Ramblin’ Rhodes: Concerts feature latest from Davis, Collins on dulcimer – Entertainment – The Augusta Chronicle


North Carolina musician Joe Collins and South Carolina musician Patrick Davis have two special offerings over the next two Fridays.

First up is Davis who has been coming in and out of Augusta for several years at local nightclubs and other venues.

Davis and his Midnight Choir band will perform songs from his new CD, “Six String Dreams,” at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, at Enterprise Mill, 1450 Greene St.

Admission is $25 (200 tickets available) but $75 also will get you a signed copy of the album, meet with the artist and a taste of Davis’ “Whiskey Jam Whiskey.” Buy at the door or patrickdavis.com or bandsintown.com.

More than 70 of his songs have been recorded by artists such as Jimmy Buffett, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Jewel and others.

Davis, born in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and reared in Camden, S.C., now lives in Nashville, Tenn.

He has been a fierce supporter of the University of South Carolina and has been working on his new CD for a year; recording it with his 11-piece Midnight Choir band.

Augusta fans will be among the first to hear Davis perform songs from the new album which officially is being released in February.

He also is having a pre-release concert the night before on Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Wolfe Street Playhouse in Charleston.

Among his other accomplishments, Davis is co-founder of Whiskey Jam Whiskey with South Carolina’s world-famous Firefly Distillery located on Wadmalaw Island.

THE FIRST FRIDAY in February will find The Garden City Strummers hosting a free mountain dulcimer concert by Joe Collins at 7 p.m. Feb. 7, in the Kroc Center, 1833 Broad St. Details can be learned by calling Bill Hill at (706) 339-0366 or Debbie Hill at (706) 339-7590.

The dulcimer may be one of the most mysterious of American instruments with no one particular famous artist identified with them like Ricky Skaggs or Rhonda Vincent with the mandolin; Roy Acuff with the fiddle; or Chet Atkins with the electric guitar.

There are basically two kinds of dulcimers: the Appalachian or Mountain Dulcimer played holding on the musician’s lap or the Hammered Dulcimer played on a stand using tiny hammers.

While he may not be recognized walking down Broad Street in Augusta, Collins is nationally and internationally known especially since winning the 2007 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion in Winfield, Kan.

In addition to performing concerts and teaching dulcimer workshops in several countries, Collins also hosts his own Dulcimer Festival in Shelby, N.C., the hometown of banjo playing legend Earl Scruggs. The 21st annual Mid-Winter Dulcimer Festival will be held March 7 at the LeGrand Center in Shelby featuring 24 workshops, lunch and two concerts.

“It’s a small, one-day festival and I’d like to keep it that way unless I get more help,” Collins said in a recent phone call. “The first year 40 people showed up, but last year we had between 130 and 140.”

Collins noted when fans go to a bluegrass festival they hear a variety of instruments, but they go to his dulcimer festival to see just that particular instrument played in styles like Celtic songs, old time hymns, traditional mountain songs and folk and bluegrass tunes.

“People come together at dulcimer festivals because they love the instrument and it’s easy to play,” he remarked.

Collins said he has never been to Augusta and especially is looking forward to this concert and two days of workshops that have been pre-registered.

He has shared stages with Matthew Dickerson, “The Dulcimer Guy,” based in Aiken who plays the hammered dulcimer.

Besides being known in dulcimer-playing circles, Collins also is known in many religious circles. He is a professor of religion at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, N.C., and teaches adult Sunday school at Northside Baptist Church in Shelby.

Collins, like a lot of people several years ago, didn’t know what a dulcimer was when a friend came up to him with this “funny looking instrument” made of plywood.

He borrowed it from his friend (the loan lasted three years) and began using it in his own coffee house concerts and at music festivals.

“I didn’t meet another dulcimer player for 14 years,” he said with a laugh.

“None of us are rich who perform with it in concerts,” Collins added, “but in the dulcimer community among the instrument’s fans our names are pretty well known.”

You can learn more about Collins at www.jcdulcimer.com.

FANS OF THE EAGLES BAND: There are two chances coming up to hear music of the legendary band The Eagles with hits like “Hotel California,” “Best of My Love” and “Take it Easy.”

The tribute band Dark Desert Highway will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at the Emma Kelly Theater in the Averitt Center for the Arts, 33 East Main St., Statesboro, Ga. Tickets are $30 benefiting the Georgia Police K-9 Foundation. Call the box office at (912) 212-2787.

Don Felder, former guitarist with The Eagles, will perform with his band at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at the Newberry (S.C.,) Opera House. Tickets are $140-$160. Visit newberryoperahouse.com or call (803) 276-6264.

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