Originally created 09/09/04

Augusta native Archie Jordan comes home for Etherredge Center concert



Country songwriter Archie Jordan performs at 7 tonight in the city where he was reared at a concert in the Etherredge Center at the University of South Carolina Aiken.

Tickets are $8, but university students are admitted free.

The Augusta native wrote or co-wrote hits including What a Difference You Made in My Life, Let's Take the Long Way (Around the World), It Was Almost Like a Song and Jesus Is Your Ticket to Heaven (all recorded by Ronnie Milsap); Drifter (Sylvia's first hit single); Happy Birthday, Dear Heartache (Barbara Mandrell); It's All I Can Do (Anne Murray) and He's Got It All in Control (B.J. Thomas).

Recently, after his parents died and after a divorce, Mr. Jordan moved from the fast lane of Nashville, Tenn. (after living there for more than 20 years), to his father's 40-acre farm in Perkins, between Waynesboro and Millen, Ga.

He has become an active supporter of the Rev. Michael Guido's Seeds from the Sower ministry in nearby Metter, and he recently released a CD, Songs From the Sower, based on the Rev. Guido's writings and life.

LOST BLUEGRASS GREAT: It was sad to read about the death of bluegrass great Charlie Waller, who suffered a heart attack Aug. 18 while picking squash in his garden in Gordonsville, Va. He was 69.

Mr. Waller was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Honor in 1996 and led The Country Gentlemen for 47 years. The group performed annually at The Lewis Family's Bluegrass & Homecoming Festival near Lincolnton, Ga.

"We worked with him a lot for many years," said vocalist Janis Lewis Phillips. "I always did like his voice. When you heard it, you knew whose it was."

ELVIS IN WATKINSVILLE: Elvis tribute artist Damon Hendrix will be heading to Watkinsville, Ga., for concerts at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Oconee Civic Center. Tickets are $21.40. See his Web site, damonhendrix.com.

New fan Lynn Hood, of Harlem, e-mailed me: "I attended Damon's concert on Aug. 28 in Gwinnett County (Ga.). It was awesome! I am so amazed at how much Damon sounds like Elvis. I never saw Elvis in concert, but after watching Damon I feel like I have. Damon's energy is unbelievable. The crowd can't help but get lost in their memories of Elvis."

NOTE FROM BIL VORNDICK: My column about country star Janie Fricke recording a bluegrass album and using drums resulted in an e-mail from Bil VornDick, who produced both the Fricke album and a new bluegrass CD from country star Lynn Anderson.

Mr. VornDick wrote me, "In regard to the drums, Sharon and Cheryl White (of The Whites bluegrass-country group. Sharon is married to Ricky Skaggs) backstage at the Opry laughed when I said the Bluegrass Police didn't like Lynn's and Janie's albums because of the drums.

"I, too, laugh, as there are not too many people who have recorded as many bluegrass award-winning albums as myself. ... Bluegrass is what we make it. Some say the Dobro is not a bluegrass instrument because Ralph (Stanley) has never had one. Drums were an acoustic way before the banjo came out of Africa!"

Mr. VornDick, it should be noted, also has produced albums for Mr. Stanley, Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent and others, with eight of them resulting in Grammy Awards.

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