Ramblin' Rhodes: The Grascals bookend bluegrass dates in Newberry, Augusta

The Grascals will perform bluegrass in Newberry this week and Augusta next week.

The award-winning bluegrass music band The Grascals returns to the area to perform Thursday, Oct. 10, at Newberry (S.C.) Opera House and next week on Friday, Oct. 18, at Imperial Theatre in Augusta.


Past local performances by The Grascals have included the Aiken (S.C.) Bluegrass Festival and The Lewis Family’s Homecoming and Bluegrass Music Festival in Lincolnton, Ga.

In 2006 and 2007, The Grascals won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.

Terry Eldredge, who co-founded the band in 2004, joined The Osborne Brothers bluegrass duo (Sonny and Bobby Osborne) in 1988 and toured with the Grand Ole Opry act for 12 years.

The Augusta show date for The Grascals will include guest artist Audie Blaylock.

Blaylock of El Paso, Texas, in 1982 at 19 joined bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin and his Sunny Mountain Boys band and toured with that group for nine years.

He also has performed with Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, the Lynn Morris Band and also Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper.

Tickets for the Newberry show are $27.50. Call (803) 276-6264 or order online at newberryoperahouse.com.

Tickets for the Augusta show in the Morris Museum of Art’s Budweiser True Music Southern Soul & Song series are $15, $22 and $27. Call (706) 722-8341 or order online at imperialtheatre.com.


COMING BACK STRONG: You don’t get inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, the Country Music Association’s Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame unless you are really special.

And there is no doubt that Georgia native Brenda Lee is something really special.

She is set to perform at 3 and 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at Newberry Opera House. Tickets are $45 and $40 for the 3 p.m. show and $40 for the 8 p.m. show.

Her show business career took off when she was discovered in February of 1956 at Augusta’s Bell Auditorium by country superstar Red Foley, father-in-law of pop music star Pat Boone.

Lee was signed to Decca (later MCA) Records and proceeded to sell more than 100 million copies of classic hits like Break It To Me Gently, All Alone Am I, Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree, Jingle Bell Rock, I’m Sorry, Emotions, Sweet Nothings and Too Many Rivers.


BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH ANTHEM: If there is any song that should be the official anthem for October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it should be Whitney Houston’s classic hit recording of The Greatest Love of All.

Many people don’t know that the song by Michael Masser and Linda Creed came about with Creed writing the lyrics in the midst of her own struggle with breast cancer. The song originally was recorded by George Benson for a film tribute of boxer Muhammad Ali.

It describes her feelings about coping with the great challenges she was facing. Creed lost her battle and died in April of 1986 at the age of 37 just as her song was becoming an international hit.

The video of the song filmed in the historic Apollo Theater in New York City’s Harlem area always has been one of my favorites.

Some of the powerful lyrics go, “I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows. If I fail, if I succeed, at least I live as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity because the greatest love of all is happening to me. I found the greatest love of all inside of me. The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.”


GOODBYE RAMBLIN’ TOMMY SCOTT: One of my all-time favorite people and truly unique entertainers has been Tommy Scott who died Sept. 30 at age 96 from complications following injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Aug. 10.

Scott performed as “Ramblin’ Scotty” with “Smilin’ Bill” on Augusta radio station WRDW-AM in 1941. Smilin’ Bill was John Ray “Curly” Sechler (also Seckler), fresh from the band of Bill Monroe’s brother, Charlie Monroe.

Sechler would go on to become a Foggy Mountain Boy in Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ band and later perform with Flatt’s Nashville Grass band.

Scott became known internationally from his roles in western movies, his Old Time Medicine Show that crisscrossed America and Canada for 65 years and for his unique Toccoa, Ga., area, Japanese-inspired house featured on cable TV shows.

Among his many song compositions is the prophetic You Can’t Stop Time, which was the title of a CD by The Lewis Family of Lincolnton, Ga.

Scott was interviewed over the years by Johnny Carson, Walter Cronkite, Oprah Winfrey, Charles Kuralt, Jane Pauley, Ralph Emery and David Letterman.

The guest stars who traveled with his Last Real Old Time Medicine Show included Grand Ole Opry star Stringbean (Dave Akeman), western film stars Tim McCoy, Lash LaRue, Al “Fuzzy” St. John, Sunset Carson and Johnny Mack Brown and country singer Junior Samples.

Scott’s life story was told in the 2007 thick book Snake Oil, Super Stars and Me co-authored with his great musical friend, Randall Franks, of LaFayette, Ga., and also Shirley Noe Swiesz of Moncks Corner, S.C.

Scott and his wife, Frankie, who died in 2004 at 84, were married for 64 years. She was a singer, dancer and comedian with his medicine show.

Two days before his 90th birthday in 2007, he told me on the phone, “I’ve never had another job in my life other than playing an old guitar and singing hillbilly songs.”

That sounds like a great lived life to me.