Ramblin' Rhodes: 'Year of Georgia Music' recordings capture Augusta's musical ties

David Lee will perform as Elvis this Saturday, July 16, at the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20.

Once again Augusta’s music scene finally is getting its due recognition thanks to the good people at the Georgia Public Broadcasting System headquarters in Atlanta.


John Clark, director of affiliate development for the state’s Georgia News Network, came to Augusta in early June and taped interviews that have been edited to three minutes each and sent to about 150 radio stations throughout Georgia.

Since 2016 has been declared the “Year of Georgia Music” by the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Tourism Division, the Georgia News Network is visiting locations throughout the Peach State with significant ties to music.

Anyone can hear the interviews taped in Augusta by going to www.frn.com/gnnondemand.

Then, in both the username and password blanks, type in Demo with a capital D. Then click on the Rip N Read News link, The Year in Georgia Music – Augusta link, the “download now” link on each interview and finally the “open” or “save” link.

Deanna Brown Thomas talks about life with her father, James Brown, in one segment and about her father’s love for Augusta in another.

Sharon Jones discusses her love of soul music and her travels with her band The Dap Kings.

Nancy Glaser, executive director of the Augusta Museum of History, talks about the James Brown collection of memorabilia, which has become the museum’s most popular exhibit.

And, finally and humbly, somehow I got asked to talk about my friendship with Brown and my long-running Ramblin’ Rhodes weekly column about music.

ELVIS HASN’T LEFT THE AREA: There is a lot more hunka, hunka burnin’ love coming this way with popular Elvis Presley tribute artist David Lee heading back for another area show.

The Birmingham, Ala., entertainer, who was the 2015 “Ultimate Elvis” winner in the official contest of Elvis Presley Enterprises, will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans (Ga.) Town Center Blvd.

Tickets are $20. Call (205) 266-3030 or (803) 292-0574 with any questions.

Since 1995, Lee has been seen throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and on cruises.

Lee is said to be the model for the statue of Presley unveiled on Aug. 8, 2015, at The Elvis Presley Birthplace in Tupelo, Miss.


OUT OF AFRICA SUMMER CELEBRATION: The North Augusta Arts & Heritage Center on the first floor of the North Augusta Municipal Building is having a free birthday party from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 13.

If you miss the reception, don’t worry because the new “Out of Africa” exhibit will stay on view through Aug. 19 in the main gallery with more than 80 pieces of African art from a locally-owned corporate collection.

And in the balcony gallery is the exhibit “North Augusta City Government and Public Safety Through the Years” paying homage to the current and past mayors and the city’s fire and police departments.

Officer Mike Strauss worked for about four years collecting photos, historical data and stories for the 250-page book A History of North Augusta Police and Fire Departments.


TY COBB TALK AT NORTH AUGUSTA LIBRARY: My subject matter for my talk at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 14, at the Nancy Carson library in North Augusta, 135 Edgefield Road, will be baseball legend Ty Cobb.

Admission is free, and it will be a cool place to be at least heat wise.

Cobb started playing in 1904 for the Augusta Tourists team in the first year of the South Atlantic League’s creation and was hired to play for the Detroit Tigers in 1905.

He married Charlie Lombard from a prominent Augusta family and four of their five kids were born in Augusta. They lived in Augusta until about 1932 when the family sold their house on The Hill and moved to California.

There is nothing in the area that recognizes Cobb’s close ties to Augusta; no street, no statue, no building, no baseball team, no historic marker, nothing.

But that may change this October when his former house on Williams Street is opened to the public for the Summerville Neighborhood Association’s Tour of Homes. Stay tuned.


CHRISTMAS WREATHS FOR VETERANS: It may seem like Christmas and cool weather are impossible to think about in these 90-plus-degree days, but that exactly is what Paul “Skip” Wilk is doing.

He is heading up the local efforts of a national group called Wreaths Across America with the goal of placing Christmas wreaths on the graves of military veterans at Sunset Hill and Pineview Memorial Gardens cemeteries in North Augusta and Sunset Memory Gardens cemetery in Graniteville, S.C.

If you would like to contribute $15 per wreath or help lay the wreaths close to Christmas, contact Wilk at (803) 507-6641 or Tony Venetz at (803) 648-5885 or send checks made out to “Wreaths Across America” sent to: American Legion Post #71, P.O. Box 6036, North Augusta, SC 29861-6036.

Wilk estimates $4,000 is needed to cover the costs of the wreaths for the three cemeteries.