AUGUSTA, GA - Sometimes it takes going out of town to put local things into perspective. I was in the windy city of Chicago a few weeks ago with Holly and was lucky enough to see The Avett Brothers at The House of Blues. The venue was amazing and the dinner delicious, but I have to admit, I think the band sounded better and the crowd was bigger and more into it at the Imperial Theatre last November here in downtown Augusta.

Inspired by all the activity I saw in various parts of Chi-Town, be it all the independently owned restaurants and bars, unique books and record stores, or the vast number of small retail shops, I realized that we have all the same elements here in our own little town. All we need to do is continue to grow and promote it, and hopefully the people will continue to come out and support it.

With that it mind, I am so ready to open up Sky City, and it looks like we’re getting close to the finish line. If everything goes according to plan, we will have our grand opening on First Friday, June 6, with an ’80s Night opening party. If you’ve been to the the Soul Bar on any ’80s Night the past few years, you know the extra room will be a relief to all. Come see for yourself.

Also, I wanted to clarify Ed Turner’s comments in last week’s Metro Spirit. Not sure where he got the info, but P-Funk, Sister Hazel and Less Than Jake are not scheduled to perform at Sky City at this time. Sorry about that. But a few bands that will be playing in June include The Zac Brown Band on Thursday, June 12, and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band on Saturday, June 21. Stay tuned for more details on these and other upcoming shows.

I was very impressed with the massive crowd of people that came out last weekend in support of the troops for Armed Forces Day. The fireworks display was the best I’ve ever seen in Augusta and I really liked the way they used the Riverwalk Amphitheater, the Augusta Common and the depot area between 6th and 5th streets for all the events that took place. Maybe this layout will be considered for this year’s Arts In the Heart of Augusta and Westobou Festival in the fall. We have all the facilities in place. Now we just need to use them properly.

Oxford, Mississippi’s Mayhem String Band bring their down-home bluegrass vibe back to Augusta with a stop at Stillwater Tap Room on Friday, May 30.

And, speaking of Stillwater, congratulations to Matt Flynn and his lovely wife-to-be, Terri Moore, as they tie the knot on Saturday, May 31. I swear they’ve been together almost 20 years and I can’t think of two nicer people in the whole wide world. Make it last forever!

Harrisburg’s own Livingroom Legends play their neighborhood pub, The Red Lion, on Friday, May 30, with “codger rockers” The Dew Hickies opening. Check out why Ken Stephens is considered one of the best singer/songwriters in these here neck of the woods.

Don’t forget about the Candlelight Jazz Series every Sunday night this summer at 8 p.m. at the Eighth Street Bulkhead. Bring your picnic baskets, blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy some of the area’s best jazz musicians under the stars. Big thanks go out to Karen Gordon for keeping this musical tradition alive.

“Your James Brown T-shirt makes me want to jump back and kiss myself,” said the older security guard to me at the Chicago airport. “Does that mean I don’t have to take off my shoes?” I asked. “No chance,” he replied. “Now get on the good foot.”

Oh well. It’s good to be home.

See ya downtown,