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Eric Lee Beddingfield and band to perform at Retriever's New Years Eve
Eric Lee Beddingfield, above, will play New Years Eve with his band County Line at Retriever's. - photo by Special
    Statesboro’s own “Southern Man” is coming back tonight for a New Years Eve concert sure to bring some new excitement as well as reminisce about the  days when he played at several local bars.
    Eric Lee Beddingfield, who has had two songs in the Country Top 20, will  perform tonight at Retriever’s for a down-home party that will ring in the New Year.
    Newcomers to the area may not remember Beddingfield and his band County Line, who had their humble beginnings right here in the Boro. Beddingfield got his real start when he won a radio contest in Augusta and opened for George Jones, but his “home base” was Georgia Southern University and the bars around campus.
    “If they served beer there, I played there,” he said.
    Beddingfield once played football for GSU, but injuries put an end to that and opened up a new door — Beddingfield has always loved music, and that love is taking him places.
    An album, hits on the charts, a recording with the famous Dolly Parton and the last six years in Nashville, not to mention a wife and a new baby (Eric Lee Jr. is 15 months old now), Beddingfield has had a busy past few years. The last time he was interviewed in Statesboro was while he was getting a new tattoo at Ivory Tower about three years ago.
    But it’s time, he said, to come home for the holidays.
    Beddingfield has been busy writing new material while riding on the tour bus going from state to state to promote his music. Fans at Retriever’s may hear the new “Southern Man” and maybe “The Great Depression,” which Beddingfield said he is excited about.
    “We’ll be cutting more new songs in January,” he said.
    His creative streak has been inspired by travels and missing home. That’s really the Augusta area, but GSU and Statesboro are also “home” to the rising country star.
    Playing at Retriever’s is more than just a chance to reunite with fans from the area and meet new ones, it’s a chance to be home for the holidays. Beddingfield’s wife is from Swainsboro, and he is excited at be playing in the Boro because “friends and family can come” to the party, too.
    He’ll be sure to perform his hottest hits — “Small Town America” and “Nowhere, USA” on New Year’s Eve. “Nowhere, USA” was named the number one independent record in the country, he said.
    Beddingfield and County Line will perform lots of originals, but will toss in some covers, too, he said. The guys may even try out a few new ones on the crowd.
    Beddingfield cut a new management deal last fall and will shop for a new record deal soon. “It’s kind of scary, but really exciting,” he said.
    For the fans who know Beddingfield, he may have been in Nashville for the past six years, but he’s still the same guy who played around town back in the day, and he’s coming home to party.
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