Ramblin' Rhodes: Seasons will feature tribute artists, bluegrass groups

It’s that time of the year when artistic groups are formulating and announcing their new season lineups, and both Augusta Amusements Inc. and the Morris Museum of Art each have some great offerings.


Mike Deas has learned that his patrons at the Hardin Performing Arts Center in the Evans main library love tribute shows. So he has a batch of them in store.

The show FACE2FACE is a tribute on Friday, Oct. 21, to piano playing legends Billy Joel and Elton John co-starring Mike Santoro as Joel and Ronnie Smith as John backed by a seven-piece band.

Be prepared to settle in for the evening because this show is being billed as three hours long to accommodate all of their hits. Reserved seats are $39.50.

Michelle Berting Brett will be singing the hits of Karen Carpenter including her signature Christmas song in the show Merry Christmas, Darling: A Carpenters Christmas on Thursday, Dec. 8. Reserved seats are $39.50.

The story of Georgia’s own Ray Charles is the subject of the show Ray On My Mind on Friday, Jan. 13, featuring Augusta’s own Kenny Brawner. It will include a 12-piece orchestra and three backup vocalists portraying The Raelettes. Reserved seats are $45.

The long list of hit songs of Frank Sinatra can be heard in the show Ol’ Blue Eyes featuring Mark Randisi and the Motor City Horns on Saturday, March 4. Reserved seats are $44.

And you are hearing it here and not through the grapevine that the tribute show What’s Going On: The Marvin Gaye Experience featuring Brian Owens as the late soul music legend can be seen on Thursday, March 16. Reserved seats are $42.

Rounding out the season for Augusta Amusements Inc. will be:

Loren & Mark featuring guitar playing duo Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb on Friday, Sept. 23, ($35) playing numbers ranging from classical to country.

Annie Moses Band with the show Art of the Love Song on Monday, Nov. 14 ($39 for 3:30 p.m. performance; $49 for 7:30 p.m. show). Tickets for her one show last year sold out three months in advance.

Lightwire Theatre on Thursday, Dec. 1, with performances of A Very Electric Christmas show at 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. ($28.50 for adults, $14.50 ages 11 or younger) featuring an imaginative production that was voted a semi-finalist on the America’s Got Talent TV series in 2012.

Squirm Burpee: A Vaudevillian Melodrama on Friday, Jan. 27, ($37.50 adults, $19.50 ages 11 or younger) offering vaudeville comedy and slapstick humor in a circus-style format.

Country music star Pam Tillis, daughter of Grand Ole Opry legend Mel Tillis, on Saturday, Feb. 11 ($44).

Celtic Tenors on Tuesday, March 14, ($47.50), traditional, folk and popular Irish music.

The Four Freshmen, the ’60s-hit close-harmony group, on Friday, April 21 ($43).

Malpass Brothers on Saturday, May 13, ($35). This traditional country group fronted by Chris and Taylor Malpass has been a hit with Augusta-area fans. They perform traditional country hits of Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Porter Wagoner, Kitty Wells and Ernest Tubb and opened a tour with Haggard in 2008.

Glenn Miller Orchestra on Saturday, May 20 ($44).

All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. except the Elton John-Billy Joel tribute show which begins at 7 p.m. Call (706) 726-0366 or email augustaamusements@bellsouth.net for detailed information.

Also for the first year, organizer Deas is offering a steak or grilled Alaskan salmon dinner before each show for $25. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance of each show, and guests must arrive between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on the day of the show.


KEVIN GROGAN, executive director of the Morris Museum of Art, likewise has lined up some terrific talent for the 2016-2017 Budweiser True Music Southern Soul & Song series.

They will be:

Grand Ole Opry star Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, opens the series on Friday, Sept. 9. He has been coming to Augusta for more than four decades beginning as a mandolin player with Opry legend Lester Flatt.

The band Mountain Faith coming on Friday, Oct. 14, hails from Sylva, N.C., and features Sam McMahan on bass, Summer McMahan playing fiddle and singing lead and harmony, Brayden McMahan on banjo and singing harmony, Jimmy Meyer on rhythm guitar and singing harmony, Cory Piatt on mandolin and David Meyer on guitar, fiddle and piano and Chris Wright on drums.

The Travelin’ McCourys coming on Friday, Nov. 11, is comprised of members of Del McCoury’s band and features his sons Ronnie on mandolin and Rob on banjo. The group has featured guitarist Cody Kilby on past performances.

The Willis Clan coming on Friday, Dec. 16, features a Nashville, Tenn.-based performing family showcasing a mother and her 12 children; all of whom’s first names begin with the letter J.

Mandolin player Sierra Hull coming on Friday, Jan. 13, opened for the group Blue Highway in 2013 in the Morris series.

The Colorado-based band Hot Rize coming on Friday, Feb. 10, was formed in 1978 by Tim O’Brien, Pete Wenick, Nick Forster and Charles Sawtelle. The group added guitarist Bryan Sutton after Sawtelle died in 1999.

All shows are at Imperial Theatre and begin at 7:30 p.m. Individual and series tickets (six shows for the price of five) go on sale Tuesday, July 26, at 10 a.m. and can be purchased at the Imperial Theatre box office, 745 Broad St., or by calling (706) 722-8341 or online at imperialtheatre.com.

Ticket prices are:

Golden Horseshoe, rows A through K, seats 8–20, include two drink tickets per seat; $40 for one ticket or $200 for the series.

Orchestra and mezzanine, $28 per ticket or $140 for series.

First balcony: $23 per ticket or $115 for series.

Second balcony: $15 per ticket or $75 for series.


BILL MONROE’S ESTATE SALE: Die-hard bluegrass fans may want to be at the estate sale of items that belonged to Bill Monroe, the “Father of Bluegrass Music,” being held at his former home at 1572 Long Hollow Pike, off Interstate 65 north, near Gallatin and Hendersonville, Tenn., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 28-30. The sale being conducted by Berenice Denton Estate Sales & Appraisals contains stage costumes, mandolins, autographed photos to Monroe from other stars, household items including a barbershop chair and hand-carved wooden benches, art work of all kinds, etc. The two-story house with a detached music studio is on sale for $559,000. You can view items at: http://berenicedenton.com/estate-sales/celebrity-sale-late-bill-monroe-father-bluegrass.



Pop Rocks: Augusta, my Christmas wish list has one thing

My family often accuses me of being a difficult person to Christmas shop for. While it is true that my tastes run toward the particular and tend to lean heavily on easy-to-wrap standards such as books and records, I believe that as I get older, I’m less concerned with the item than the idea. Give me something I believe you have thought about and carefully considered, and I’m happy. The present clearly purchased at the drug store the day before is met with considerably less enthusiasm.

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