Several Augusta-area musicians are traveling the world as proud representatives of the United States this summer, just in time for Flag Day.
Rhythm & blues singer Sharon Jones is performing at the BMW Jazz Festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 14.
She was doing concerts in Holland and Germany just a few days ago and heads for more concerts in Norway and Belgium at the end of the month.
This Saturday she will be back at the Hollywood Bowl performing for the Playboy Jazz Festival in Los Angeles.
On her 56th birthday on May 4, she joined Grammy Award winner John Legend at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., for a tribute to the late Marvin Gaye.
She and Legend sang many of the classic hits made famous by Gaye and the late Tammi Terrell with Jones’ band The Dap Kings playing backup.
The Web site dcist.com described her appearance: “An uptempo funk groove took over as Jones appeared, drawing cheers. If there’s anyone who has a personality large enough to pull off a blinding gold-sequined dress, Jones is that person, and she has the voice to match.
“The first set included hits like Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, but the two vocalists truly shined on lesser known cuts such as If I Could Build My Whole World Around You. Throughout, Jones’ powerful voice proved a worthy foil to Legend’s easy-going delivery. The set closed with an uplifting rendition of You’re All I Need To Get By, which was among the last songs Terrell and Gaye recorded together.”
Jones’ birthday was made even more special with Legend singing Happy Birthday to her and with First Lady Michelle Obama coming backstage to congratulate Jones on her performance.
North Augusta-reared Carey Murdock, who tore up thousands of music fans at the A Day in the Country outdoor festival in early May, makes his European debut in a few days with his first concert on June 29 in Stockholm, Sweden.
He will spend all of July doing house concerts and other shows in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, England and Austria.
Murdock’s original song If You Say Yes, posted on Youtube on Valentine’s Day, now has more than 2,000 hits. You can follow his European musical journey and hear his latest songs at careymurdock.com.
He has been writing and co-writing new material for his next studio album including Never Like This Before with Benita Hill, who wrote It’s Your Song and Two Pina Coladas, made famous by Garth Brooks.
FAREWELL DOC WATSON: What a loss it is in the music world with the death of North Carolina guitarist and singer Doc Watson on May 29 at age 89.
His astonishing guitar playing and unique voice was so pure and rich; ranging from traditional folk to jazz and bluegrass.
I crossed his path several times with one of the most memorable conversations being as we sat in aluminum lawn chairs behind the stage at a bluegrass music festival in his home state.
He told me about a time in 1963 when he almost gave up performing but was persuaded to get trying thanks to a 25-year-old black kitchen worker in Philadelphia named Jerry Rix.
“I was performing at the Second Fret Club in Philadelphia and was making $150 a week,” Watson related. “I was lonesome and homesick and being blind made it worse. Stop and think. Except when someone came and got me at my hotel to go to work, I was totally lost in the city. I had decided when I finished the week I would be done with performing.
“When he (Rix) learned of my planning to quit he said to me, ‘Doc Watson, there’s a room in my house with a good clean bed, and it’s got your name on it.’ Jerry was a Godsend. I told him I would go live with him if he would let me split the groceries. At Jerry’s I lived like a king. He encouraged me to go on with performing. That was my turning point.”
At another bluegrass festival in Lavonia, Ga., I asked Watson what was the secret of his audience control.
“Be yourself,” he advised. “That’s the simplest thing in the world. Don’t put on any airs. Unless you’re a pretty bad fellow, when you get on stage people will like you if you just be close to what you really are.”
HEPHZIBAH OPRY PRESENTS: The next show of the Hephzibah (Ga.) Opry will be Flatland Express at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 30, at Richmond Lodge 412, 4391 Saxon Drive. It’s free with a love offering passed around. Meals can be bought beginning 5:30 p.m. Call Dwayne Flowers at (706) 306-7537 for questions.
ERYN EUBANKS FESTIVAL’ DATE: The fifth annual Eryn Eubanks & The Family Fold Music Festival benefiting Lynndale, Inc. has been set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, back at The Kroc Center, 1833 Broad St.