Now in its ninth year, the annual Rock Fore! Dough benefit has found a new home and seems ready to rock it.
The event, held every year on the Tuesday of Masters Week, will still benefit First Tee of Augusta’s golf-education programs, but will relocate from the golf course’s driving range to the more concert-ready environs of Columbia County’s Lady Antebellum Pavilion.
Joe Stevenson, one of the event’s founders and primary organizers, said the decision was fiscal and philosophical.
Transforming a driving range into a concert venue every year was costly.
More important, he said, it helps keep the event fresh for patrons.
“It’s a very easy venue,” he said. “I really love it. I love First Tee, too. When it was set up, it was one of my favorites – just beautiful. But this makes sense.”
This year, the concert returns to its roots, boasting a bill bristling with rising rock acts and new projects from a variety of veterans. Here’s a look at the acts tapped for this year’s Dough show.
NEEDTOBREATHE. Formed as a band project for musical siblings Bear and Bo Rinehart, Needtobreathe has proven, over the past several years, to be one of the few acts to find secular success after beginning its career kicking out sacred jams as a Christian rock band.
Building on an arena-ready sound and a deft hand with an inspirational metaphor, the band has played the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, opened dates for Taylor Swift and headlined its own successful tours. Its latest release is The Reckoning (2011), a rootsy collection of songs that sounds a lot like U2 rolling through outtakes from Exile on Main Street.
GRACE POTTER. Best known for her work with her band the Nocturnals, Grace Potter has risen to prominence based on a classicist’s approach to rock music. Her songs, be it an electric party starter such as Paris (Ooh La La) or an introspective ballad such as Stars, do not subscribe to musical trends or fashions and draw from influences such as Stevie Nicks, Pat Benatar and Heart. The result is songs that feel contemporary and familiar, sung by one of rock’s most compelling young voices.
ED ROLAND AND THE SWEET TEA PROJECT. Best known for his work with the multi-platinum Atlanta rock act Collective Soul, Ed Roland recently went back to the drawing board, putting together an act that shares much of Collective Soul’s musical DNA, but feels far more intimate and immediate. Incorporating elements of power pop and classic country, the Sweet Tea sound features less heavy rock riffing than Collective Soul. Though Collective Soul always felt ready to rock an arena, the Sweet Tea Project sounds like the band you might find at the best bar in the world.
OCCASIONAL MILKSHAKE. No Rock Fore! Dough bill would be complete without some sort of Hootie and the Blowfish presence. This year, the band’s guitarist Mark Bryan will bring his South Carolina supergroup Occasional Milkshake to the event. The band, which also features members of Cravin’ Melon and the Blue Dogs, plays the sort of loose rock and roll that can only happen when talented musicians share chemistry and the desire to plug in and let the songs dictate what happens.
CAREY MURDOCK. Every year, Rock Fore! Dough taps an artist with local roots to open the show. This year, Carey Murdock will start the rock rolling. A talented writer and performer, Murdock has spent the past several years honing his craft both in the studio and on the road. The result is a musician who understands exactly how a song can, and should, operate.