Ramblin' Rhodes

Stroll down memory lane with music columnist Don Rhodes.

Ramblin' Rhodes: Take your pick of gospel or bluegrass this weekend

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Whether you like gospel or bluegrass music or both, there will be plenty of it this weekend with Jeff & Sheri Easter’s Homecoming Gospel Festival and the Aiken Bluegrass Festival.

Jason Crabb will perform May 11 during Jeff & Sheri Easter's Homecoming Gospel Festival near Lincolnton.  SPECIAL
SPECIAL
Jason Crabb will perform May 11 during Jeff & Sheri Easter's Homecoming Gospel Festival near Lincolnton.

Both will feature some of the best gospel and bluegrass music artists in the nation, among them Grammy Award winner Jason Crabb.

Crabb and Lynda Randle, stars of Bill Gaither’s Homecoming cable TV specials, can be seen at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Easters’ fifth annual festival at the Lewis Family Home Place, 1935 Lewis Family Road, a couple of miles northwest of Lincolnton, Ga., off U.S. Highway 378/Georgia Highway 47.

Appearing at the festival beginning 7 p.m. Thursday, May 9, will be Karen Peck & New River and The Little Roy & Lizzy Show and beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, May 10, will be Lewis Tradition and The Hoppers.

Jeff & Sheri Easter, also stars of Gaither’s Homecoming specials, will perform all three days.

Tickets are $15 each day. Visit jeffandsherieaster.com for details.

THE AIKEN BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL will take place Friday-Saturday, May 10-11, at Highfields Showgrounds, 198 Gaston Road.

Performers beginning at 5 p.m. Friday will be Blue Billy Grit, Hackensaw Boys and Larry Keel & Natural Bridge. Tickets are $15 advance, $20 at the gate, children 12 and younger free, and VIP Friday tickets are $45.

Performers beginning at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11, will be Doug & The Henrys, Della Mae, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Keller Williams, Keller and the Keels, The Travelin’ McCourys and Keller and the McCourys. Tickets are $20 advance, $30 at the gate with children 12 and younger admitted free.

Visit aikenbluegrass
festival.org for details and for buying online tickets.

Advance tickets also are available at Aiken Brewing Co., 140 Laurens St.; Boots, Bridles & Britches of Aiken, 1310 E. Pine Log Road; and Hotel Aiken, 235 Richland Ave.; Mellow Mushroom, 1167 Broad St., Augusta; and Boots, Bridles & Britches, 325 W. Robinson Ave., Grove­town.

Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Crabb says that he is eager to once again be on the same show with his friends Jeff and Sheri Easter.

Since he was 14, Crabb has been on the road, performing with The Crabb Family of Beaver Dam, Ky., which originally consisted of himself, his parents, two brothers and two sisters.

He went solo in 2007, resulting in his 2009 self-titled CD that won a Grammy Award for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album. He still gets together with his brothers and sisters for some concerts.

“I love singing with my family,” Crabb notes on his jasoncrabb.com Web site. “So it was always good to travel with them, and they remain some of my closest friends today. We approached our music as a team, which was effective, and I am so grateful for all we did as a family, but there was always this sense of ‘I’ve got so much more in here that I want to get out of me.’ ”

Crabb’s latest offering is his CD Love Is Stronger, which was released in March.

It was co-produced by Jay DeMarcus of the hit country group Rascal Flatts along with Ed Cash and Wayne Haun.

CLOSING THE ROOTS EXHIBIT: The touring Smithsonian Institute exhibit New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music will close Saturday, May 11, at the McDuffie Museum, 121 Main St., in Thomson.

Your final chances to see it are from noon to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, May 9-10, and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 11.

The final musical offering connected to the exhibit will be History of Country Blues at 6 p.m. Friday, May 10, with guitarist and singer Steve James, a past Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival performer who lives in Austin, Texas.

Admission to the concert is free. Visit mcduffiemuseum.com for details or call (706) 595-9923.

DON’T FORGET THE BLUES: You’re sure to get the blues and hear some great music at the 20th annual Blind Willie McTell Blues Festival on Saturday, May 18, at the festival site on Stagecoach Road outside Thomson.

Tickets are $25 advance online at tixonline.com and $35 at the gate.

Children 12 and younger are admitted free.

Performers will be Buddy Miller, Jim Lauder­dale, Tab Benoit, Eric Lindell and the Sunliners featuring Anson Funderburgh, The Randall Bramblett Band, The Revelers and Crosstie Walkers. Visit blindwillie.com for more.


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