Meet the 2014 AMPED Music Contest Finalists: Coriander Blue, 'Carolina'

Together less than four months, Coriander Blue is a partnership born on a music store bulletin board.


“I had just lost my job,” said Donna Jo Carroll, the duo’s singer. “And I decided that it was time to chase the dream. I had never met Brian (Pinkston, the duo’s guitar player and songwriter) before. He was literally just a name on a flyer.”

Despite being strangers when they met, Carroll and Pinkston discovered an immediate and palpable musical chemistry. Carolina, the song entered into the AMPED Music Contest, was an early result.

“It was something that started with a chorus and the vocal hook,” the relatively quiet Pinkston said. “For me, that’s usually how it works, with a chorus or maybe a riff.”

Things are moving quickly for Coriander Blue. The act recently recorded an EP at country star Zac Brown’s Southern Ground studio and is this year’s Columbia County Amateur Series champion.

With a smile and shrug, Carroll explains that the reason for success is simple.

“It’s destiny,” she said.


This year’s AMPED Music Contest finalists range in age from a young diva not yet able to apply for a driver’s license to a drummer who chooses to spend his retirement rocking. They range in experience from nearly novice to seasoned musicians who have played together for many years.

What they have in common is talent, commitment and the creative urge required to create musical moments.

Before they take the stage in front of our panel of judges at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, on the Arts in the Heart of Augusta festival’s Community Stage, we’d like to introduce each and encourage everyone to come root for your favorite.