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 Aaron Tippin returns to Augusta Sunday, May 4, to headline the 12th annual Day In The Country show at the Augusta Riverfront Marina on Riverfront Drive.

Aaron Tippin knows his way to Augusta

Ramblin' Rhodes column

Web posted April 25, 1997

Austin Rhodes
Special Columnist

Aaron Tippin needs no road map to find his way to Augusta.

Mr. Tippin, who has performed here at least five times in six years, returns Sunday, May 4, to headline the 12th annual Day In The Country show at the Augusta Riverfront Marina on Riverfront Drive.

Gates open at 11 a.m. with the show starting at noon. Tickets are $8 in advance at Smile gas stations or $15 at the gate. Tickets for children 10 and younger are $5.

Also on the bill will be MCA artist Jeff Carson (The Car), Asylum Records artist Kevin Sharp (Nobody Knows It But Me) and local band Shiloh.

Mr. Tippin grew up in the South Carolina foothills between Traveler's Rest and Landrum, north of Greenville. He graduated from Blue Ridge High School in nearby Greer where the highway in front of the school now is named Aaron Tippin Road.

Much of his musical influence came from listening to bluegrass legend Carl Story's program over a Greer radio station and from his brother, Emory, who fronted a Southern rock band called The New Vibrations. Emory was five years older than Aaron.

About 1970, when Emory was 16 and Aaron was 11, Emory was accidentally shot to death ``at somebody's house,'' Mr. Tippin said in an earlier interview.

``It was a shock,'' Mr. Tippin said. ``I love and miss my brother, but, when something like that happens, you either better go get in the grave with him or you go on. Times does heal most wounds.''

Mr. Tippin said his father, a professional pilot, did not turn bitter about his son's loss.

``That didn't happen,'' he said. ``It made him realize that the children he had left (Mr. Tippin and two older sisters) were really important.''

Aaron inherited his father's love for flying and earned his regular pilot's license at 15 and commercial pilot's license at 20. He briefly piloted corporate planes.

Eventually, the country and bluegrass music he loved as a teen-ager led him to a show business career.

Mr. Tippin's first appearance in Augusta was a forgettable affair in 1982 when his hard-core country band, Tip and the Darby Hill Boys, was booked into a hard rock club, Smokey's on Washington Road. The place is now the Comedy House Theatre.

The audience kept yelling for rock songs, but the only rocker the band knew was Eric Clapton's Cocaine. So, Mr. Tippin and his band played the song repeatedly for 45 minutes, with different band members taking off on long instrumental solos.

``Some of us would stop playing, go to the bar and get a drink and come back while the others were still playing,'' Mr. Tippin said. ``We weren't booked back.''

In September 1990, RCA Records released his debut single, You've Got To Stand For Something (Or You'll Fall For Anything); a chest-thumping, moralistic song Mr. Tippin co-wrote with Buddy Brock of Greenwood, S.C.

The two also co-wrote Mr. Tippin's other big sellers, Honky Tonk Superman and The Call of the Wild.

Mr. Tippin returned to Augusta as a certified country star on Oct. 16, 1991 (with Michelle Wright at Bell Auditorium). By that time he had two more hits under his belt: I Wonder How Far It Is Over You and She Made A Memory Out of Me.

That began Mr. Tippin's love affair with Augusta audiences. He has since made four more appearances in the Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, with Hank Williams Jr. and Lee Roy Parnell (April 29, 1993); with Sawyer Brown (May 18, 1994); with Mark Chesnutt and James House (Dec. 10, 1994); and with Hammer and Chubby Checker for James Brown's Birthday Bash (April 30, 1995).

Wherever he goes - including Health Central where he likes to work out before Augusta shows - Mr. Tippin has the reputation of being one of the nicest and most approachable stars.

``I have to credit Jim Nabors for that,'' he said of the comedian from The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. who once worked for WJBF-TV in Augusta.

``I met him when I was a kid and he seemed so kind. Other celebrities I met were rude and acted like they didn't have time for the fans. I vowed to never be like that.''

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Apr 24, 1997

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