Monthly Archives: August 2014

Dynamic Duo

Coriander Blue

Coriander Blue Photo courtesy of Leena Dennison

Local talent was shining brightly at last month’s third annual Columbia County Amateur Series, and Coriander Blue was crowned the winner in the finale at the Columbia County Exhibition Center in Grovetown.

The country duo, which also infuses rock and blues into its music, is made up of guitarist and songwriter Brian Pinkston and Donna Jo Carroll on vocals. For the finale Coriander Blue covered Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” and performed an original song called “Carolina.”

“We love being able to share our original music with everybody. It’s humbling to know that people are connecting with our music, and we couldn’t have done it without our fans,” says Brian.

The Top 8 performers from the Amateur Series preliminary rounds competed in the finale. Other finalists included solo vocalists Callie Adcox and Jamiah Hudson, solo musicians Brian Kaye and Davey Marana, spoken word artist Dedric Roberts and bands The Tandem, which finished in second place, and Grace Project.

The winners received $1,000 and the chance to appear before the producers of “America’s Got Talent” or “The Voice.” 

“We’re trying to get to Nashville to record some music,” Brian says. “We think this will help jumpstart our career and get our local fan base going to push us.”

Coriander Blue, which has only been together since May, also won the 2014 Country Showdown in Lancaster, South Carolina in June.

Good Sports


Wildwood Games Columbia County GeorgiaRunners and cyclists will have a new way to test their mettle with Columbia County’s inaugural Wildwood Games sports festival on Saturday, August 23 and Sunday, August 24.

The multi-sport event will feature marathon mountain bike races, trail running races and an outdoors expo. The bike races on Saturday will cover distances of 50 kilometers and 100 kilometers. The shorter race will take place primarily on Bartram Trail. It will start at Wildwood Park, head toward the West Dam area and end at Wildwood Park.

The longer option will include Bartram and Keg Creek trails, Mistletoe State Park trails and some connector roads. This race will serve as a test run for the proposed route for the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships, which will take place here in 2015 and in 2016.

“The test event will help us make sure that the course is acceptable to the athletes and presents them with the right challenges, and it will give the agencies and groups that have to pull it together a chance to be sure it is successful, safe and well-organized,” says Randy DuTeau, the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director.

Bartram Trail also will be the site of the trail running races, which will includes distances of 50 kilometers, 26.2 miles, 13.1 miles and 10 kilometers. The courses will feature a mix of single-track trails and jeep service roads.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase what we have, and we want to make this a go-to annual event in the region for years to come,” DuTeau says.

Next year the Wildwood Games potentially will add distance open-water swimming in Clarks Hill Lake, a disc golf tournament at the International Disc Golf Center and an expanded festival with live music and a larger outdoors expo.

For more information visit

Making Music


Augusta Amusements New West Guitar TrioAugusta Amusements is bringing an abundance of talent to Columbia County with its lineup of performers for 2014-15. While some acts such as Lightwire Theater and Al Stewart are returning for repeat performances, others are visiting the area for the first time.

The season kicks off Friday, August 8 with the classic jazz trio, New West Guitar Group. The group, which combines the acoustic and electric guitar to create its signature sound, will perform popular covers and original music. Tickets are $25 and $30.

The Malpass Brothers will perform Saturday, August 23. Chris and Taylor started playing guitar as young boys when their grandfather taught them songs by country music legends such as Hank Williams Sr., Merle Haggard, Porter Wagoner, Kitty Wells and Ernest Tubb. They also have opened for famous musicians such as Haggard and Willie Nelson. Tickets cost $27.50 and $32.50.

The entertainment continues in September with Frank Vignola on Friday, September 5 and Janis Siegel, An Evening of Ella Fitzgerald, on Thursday, September 11. Vignola has been the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Wynton Marsalis, the Boston Pops and guitar legend Les Paul, who named Vignola to his “Five Most Admired Guitar List” for the Wall Street Journal. Tickets to  his performance are $30 and $35.

Nine-time Grammy winner Janis Siegel sang lead on some of the biggest hits by Manhattan Transfer, and she still tours with the group and with her own band. Since 2003 she has appeared in a number of tributes to Fitzgerald, her music idol. Tickets to see her are $30 and $35.

All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. at Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center in Evans. Season packages for multiple shows are available. For more information visit or call 706-726-0366.

Bottoms Up


Buzz-Beerfest logoCraft beer lovers can tantalize their taste buds at the inaugural Augusta Beerfest this month. More than 30 of the Southeast’s most popular craft beer breweries will offer samples at the event. 

Festival-goers must be at least 21 years old to attend, and the ticket price includes a souvenir cup as well as beer samples. Local food trucks also will provide food for purchase. The event will feature an afternoon and an evening session.

If You Go:
What: Augusta Beerfest
When: Noon – 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Saturday, August 16
Where: Bell Auditorium
How Much: $30 in advance (available at; $35 at the door
More Info: