Ramblin' Rhodes: Travelin' McCourys, Gaither Vocal Band headed to town

The Morris Museum of Art continues its Budweiser True Music Southern Soul & Song series with The Travelin’ McCourys at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at the Imperial Theatre.

 

Part of the group consists of the sons of bluegrass superstar Del McCoury: Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo.

Tickets at $28, $23 and $15 can be purchased at the Imperial Theatre box office, 745 Broad St., by calling (706) 722-8341 or online at imperialtheatre.com.

Ronnie has been playing with his dad since 1981 and Rob since 1987. The offshoot of their father’s band started about six years ago to allow their father in his 70s to slow down on touring.

Also in The Travelin’ McCourys are Cody Kilby on guitar, who spent 14 years in Ricky SkaggsKentucky Thunder band; Jason Carter on fiddle (both Kilby and Carter play in Del McCoury’s band) and Alan Bartram on bass. Bartram previously played with The Kenny & Amanda Smith Band.

Jerry Garcia, founder of The Grateful Dead, saw Bill Monroe & the Bluegrass Boys for the first time in California in 1963 with Del McCoury playing guitar.

He later remarked, “Man, that’s my picture in my mind of the Bluegrass Boys.”

The McCourys last May hosted their 10th annual Delfest music festival in Cumberland, Md.

 

BILL GAITHER BACK THIS WAY: The world famous gospel music impresario Bill Gaither will be back in Augusta with The Gaither Vocal Band at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11, at Bell Auditorium.

Besides Gaither, band members are David Phelps, Wes Hampton, Adam Crabb and Todd Suttles.

Guest artists will include Charlotte Ritchie, Gene McDonald, Matthew Holt and Kevin Williams.

Tickets are $71, $37 and $27; $24 for ages 60 and older and 12 and younger.

 

BOBBY VEE REMEMBERED: What a wonderful entertainer and what a wonderful guy Bobby Vee was. He died Oct. 24 at the age of 73 in Rogers, Minn., his native state.

I got to spend some time with him when he performed for a week in February 1972 at the Kittens’ Korner nightclub on Deans Bridge Road near Gordon Highway.

He was 28 then and had sold more than 15 million records from 25 albums (60 singles) with hits such as (Like A) Rubber Ball, Take Good Care of My Baby, Run To Him, The Night Has A Thousand Eyes, Come Back When You Grow Up, Sharing You and Please Don’t Ask About Barbara.

Vee told me Sharing You, which was authored by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, was his favorite song.

It was Devil or Angel composed by Augusta resident Blanche Carter that shot his career into high gear in 1960 when he had a chart-topping version of it. The Clovers had a hit with it in 1955.

“Singers have the same problem as actors from the standpoint of being typecast,” Vee told me in 1972 about his selection of songs. “I try to do what comes natural to me and what comes natural to me is not the music of the ’50s, although I have respect for my old hits.”

One of Vee’s most famous band members was recent Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, who under his real name Bob Zimmerman, auditioned in the late 1950s to be Vee’s piano player. Dylan at the time was working as a busboy at a cafe in Fargo, N.D.

“Bob came and played with us for two nights, but he didn’t work out,” Vee related. “We were not against him or his playing, but we just didn’t need a piano player in our band.

“About a year later he showed up in the audience at one of our concerts in Staten Island (N.Y.), but he had not made it big then. We wondered how he had managed to get so far east.”

Vee was born in Fargo as Robert Thomas Velline. His big break came at age 15 when he and his brand new band performed their first show at a dance party in Moorhead, Minn., on Feb. 3, 1959.

They had been quickly enlisted to fill in for Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) who had been killed in a plane accident a few hours earlier on their way to Moorhead.

The international attention that came Vee’s way led to a recording contract. Out of that tragedy emerged one of ’60s rock music’s greatest performers and nicest guys.

 

THE REAL PETER PAN IN AUGUSTA: The Greater Augusta Youth Theater in association with Read Theatrical will present the musical Peter Pan at the Imperial Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5.

Tickets are $15-$33 with student and senior discounts available from imperialtheatre.com.

Maude Adams was the first actress in America to perform the title role of the original play version of James M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (Or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up) in New York City in 1905.

Actress Nina Boucicault had originated the role the previous year when it made its debut in London.

It’s really cool to know that on Oct. 10, 1912, Adams performed the same role in Augusta’s Grand Opera House then located a block from the Imperial at Eighth and Greene streets.

Adams is credited with designing what is known as the Peter Pan collar and was the one who got children to clap to save Tinker Bell from dying. She performed as Peter Pan on Broadway and on tour for about 3,000 performances.

Broadway star Mary Martin, of course, created the definitive version of Peter Pan with a live television broadcast on March 7, 1955, on the NBC network.

 

ADDITION TO MY RÉSUMÉ: I can now add to my résumé Pet Show Judge after being on the judging panel for the CSRA Humane Society’s Pet-A-Fair held Sunday, Oct. 30, at Julian Smith Casino.

George Eskola, WJBF-TV’s senior digital journalist, was a great emcee as usual full of funny off-the-cuff remarks, and Dana Lynn McIntyre, news assignments manager with WRDW-TV, was excellent in tabulating the judge’s selections.

Best of all, the event raised a good amount for the commendable work that the no-kill animal shelter does every day from their location on Milledge Road at Lake Olmstead in the old city jail. Visit online at csrahumanesociety.org.

Other judges were Susan McCord, staff writer of The Augusta Chronicle, and Scott Roberts, Jordan Lee, Corry Carr and Kenna Rodgers of WRDW and WAGT TV stations.

 

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