By Dean Poling — VALDOSTA — The Valdosta Daily Times has hosted several military bands through the years: Brass bands, jazz bands, big-band groups, singing organizations, bands that play for the President when not playing in communities across the U.S. and the world.
But a military bluegrass band?
Yes, Country Current United States Navy Band is a bluegrass-country group. The Valdosta Daily Times sponsors a free, public Country Current concert on Sept. 10 at the Valdosta High School Performing Arts Center. Prospective audience members must contact The Valdosta Daily Times in advance to secure tickets.
“The Valdosta Daily Times has long been a supporter of our nation’s military men and women as well as the arts in our region,” says The Valdosta Daily Times Publisher J.H. “Sandy” Sanders. “It is an honor to bring entertainment such as the Navy’s Country Current to our readers and the community.”
The Navy’s premier country music group, the band was assembled in 1973, dedicated to country and bluegrass music. Chief Musician Keith M. Arneson directs Country Current and is the group’s banjo player.
In addition to playing its own shows, the seven-member group has performed with country stars such as Charlie Daniels, Boots Randolph, Vince Gill, and David Ball. Country Current plays everywhere from NASCAR events to Branson, Mo., to the Grand Ole Opry and, now, Valdosta. The group has also played for every president since Richard Nixon.
Listening to “Country Current Live,” the group’s most recent CD, gives a taste of the show and emphasizes the talent. The album includes performances of songs like Merle Haggard’s “Big City” and bluegrass founding father Bill Monroe’s classic “Molly and Tenbrooks” to Kris Kristofferson’s bittersweet “For the Good Times,” a rambling cover of The Eagles’ “Take It Easy,” a full-tilt rendition of Boxcar Willie’s “Six Days on the Road” as well as a rousing rendition of Lee Greenwood’s patriotic anthem, “God Bless the USA.”
Country Current combines familiar country and bluegrass songs with ones that some listeners may not recognize but wouldn’t mind hearing again. Tight instrumentation, dead-on vocal harmonies, and inspired performances mark the 19 tracks on this album, and reflect the energy of Country Current’s 90-minute shows.
The late country star Roger Miller said of Country Current, “You better have your stuff together to follow a group like this.”
The Valdosta Saily Times is also planning to sponsor the Navy’s jazz encore in a November concert.
To hear Country Current, visit our Web site valdostadailytimes.com and click on Video Player.
The Valdosta Daily Times presents Country Current, the Navy’s premier country-bluegrass band.
When: 7:30 p.m., Sept. 10.
Where: Valdosta High School Performing Arts Center, off North Forrest Street.
Admission: Free and open to the public; HOWEVER, ADVANCED TICKETS ARE A MUST.
Tickets: To get tickets look for Country Current advertisements in The Valdosta Daily Times. Fill out the information. Send the ad along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to The Valdosta Daily Times, attention Julie Killion, and tickets will be sent to you on a first-come, first-serve basis. Tickets are limited to four per request.