Ramblin' Rhodes: Blue Highway makes stop at Imperial Theatre for Southern Soul & Song

Mandolin player Sierra Hull was nominated for 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association Mandolin Player of the Year, her sixth nomination for the title.

The bluegrass music band Blue Highway returns to Augusta with guest artist Sierra Hull for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at the Imperial Theatre.


Tickets for the Morris Museum of Art’s Budweiser True Music Southern Soul & Song series presentation are $27 for main floor and $22 and $15 for upstairs.

Call the box office at (706) 722-8341 or order online at imperialtheatre.com.

Blue Highway has been around since New Year’s Eve of 1994 with the same band members: Jason Burleson (banjo, guitar, mandolin), Rob Ickes (Dobro), Shawn Lane (mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Tim Stafford (guitar, vocals) and Wayne Taylor (bass, vocals).

Their current and 10th CD is Sounds of Home, which includes 11 original numbers.

Tennessee-born mandolin player Sierra Hull, now 22, gave this career advice to the mandolincafe.com Web site, “I guess my biggest advice would be to keep having fun. I mean, having fun is the only thing that will make you want to continue to get better and better.

“When a lot of people start playing really young, I think they can find themselves burnt out by the time they are in their late teens. I’d just say, dream big, but take it slow and never let anything get in the way of having fun.”


PIONEER DAY IN LINCOLNTON, GA.: Don’t forget about the 17th annual Pioneer Day at the Lincoln County Historical Park, 147 Lumber St. (near the city cemetery) in Lincolnton, Ga., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23.

I have to admit that I have passed within a couple of blocks of that park more times than I can count and didn’t even know it was there until a few weeks ago when I spoke to the local historical society that operates the park.

The complex has many notable buildings moved to the site including a former doctor’s office, cotton gin, grist mill and smokehouse plus a covered music pavilion dedicated to The Lewis Family of Lincoln County, known across America as “The First Family of Bluegrass Gospel Music.”

For questions about Pioneer Day, call the society’s president, Gary Edwards, at (706) 831-9556.


OKA’CHAFFA & ERYN’S FESTIVALS: If you didn’t get to experience last weekend’s two great music and arts festivals, then it was your loss.

Both the second annual Oka’Chaffa Indian Festival at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park and the sixth annual Eryn Eubanks & The Family Fold Music Festival at the Kroc Center really were a lot of fun.

And both honored our nation’s military veterans.

Flo Carter and her daughter, Cookie Dodson, brought down the house at the Kroc Center singing a tearful version of Lee Greenwood’s God Bless The U.S.A. to a standing audience.

And military veterans and first responders got to dance with Native Americans in a drum-beating tribute at the Oka’Chaffa festival.

Both festivals had many memorable performances with lots of unique personalities.

There was some talk of moving the Oka’Chaffa festival to the New Lock & Dam park just up the road from Bush Field Airport. That’s where the barbecue cooking/country music Lock & Ham Jam was held for several years.

And there was some talk of moving Eryn’s festival to a different weekend so as not to be in competition with the Oka’Chaffa festival.

Either way, please pay attention to when they are next held because both overwhelmingly are worthy of your support.

Carter, by the way, will be talking about her 60 years of local television performances and will be singing some songs at the Beech Island (S.C.) Historical Society meeting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, at 144 Old Jackson Highway.


SHARON JONES IN MACY’S PARADE: Augusta native and local resident Sharon Jones will be riding on the Delta Air Lines float with her band The Dap Kings in the 87th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade which begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 28.

The Web site macysinc.com notes: “Visitors flying on New York’s largest airline from one of 122 destinations Delta serves should head to the city’s largest and most famous urban oasis – Central Park – to get the quintessential New York experience.

“After seeing the real thing they can fully appreciate the intricate recreation of the park’s Gothic Bridge, vintage streetlights, illuminated Christmas trees and fresh-fallen snow that set a magical tone on the Winter Wonderland in Central Park float. The float will come to life with the holiday sounds of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings.”

If you haven’t seen Jones’ animated video of her new Dap Tone Records single Retreat, check it out as it already has more than 60,000 youtube hits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrOYkHjdpdM.


BOSTONIAN TOM McBRIDE: Boston native Tom McBride will perform at M.A.D. Studios, 307 11th St. (upstairs), on Monday night, Nov. 18, with Dallas Duff opening at 7 p.m. McBride studied vocals at a conservatory in Nashville, Tenn. His grandfather, Francesco Albanese, who died in 2005, was a famous Italian lyric-tenor opera singer who performed with Maria Callas. McBride’s latest and third CD, Morning in Glen Burnie, is described on his Web site as an “old-school blend of Americana, blues, soul and pop/rock.” McBride’s claim to fame includes performing at Willie Nelson’s 2000 Farm Aid Festival in Nassau, Va.