Ramblin' Rhodes

Stroll down memory lane with music columnist Don Rhodes.

Ramblin' Rhodes: County Line extends reach, opens for Craig Morgan

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Ray Fulcher’s aerator accident almost ended his musical career before it got started.

County Line includes Tyson Thaxton (from left), Alex Hintz and Ray Fulcher.  JERI ANN PHOTOGRAPHY/SPECIAL
JERI ANN PHOTOGRAPHY/SPECIAL
County Line includes Tyson Thaxton (from left), Alex Hintz and Ray Fulcher.

He wasn’t singing publicly or playing a guitar at that time.

In fact, performing publicly was not even in the cards when the accident happened to the lead vocalist of County Line, which is opening for country star Craig Morgan next week in Evans.

“I was 15 and between my freshman and sophomore years when I was working that summer on the Harlem (Ga.) Middle School football field,” Fulcher relates. “It was a dumb mistake on my part, but I let my right leg get stuck down into this metal lawn aerator that was like a plow wheel with spikes.”

Fulcher was lucky that doctors were able to save his leg in spite of the severe injuries, and the baseball-and football-playing Harlem High athlete only missed one football season.

“I almost had my love of playing sports taken away from me,” he added. “That incident taught me not to take the good things in life for granted.”

The music for the Craig Morgan concert starts at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at Lady Antebellum Pavilion, 7016 Evans Towne Center Boulevard, with opening acts being the Delta Cane, County Line and Daniel Johnson bands.

For more information, call (706) 830-0677. Tickets cost $20 in advance at various locations – see www.ladyaevans.com – or $30 at the gate.

Fulcher first started getting serious about music on his 21st birthday, just like that, when he decided to buy himself a guitar at Center Stage Music in Augusta.

While at the University of Georgia, he became the manager for the Georgia Bulldog quarterbacks, helping them on the practice field and at warm-ups before games.

He plunged more into his love of music by frequently seeing soon-to-be major acts at The Georgia Theatre, including Luke Bryan and he Zac Brown Band.

“I never dreamed of playing on a stage, but there is a little Athens restaurant called Cali N Tito’s where the college kids go for Cuban food, and they put people in a corner to play. I and another guy started playing there and wherever else we could.”

Fulcher moved back home to Harlem in 2010 and eventually starting playing with fellow Harlem High athlete Alex Hintz in a tool shed that Hintz’s father, who played in the Dirt Road Band, used as a music practice room.

“We played as an acoustic duo for about a year until Tyson Thaxton joined us,” Fulcher said. Thaxton is a 2003 Greenbrier High graduate.

Since coming together as a trio, County Line has played more than 100 shows over the past two years. Other newer members of the County Line Band are Drew Jones on bass guitar and Caleb Aiken and Jeremiah Johnson on lead guitars. They have opened for Marshall Tucker Band, Lee Brice, Dustin Lynch and have headlined a show at The Country Club Dance Hall and Saloon during Masters Week.

Fulcher works with membership sales at the Evans Fitness Club. He isn’t exactly sure about the immediate future, but he does plan to move to Nashville, Tenn., sometime soon and try his luck in Music City U.S.A.

So instead of just playing his music across county lines, he also plans on playing it across state lines.

TRIO OF HIT SONGWRITERS: The Hephzibah (Ga.) Opry at 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, will play host to a trio of Nashville hit songwriters in the Masonic Lodge building at 4391 Saxon Drive. Admission is free with a love offering taken.

Fried-fish dinners at $10 each are available beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Performing will be Steve Dean, Lisa Shaffer and Bill Whyte.

Dean’s hits include Watching You, recorded by Rodney Atkins; It Takes A little Rain by The Oak Ridge Boys; Southern Star by Alabama, Round About Way by George Strait; Walk On for Reba McEntire; and Heart’s Aren’t Made To Break for Lee Greenwood.

Shaffer, who was twice nominated for a Grammy Award, has seen her songs recorded by Jeff & Sheri Easter, The Grascals, Rhonda Vincent and Joe Nichols.

Whyte, known for his comedy writing, in 2012 was inducted into the Country Radio Broadcast Hall Of Fame. In 1991, he won the Country Music Association’s radio award for Best Large Market Personality.

LIVE MUSIC

WHO: Country star Craig Morgan with opening acts Delta Cane, County Line and Daniel Johnson bands

WHEN: 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26

WHERE: Lady Antebellum Pavilion, 7016 Evans Towne Center Boulevard

COST: $20 advance at various locations – see www.ladyaevans.com – or $30 at the gate; (706) 830-0677


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