This weekend you can hear a bluegrass band marking its 35th anniversary, the music of ’50s rock legends from “the day the music died” and two amazing Elvis Presley and Celine Dion tribute artists.
The Lonesome River Band will be returning to the Imperial Theatre for the first time in 13 years to perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, for the Morris Museum of Art’s Budweiser True Music Southern Soul and Song series.
Tickets are $15, $23 and $28 and can be bought at the box office, 745 Broad St., by calling (706) 722-8341 or visiting imperialtheatre.com.
Kevin Grogan, Morris Museum of Art executive director and organizer of the series, managed to substitute the band quickly when The Boxcars, originally booked for the date, broke up.
The Lonesome River Band, an even better known group to bluegrass fans, had last performed for the Morris series in 2005.
You can expect the band to perform songs from their latest album, Mayhayley’s House, released last June. The title song is about Mayhayley Lancaster in north Georgia near Franklin who died in 1955. She was a psychic, fortune teller and businesswoman known from the book and movie versions of Murder in Coweta County. In the movie, a local sheriff played by Johnny Cash visits Lancaster played by June Carter Cash to help solve a murder mystery using Lancaster’s intuitions.
Lonesome River Band, formed 35 years ago, is led by Sammy Shelor, five times International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year. Other members include lead vocalists Brandon Rickman (guitar) and Jesse Smathers (mandolin) plus Mike Hartgrove (fiddle) and Barry Reed (bass).
REMEMBERING BUDDY HOLLY: The same time and night, Augusta Amusements Inc. continues its offerings with Not Fade Away: The Buddy Holly Experience at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, at the Jabez Sanford Hardin Performing Arts Center, 7022 Evans Town Center Blvd.
Tickets are $39.50 reserved by calling (706) 726-0366 or bought at augustaamusements.com.
Portraying Holly is Jared Mancuso, a native of New Hope, Pa., who earned a bachelor’s degree in theater from Marymount Manhattan College. He also tours with his longtime friend Jared Bardugone in a show called The Jared Project.
For the Not Fade Away show, Mancuso re-creates 1950s legend Holly with assistance from musicians portraying fellow rockers Ritchie Valens (La Bamba) and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson (Chantilly Lace).
The three young stars died in a single-engine plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, on Feb. 3, 1959, along with pilot Roger Peterson; a date forever identified through Don McLean’s song (Bye, Bye, Miss) American Pie as “the day the music died.”
ELVIS AND CELINE DUET RECREATED: The TV series American Idol in 2007 offered a unique duet through technology putting together Celine Dion singing If I Can Dream with a computer-generated image of Elvis Presley who had died 30 years earlier.
You can hear something pretty close to that performance when local tribute artists Jeff Barnes and Dawn Tate present Elvis &Celine: If I Can Dream at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, in the Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center.
Tickets are $15 with 100 percent of the proceeds benefiting Safe Homes of Augusta. Call (706) 394-3916 to reserve seats.
Walter Earl Brown wrote the optimistic If I Can Dream specifically for Presley’s comeback TV special in 1968. It was recorded by Presley two months after the shooting death of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
POSSIBLE BETTER LAND IN 2018: The signature song of Presley has these insightful lyrics: “If I can dream of a better land where all my brothers walk hand in hand, tell me why, oh why, oh why can’t my dream come true?”
So it was somewhat mentally connecting after pre-dawn on New Year’s Day when I looked at the January photo on my new calendar of an American flag-decorated old building that had no identification. The photo of random American patriotic sites shows over the front door “olvin-Dade American Legion Post 527” with the first letter cut off the top left side of the calendar page.
There were three flags blowing in the wind over the building representing the Legion, the United States and the state of Ohio. Within 30 minutes of online searching, I identified the building as being Colvin-Dade Legion Post in Milan, Ohio, just south of Interstate 90 and just west of Cleveland.
The town, begun by Moravians with about 1,400 citizens as of the 2010 census, is the 1847 birthplace of Thomas Alvin Edison, whose inventions let me turn on my house lights on New Year’s Day and let me listen to my favorite recorded songs.
Post 527 has been, I learned, “in existence virtually since the start of the Legion itself” founded in 1921 with the current post commander being Diane M. Moyer.
On the post Facebook page I read an account of the post-sponsored Memorial Day ceremony noting, “It was a very special day and many people were touched by the Memorial Day service.
“From the light morning breeze that slowly waved the flags placed over the graves of our fellow veterans to the two young ladies that spoke through sorrowful tears as they told to all the short story of their brother killed in Afghanistan a few years ago, it is moments like these that make it all worth it.”
And I thought, as an active Legion member who just took part in the laying of Christmas wreaths on local veterans’ graves, that Post 527 and its members are not that different from our own local military veterans support posts thousands of miles away.
And just maybe there is a better land where everyone walks hand in hand and gets over all of this current angry political devisiveness and separating regionalism.
So, I hope you wonderful and kind readers do your part to make that happen in 2018 and bring average citizens in far off towns like Milan, Ohio, closer to our own local citizens.
After all, I can dream, can’t I?