Originally created 08/19/04

Ramblin' Rhodes: Newberry Opera House will welcome favorites of music's tuneful past



The Newberry (S.C.) Opera House, an hour's drive from Augusta, has posted its season lineup online, and it's packed with classic entertainers:

l Country stars Lynn Anderson, Oct. 22; Brenda Lee, Dec. 4; Crystal Gayle, Dec. 14; and The Oak Ridge Boys, Feb. 11.

l Folk and alternative country stars Jerry Jeff Walker, Sept. 20; Arlo Guthrie, Nov. 8; Robert Earl Keen, Nov. 9; The Kingston Trio, Dec. 5; Livingston Taylor, March 4; and Roger McGuinn, April 2.

l Bluegrass stars Doyle Lawson, Dec. 3; Doc Watson & David Holt, Jan. 15; and The Del McCoury Band, Jan. 20.

l Classic groups The Four Freshmen, Sept. 17; Air Supply, Oct. 17; The Lettermen, Oct. 24; The Association, Nov. 19; Sha Na Na, Jan. 23; and The Vogues, June 11.

l Pop and rock stars Al Stewart, Nov. 5; George Winston, Dec. 16; Charo, Jan. 9; Melissa Manchester, Jan. 29; Karla Bonoff, March 11; and Commander Cody, June 3.

Call the box office at (803) 276&812;6264 for questions, prices or to buy advance tickets or see the Web site newberryoperahouse.com.

JEFF BATES RETURNING: The Web site for Jeff Bates (The Love Song, I Want to Make You Cry) lists him as performing Oct. 25 for the Western Carolina Fair in Aiken. He tore up the crowd last November at WKXC&812;FM's (99.5) Guitar Pull in Bell Auditorium.

His first major media interview was in my column Aug. 15, 1997, when he was an unknown singer still shopping for a major&812;label record deal. You can read about him at jeffbates.net.

AIKEN BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL: Steve Grout, the organizer of the Aiken Bluegrass Festival, says the festival next year will not go up against The Lewis Family's huge bluegrass festival as it did in May.

The Lewis Family's festival, packed with major bluegrass acts, always takes place the first weekend of May at Elijah Clarke State Park east of Lincolnton, Ga.

Mr. Grout said the 2005 Aiken Bluegrass Festival will be expanded and will move to the third weekend in May ( May 14&812;15) and will have Tony Rice as a headliner. Mountain Heart is expected to return for the Friday night fund&812;raiser.

BOOKS IN THE WORKS: Two books of particular interest to Augustans are in the works by prominent authors.

Michael Gray, of York, England, is working on a book about guitarist and singer Blind Willie McTell, who was born and buried near Thomson, Ga. The annual Blind Willie Blues Festival is held in his memory.

Mr. Gray e&812;mailed me that he has been working on the book for about four years. It is due out in 2006 . One previous book by Mr. Gray is the work Song & Dance Man III ñ The Art of Bob Dylan.

Meanwhile, New York City&812;based author Marc Eliot is working on a book about James Brown.

Mr. Eliot is a successful and respected author whose previous books include To the Limit: The Untold Story of The Eagles; Down Thunder Road: The Making of Bruce Springsteen; Love Unlimited with Barry White; Ordinary Girl with Donna Summer; and his controversial book Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince.

His latest book, Cary Grant, comes out in September.

Don Rhodes has been writing about country music for 33 years. He can be reached at (706) 823&812;3214 or don.rhodes@morris.com.