Originally created 01/25/02

Futurity gives band rare opportunity to play Augusta



Augusta country band Shiloh welcomes the opportunity offered in its annual stand at the Augusta Futurity dance.

It gets the group off the road again.

In recent years, the band has gained popularity as a regional act, traveling from gig to gig across the Southeast. Hometown appearances have become something of a rarity, with the Futurity and the annual Day in the Country concert the only real opportunities Augusta fans have to see the group perform.

"We don't play in Augusta much, and it is always fun to play in your hometown," said Shiloh's steel-guitar player, L.M. English. "So we do look forward to this gig. We've played every Futurity but one. We were playing this before we were Shiloh."

Longtime fans of the band may be surprised to see the musicians who take the Futurity stage on Wednesday at the Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St. While many of the core musicians have remained constant for many years, the band recently took on bass player Clint Watts and singer April Amick of Columbia.

"This is the first year we've had a female vocalist, and we are very excited about it," Mr. English said. "It really opens a lot of doors for us, in terms of what we can do musically."

Ms. Amick, who spent the past several years performing in Nashville, Tenn., said that her first priority when moving was to find a band to play with. When she found that Shiloh was interested in expanding, she didn't hesitate.

"It was important to me that I do something fun with talented musicians," she said. "That's what I was used to in Nashville, and I was more than willing to jump in."

Now in its 10th year, Shiloh is still a band intent on evolving and changing. Brian Hancock, the lead guitar player, said the nature of modern country music requires the band to remain flexible.

"When I talk about country with other musicians, a lot of them think of those Ray Price eight-tracks their dads had," he said. "It's not even close to that anymore. This music has become much more complex."

In band years, a decade together is an eternity. Shiloh members credit the band's longevity to their ability to survive one another's quirks on and off the stage.

"I think we can sum it up with one word - chemistry," said Scott Terry, who plays fiddle, acoustic guitar and harmonica. "When you play on the road, you have to find people to play with that you can get along with onstage, and also that you can live with for two or three days at a time."

Mr. English said the band puts up with the bad food, bad weather and bad conditions that are regular hazards of the road because the road offers them the opportunity to do what they love.

"This is something that, if you didn't enjoy doing it, you would stay at home," he said. "But I'd still rather play than eat."

ON STAGE

WHAT: The Futurity Dance, with Shiloh

WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday

WHERE: The Julian Smith Casino, 2200 Broad St.

ADMISSION: $5 in advance, $10 at the door. Advance tickets available at The Augusta Chronicle cashier's office and the Futurity booth at the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center.

Lake Olmstead Stadium on Milledge Road will be home to boots and hats instead of baseballs and caps Sunday for the Augusta Futurity's annual parade. The wagon train pulls out of the ballpark at 2 p.m., making its way down Broad Street to the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center. As in years past, the only requirement for participation in the parade is no engines.

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com



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