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Deepstep Rocks the Country Club - Atlanta Country and Western Bars

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It's taken me more than two years since I first heard of this place, but I'm finally here at the Cou...

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Deepstep Rocks the Country Club - Atlanta Country and Western Bars

  1. 1. Deepstep Rocks the Country Club - Atlanta Country and Western Bars It's taken me more than two years since I first heard of this place, but I'm finally here at the Country Club in Augusta. Even with the address in hand and a Google map printout, I almost missed the place, tucked in an old shopping center behind a Hooter's on Washington Road. The signs are faded, so it doesn't show up well while the sun's setting on a Saturday evening. The policewoman at the door checks my ID (a move always appreciated, although at my age, I doubt they think I'm under-age). I pay my $5 cover charge - accompanied by a chorus of "honey" and "darlin'" and an apology that I have to pay extra because there's a live band tonight - and walk inside. It's a typical cowboy-themed honky tonk: wooden walls, a wooden fence around the polished dance floor, three bars and the typical Western motif touches on the walls. It's 8:15 and weekend dance lessons are still in progress. Less than 20 folks are on the floor - mostly women, mostly 40s to 60s, but all trying to learn the steps through all the repetitions. I hunt for my first beer of the evening. The bartender says it's $3 for a Miller Lite (luv that!), but cash only because she doesn't have change or a credit card yet. So I take my first frosty bottle of the night and take a position along the rail next to the dance floor, close to the where the band is tuning their instruments. After the lesson ends, the Electric Slide brings out the jail bait.
  2. 2. Like most places, it's still early here, but I like to come in before the crowds so I can check out the setting and get a feeling for the mood of the place. There's maybe 50 people here and lots of tables, but more folks are filing in as show time approaches. There must be a prom tonight; limos pull up outside, and pimply boys in tuxes and blonds in sundresses pile in. (Aren't they too young for this?) But the crowd is mostly hairless GIs from nearby Fort Gordon or big ole Georgia boys, all sharing tables with their ladies. The band is called Deepstep (named for the town in Washington County that some of them call home, I learned later), and their repertoire is amazing. They open with "Honky Tonk Woman" and go straight into "The Race Is On." Any band that can open with Stones and Jones is all right with me. There's a bluesy version of Conway Twitty's "Goodbye Time" that really blows me away. The girls in prom dresses crowd the stage for "Redneck Girl" and "Little More Country than That." An older bald guy with a Confederate battle flag for a shirt comes out for the oldies. But everyone in the Country Club - which is standing room only by 11:00 - finds something they can dance to. Everyone except me. I've made the fatal mistake of coming without a dance partner, and this place is packed with couples - college kids, GIs or big bubbas who I'm not going to cross. I usually come honky tonkin' with a crowd but it's worked out that none of my usual Honky Tonk Angels can join me tonight. When the band takes a break, I hit the wall. I'd love to stay, but I've been on the road in Arkansas and now Augusta for seven days, and I'm exhausted. And a little lonely. Even with a friend in Louisiana emailing me and another sending Facebook messages while she huddles in the bathroom to avoid tornadoes, it hits me that I'm the only one here solo. So I head back to the motel for some much-needed rest.
  3. 3. But I'll be back to Augusta later this summer - and I'm giving notice now to my friend across the river in Edgefield, S.C., and my new acquaintance from the next morning that my third trip to Augusta is 2010 will not pass without us dancing at the Country Club! Â

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