kids 12 and under get in free with a paying adult. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Visit jeffandsherieaster.com.


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, JB: The 40th anniversary of when James Brown recorded his classic hit Get On The Good Foot at Soundcraft Studios on East Buena Vista Avenue in North Augusta is May 9. The building now is a community outreach ministry.

Polydor Records released the recording as a 45 rpm single two months later in July.

Brown is credited with co-writing the song along with Fred Wesley and Joseph Mims.

Besides Brown singing lead vocal and playing the organ, other musicians included Wesley on trombone, Russell Crimes and Ike Oakley on trumpets, Jimmy Parker on alto saxophone, St. Clair Pinckney on tenor saxophone, Hearlon “Cheese” Martin and Bobby Roach on guitars and John “Jabo” Starks on drums.


Phinizy Swamp Nature Park is open from dawn to dusk daily and is free to visit. See www.naturalsciences academy.org or call (706) 828-2109.

• Swamp Stomp 5k Run/Walk, 8 a.m. April 21 (sign-in 7-7:45 a.m.), Pfizer Pavilion at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park, 1858 Lock and Dam Road. Register on Active.com or by form at www.naturalsciences academy.org. Early registration (by noon April 19) is $23 (T-shirt included) or $17; day of registration is $25 (T-shirt included) or $20.

• Earth Day 2012, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 21. Free, family event with swamp tours, scavenger hunts, crafts, food