Rock music

SWEET HOME AUGUSTA: SOUTHERN ROCK MUSIC RETURNS TO THE MILLER WITH GOIN ‘SOUTH BAND

By Don Rhodes

The restored historic Miller Theater on Broad Street will come back to life at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 10, when blues-gospel singer Ryan Abel and his musicians return for their “Goin ‘South” concert.

Classic southern rock songs will be recreated almost note for note by bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Blackfoot, The Outlaws and more.

This is especially a suitable location to host the show since Florida-based Lynyrd Skynyrd performed late-night concerts at 11:30 p.m. at the Miller in March 1973 after the regular film screenings.

And another classic southern rock band, .38 Special, are due to perform on August 27 at the Miller a few weeks before the Goin ‘South event.

Tickets sold out quickly, ranging from $ 44 to $ 79. Buy online at millertheateraugusta.com.

The opening for Goin ‘South will be Aiken’s Kenny George Band and Augusta’s Sweet Burrito Band.

Abel, who twice won Augusta Magazine’s Male Vocalist of the Year award, has been singing in the Augusta area since he was a teenager in Christian rock groups.

Fans of Ed Turner and the No. 9 Band enjoyed Abel displaying his powerful voice in the Imperial Theater during No. 9 sold-out shows, including his 2014 appearance with legendary rhythm & blues star Sharon Jones as guest artist.

Abel was one of those who spoke to North Augusta City Council in November 2020, urging the government body to name the city’s new waterfront amphitheater adjacent to SRP Park after Jones, who has spent his last five years to live in North Augusta. That same evening, council voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Abel and his band Goin ‘South had already become the first act to perform in the new unnamed amphitheater the previous month in October 2020.

In addition to his performances Goin ‘South and No. 9, Abel has also been seen in various local musicals, including The Augusta Players 2015 featuring “Shrek, The Musical” performed by the late Richard Justice with Abel in the title role.

At the helm of Goin ‘South is Keith Jenkins, another popular musician who toured the world for 12 years with James Brown’s Soul Generals as lead guitarist and conductor. Jenkins was also for several years the “maestro” of the James Brown Academy of Musik Pupils.

The Goin ‘South group includes many other musicians with local followers as well as familiar backing vocalists Jaycie Ward and Brooke Lundy.

Ward has opened for a ton of major stars, including Vince Gill, Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town and Martina McBride, and has sung the national anthem countless times at major events across the CSRA.

Lundy recorded backing vocals at major artist sessions in Nashville and New York. Local fans initially liked her performances with local theater companies, including playing Dorothy in the Augusta Players’ version of “Wizard of Oz” in the Imperial.

Don’t expect to hear “Sweet Home, Augusta” instead of “Sweet Home, Alabama” at the Goin ‘South concert. But you’ll be transported back in time to the 1970s with classic southern rock songs recreated by incredible southern rock performers from the region.