There are many opportunities in the coming winter days to see some great country, bluegrass and golden oldies rock music inside some warm places. And here are just a few on the horizon:
BLUEGRASS BAND BALSAM RANGE: 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, Newberry (S.C.) Opera House, $40 and $45; call (803) 276-6264 or buy online at newberryoperahouse.com. This North Carolina band created in 2007 won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s top Entertainer of the Year award in 2014. Fiddler Buddy Melton, mandolin player Darren Nicholson, banjo player Marc Pruett, bass and Dobro player Tim Surrett and guitarist Caleb Smith are promoting their new CD Mountain Voodoo.
JEFF BARNES’ PRE-VALENTINE’S CONCERT: 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, Discovery Center, 405 Main St., Edgefield; $12, call (803) 637-2233; benefiting the Edgefield County Historical Society. You can pretty much bet local favorite performer Jeff Barnes will be working in some Elvis Presley love ballads in his Rock ’N’ Romance show, but you can expect some classic rock and roll ballads as well.
HOT RIZE: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, Imperial Theatre, last of the Morris Museum of Art’s 2016-2017 Budweiser True Music Southern Soul &Song Series; $15, $23, $28, imperialtheatre.com; (706) 722-8341. This band, formed in 1978, in May will be performing at Dollywood theme park for the first time and in June will be at the Telluride Bluegrass Music Festival in their home state of Colorado for the 20th time.
PAM TILLIS: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center, Evans; $44, call (706) 726-0366 or buy online at augustaamusements.com. This member of the Grand Ole Opry since 2000 and daughter of legendary Opry member Mel Tillis (you know her especially for his funny hit single Queen of Denial) will be making a rare local appearance for Mike Deas’ music series.
VINCE GILL, 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 17, Bell Auditorium, $39.50, $49.50, $59.50, $75; augustaentertainmentcomplex.com, James Brown Arena box office or call (877) 428-4849. This Opry member since 1991 began as a bluegrass artist, played in Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band and then carved out his own individual career. He is married to Augusta native and pop gospel star Amy Grant.
DAILEY &VINCENT: 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19, Newberry (S.C.) Opera House, $30 and $40; call (803) 276-6264 or buy online at newberryoperahouse.com. The bluegrass duo of Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent (Rhonda Vincent’s brother) are, along with Crystal Gayle, among the latest entertainers invited to become members of the Grand Ole Opry. Dailey played in the band Doyle Lawson &Quicksilver, and Vincent earned several Grammy Awards as a member of Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder band.
JOHN CONLEE: 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center, Evans; $35 and $25; call (800) 965-9324 or online at itickets.com. Conlee, known for such major singles as (I’m Just A) Common Man, Miss Emily’s Picture and Rose Colored Glasses, has been a member of the Opry since 1981.
DWIGHT YOAKAM: 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 3, Bell Auditorium; augustaentertainmentcomplex.com, James Brown Arena box office or call (877) 428-4849. Yoakam’s extensive output with his Bakersfield, Calif.,-influenced country rock has resulted in 25 million albums sold and 14 Top 10 singles. His latest work is the album Swimmin’ Pool, Movie Stars (remember The Beverly Hillbillies TV series theme) that contains bluegrass versions of his hits and even a bluegrass cover of Prince’s Purple Rain.
BILLY CURRINGTON: Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, Jan. 27, for this concert by Savannah, Ga., native Billy Currington at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 5, Bell Auditorium; $39.50 and $42.50; augustaentertainmentcomplex.com, James Brown Arena box office or call (877) 428-4849. Currington has relatives in the Augusta area. The show benefits the Augusta chapter of The Leukemia &Lymphoma Society.
IT’S A TOSS UP: Being at the unveiling of the Ty Cobb historic marker on Saturday, Jan. 14, I’m not sure which was the cooler experience:
Seeing the new Augusta-based rockabilly band King Cat &The Elders playing on the front porch of Cobb’s former home on Williams street in Summerville or seeing baseball Hall of Famer Phil Niekro, who unveiled the marker, singing along while the band played Dan Fogerty’s Centerfield.
You know the chorus: “Oh, put me in, Coach, I’m ready to play, today/ Put me in, Coach, I’m ready to play, today/ Look at me, I can be center field.”
Since its debut last Sept. 18 at the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival, this band keeps getting hotter. Be sure and catch them when you can.
The members are Steve Bouye, Roger Davis, Dean Klopotic, Dwight Bradham and Jeff Johnston. Davis and Johnston are alumni of Ed Turner’s Number 9 band.