Half of popular duo sets out alone again

R onnie Dunn seems to be re-launching a solo career with the announcement that he will perform without Kix Brooks at the annual Country Radio Seminar at the Nashville Convention Center.


Dunn will headline the Sony Music Nashville-sponsored luncheon show March 3 with newcomer Joanna Smith.

Last year, the award-winning duo Brooks & Dunn disbanded after nearly 20 years of chart-topping hit singles and albums of which Dunn almost always was the lead vocalist.

Dunn was lead singer with his band Whirlwind when I interviewed him by phone in May of 1983. At the time, Dunn was not doing a lot of interviews.

His group then was the house band for a popular nightclub in Tulsa, Okla., called Duke's, and Dunn had just recorded a single called Written All Over Your Face that was released by Tulsa-based Churchill Records.

It would be another eight years before Arista Records' Nashville chief , Tim DuBois, teamed Dunn with songwriter-singer Brooks.

Right off the bat, they had hits with (I'm a) Brand New Man and (Working on) My Next Broken Heart .

One thing that I've been really proud of over the years is to bring readers either the first or one of the first articles about then-unknown groups such as Alabama, The Judds, Baillie & The Boys, The Oak Ridge Boys and, oh yes, a little trio called Lady Antebellum.

And, for the record, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood are not natives of Columbia County, as you might have read.

"Native," according to the Associated Press stylebook and other sources, means "the term denoting that an individual was born in a given location."

Kelley and Haywood were born in Augusta, but grew up in Columbia County and graduated from Lakeside High.

While this sounds like nitpicking, any good genealogist will tell you it is important in recording history to determine whether someone actually was born in a particular place or just lived there.

TOUGH CHOICES FOR FRIDAY NIGHT: There almost always are tough choices to hear good music live in the Augusta area on weekends, especially this Friday night, with offerings including:

- Jeff Barnes will headline his Elvis tribute show at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Grovetown High School, 2010 Warrior Way, with proceeds to benefit the school's band. Dawn Tate will sing hits from Celine Dion, and Brian Webb will sing hits from the 1950s. Tickets cost $7 regular or $5 for students. Call (706) 394-3916.

- North Augustans Carey Murdock of the NoStar band and McKenna Hydrick, who has performed at the A Day in the Country riverfront festival, will perform at 8 p.m. at The Well, 1282 Broad St. Tickets cost $5 for the all-ages show. Murdock, who plans to move to Nashville, Tenn., soon, will perform songs from his new CD Baby Don't Look Down .

- The excellent bluegrass group Packway Handle Band, of Athens, Ga., returns to Stillwater Taproom, 974 Broad St., for a show beginning at 9 p.m. Tom Baker and Michael Paynter formed Packway Handle Band while attending the University of Georgia.

The band's repertoire includes grassified versions of Madonna's Like A Prayer and The Rolling Stones' Wild Horses .

BOB DYLAN & THE AVETT BROTHERS: The Avett Brothers were a highlight of the 53rd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday night, performing with legendary artist Bob Dylan on Dylan's classic Maggie's Farm .

Seth and Scott Avett formed The Avett Brothers act in 2001 in Charlotte, N.C., when they teamed up with standup bass player Bob Crawford.

The Avett Brothers will return to Augusta for a show at 8 p.m. March 27 at Bell Auditorium. Langhorne Slim also is on the bill. Tickets cost $37 plus tax through georgialinatix.com, by phone at (877) 428-4849 or at the James Brown Arena box office.