If you asked me to name my Top 10 favorite male country artists, I’m sure that Texas-born and reared singer Mark Chesnutt would not come to mind.
His stage performances are pretty subdued compared to Oklahoma artist Garth Brooks who is all over the stage.
He doesn’t have any “bad boy” image. And if he walked into Augusta Mall without his western hat and a regular sports shirt, I bet almost nobody would recognize him.
And yet many of my favorite songs that I identify with traditional country music are several of Chesnutt’s hits including (It Was) Almost Goodbye, Brother Jukebox (Sister Wine), Thank God For Believers, Your Love Is A Miracle, I’ll Think of Something, Broken Promise Land and I Just Wanted You To Know.
Chesnutt will be performing a lot of them and songs from his 2016 album Tradition Lives when he takes the stage at the Country Music Dance Hall &Saloon, 2834 Washington Road, on Friday, July 14. For details, call (706) 364-1862 or visit augustacountry.com.
The performance comes just two days before the 27th anniversary of Chesnutt’s first hit single, Too Cold At Home, being released on July 16, 1990, by MCA Records Nashville. Chesnutt in May 1993 and Tracy Lawrence opened for George Jones in the then-Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center (now James Brown Arena). The next year, he was back at the civic center headlining with Aaron Tippin and James House being the opening acts.
He was back in the area again in 1998 for a concert at Fort Gordon’s Barton Field with Rhett Akins, father of country music newcomer Thomas Rhett, and back again in 2002 for the annual WKXC-FM Guitar Pull with Trace Adkins and Blake Shelton.
Perhaps one of the best descriptions of what Chesnutt does was expressed by music critic and historian Robert K. Oermann for one of Chesnutt’s albums.
“Mark Chesnutt isn’t the tallest, handsomest, flashiest or richest country star of his era,” Oermann wrote, “but, buddy, he can flat out-sing and out-emote the competition.
“He brings an authenticity and authority to country music that most of his peers can only imagine. Others merely imitate the honky-tonk style. Mark has it in his flesh and bones.”
BIG ELVIS SHOW: Elvis Presley tribute artist Travis Powell will return to the area for a concert at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd. in Evans. Tickets are $35.
Powell will perform with the TCB Experience Band and will be joined by the Carolina Quartet which is opening the concert. Local Elvis fans tell me it’s going to be a full-blown big show.
Visit www.etatravispowell.com or call Robyn Phillips at (803) 804-8263 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BLUEGRASS JUST UP THE ROAD: Brother and sister bluegrass music duo Marteka and William Lake from West Virginia will perform at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Haynes Auditorium, 423 College St., in Leesville, S.C. Admission is $10.
The duo has performed on the Wheeling (W.Va.) Jamboree USA show and have been endorsed by Stelling Banjos. Owner Geoff Stelling has built a custom banjo and named it the The Marteka Challenge model after her.
For $15 admission, you also stay for the 7 p.m. reunion of local band Southern Land and Cattle Company featuring original members O’Neal Davis, Marty Carrigg, Jimmy Davis and Phil Hurd and the bluegrass gospel group The King James 1611 Boys.
There will be an open bluegrass jam session beginning at 4:30 p.m. Visit haynesbluegrass.com.
BRENDA LEE IN NORTH GEORGIA: Music legend Brenda Lee, whose career began at WRDW-TV in North Augusta in the 1950s, is back on the road and performing at 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, July 22, at the 67th annual Georgia Mountain Fair in Hiawassee.
The show at Anderson Music Hall is included in the fair’s adult admission price of $12. Children 12 and younger are admitted free.
Other major acts performing at the fair will be Neal McCoy, 2 and 8 p.m. Friday, July 21; Ronnie McDowell, 2 and 7 p.m. Monday, July 24; Larry Gatlin &The Gatlin Brothers, 2 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 25; Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, banjo player Raymond Fairchild and also Little Roy Lewis &Lizzy Long of Lincolnton, Ga., at 2 and 8 p.m. Thursday, July 27; Mickey Gilley at 2 and 7 p.m. Friday, July 28; B.J. Thomas at 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 29.
For details, go to www.georgiamountainfairgrounds.com/events/georgia-mountain-fair.
DOUG &THE HENRYS: The last scheduled concert in the 2017 summer series organized by the North Augusta Cultural Arts Council and the city of North Augusta will feature Doug &The Henrys at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 13, at Maude Edenfield Park on East Buena Vista (second traffic light from 13th Street bridge). Bring blankets or lawn chairs.
The group features prominent local musician Henry Wynn Jr., winner of the 2016 Artist of the Year award from the Greater Augusta Arts Council.
The show always starts promptly and lasts an hour. It will be moved inside the adjacent Community Center in case of rain.
J.A.M.P STUDENTS CONCERT: You can bet it’s going to be a great concert when the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils, otherwise known as J.A.M.P., perform a free concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday, July 14, at the Augusta Museum of History, Sixth at Reynolds streets.
The students study vocals, instrumentals and stage presence at the museum learning from Keith Jenkins, former leader of Brown’s Soul Generals band. The academy was started by Deanna Brown-Thomas, a member of the museum’s board of directors, to help preserve her father’s musical legacy.