Road Blog: Saturday June 30, 2018 - Huntington, WV
Huntington, West Virginia
June 30, 2018
We met the Kentucky boys for breakfast in the suburbs of Cincinnati, after they unknowingly booked a hotel room less than a mile from us. Jett stayed back at the hotel to get some sleep after a rough night of trying to crash in the van, and he was a hurting soldier all day long. They weren’t too pleased with the hipster café we chose, but a little placated when they realized that there was liquor available after all…then back to scoffing when they saw the $10 bloody marys. “Ten dollars?! Man, it better be f**king good.” Minks grumbled. He made a sour face and acted like he didn’t hate the excessive clam juice as much as he did. The food and conversation were good, then we parted ways so they could rendezvous with Jett and we could hit the liquor store and gas up for the drive.
Our next stop was The Party Source, a massive liquor store just over the Ohio River, near the The Southgate House Revival, where we’d played the night before. I got into a lengthy discussion about cheap red blends with their wine guy, who is a Chris Whitley fan, likes some blues and older rock and roll, and sold me a couple of inexpensive bottles he likes. I then spent a small fortune on bourbon and rye for my buddy back home Jon and me, and we headed east towards West Virginia. The AA Highway (KY Route 9) is a beautiful drive we’ve made a couple times though rolling hills and hollers and back across the Ohio River a couple times. We crossed into West Virginia and made it to our hotel in Huntington in time to check in and drop our stuff off before we headed over to the venue for some food and load in.
We met up with Jeremy Roberts and the rest of the Flat Tracker guys and a few other folks over beers on the patio as the other bands started slowly filtering in. The Kentucky boys weren’t too far behind us (again, oddly punctual), and we were enjoying the beers in the crippling heat and humidity, taking breaks to load in, set up merch, and cool off in the AC cooled venue. One dude, who will intentionally remain nameless, complemented me on the road blogs, saying "...they’re just about the perfect length to read while you’re taking a shit.” Not sure that will be the tag-line of my autobiography, but I took it as a hell of compliment. Beers were flowing, as were the war stories, with plenty of laughs and good spirits. We ate some great BBQ at one point, and before long it was show time.
The V Club is a great room, a bit on the bigger side for us. It’s a big square with a rectangular bar in the middle, a sizeable stage in the back corner, a small slot-machine hall off to one side, and a doorway out to a patio on the other. Yellow Cuss played first. I’m not sure I’ve seen them before, but I think we’ve played festivals in Lexington together, and I know their drummer M Tivis Clark from The Green Lantern Bar in Lexington. Super nice dudes, all of them, and a killer cover of Husker Du’s Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill, in a sort-of droning country style. I loved it. We played second to an ok room. The sound was killer and we had fun knowing it was the last night of our Spring/Summer tour. Minks came up and sang Hey Kentucky with us, which he did on our second album, and that was great too.
Bryan Minks and the Kentucky Sons played a great set after us, the best I’ve heard from them. I got up and ad-libbed a harmony part to their cover of Can’t Hardy Wait by The Replacements, then a couple tunes later I did the Eddie Vedder low harmony on Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World. Super fun! Bryan used my amp, then my guitar after he broke a string on his Tele, which was a treat for me as I never get to hear how my rig sounds out front, and with the great sound there, it was awesome. In our circuit there’s a lot of bass rig and drum sharing, but not a lot of guitar rig sharing. I think guitarists are a bit more uptight about their gear. I know I am. Minks is one of the few, if not the only guy, who’s used my stuff before. After The Sons, our hosts Flat Tracker played an awesome set to a great room. They’ve added a third guitarist since the last time I saw them and it sounded fantastic. After they wrapped up Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound played a full band set to a great crowd who loved it. It was a great night of music all around, and a diverse set of bands.
We were the only Yanks and felt really welcomed into this cool scene of wonderful people. Sadly, there was some drama that unfolded later in the night, casting somewhat of a cloud over things, but it didn’t really involve us and I’m not sure who wants what said, so I’m not going to elaborate. We loaded out, paid our tab, said our goodbyes, and as we were walking to the van I realized I’d lost my wallet. I had it when I paid the tab and lost it in the 10 minutes since. We scoured the bar, retraced everywhere I went in that time frame, a couple times each with Gabriel and with Patrick, but no luck. I was bummed, not only to lose some cash, a couple credit cards, and my license, but because I hate being “that guy.” It was nowhere to be found so we left word to look out for it with the staff and headed back to the hotel. There was no activity on any of my cards so we agreed to wait till morning to see what happened in case it showed up overnight. I remained hopeful that it was at the bar and someone would find it. Lights out sometime after 3am.
I rolled over around 7:30am and checked my phone, no messages from the bar, so the wallet was officially MIA. I composed myself and spent the next 75 minutes cancelling three credit cards, getting transferred from one agent to another, listening to horrible muzak, and answering the same questions over and over. I texted the news to TrooperGirl22. She was not impressed, having put up with me regularly misplacing or losing my walled for the better part of three decades now. Patty was supportive but a bit scolding too, knowing how I am not great at keeping track of my own shit, leaving things in hotels, and being a general unorganized disaster with way too much going on. I didn’t know if I should tell Patty that I don’t need another TrooperGirl22 getting into my shit, or if I should tell TrooperGirl22 that I don’t need another Patty getting into my shit so I decided to keep that one to myself. They say being in a band is a lot like a marriage, go figure. A few minutes into the first call they asked me about a $181 charge at Walgreens in Huntington, so I knew then that it was not found by an honest person. It was a bummer, but in the end it’s my own damn fault and I’ll be dealing with it for the next few days.
We hit the road around 10am, with me taking my traditional shift at the wheel on the final drive with little regard for safety or the law. There was lots of talk about he many debacles on this run – the counterfeit $5, the crappy AirB&B we bailed on, the drama at the bar, and the lost wallet, among other things that I didn’t even get into. But there were still great times – lots of laughs in the van, a lot of great music, and especially seeing our Cleveland, Cincy, Lexington and Hunting pals.
That’s it for a while folks. We’ll be spending the next couple months working on new material and figuring out how I can do a better job staying out of trouble. We’ll be back at it in September with a couple runs, then some big news about October coming soon. Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who’s been a part of these last 20 shows – xoxoxo