Road Blog: Thursday November 04, 2021 - Charleston, WV
Charleston, West Virgina
November 4, 2021
We left Gabriel’s house at 10am, all loaded up for our first road run since October of 2019. I’m not gonna lie, I was excited. I’ve been on the road a lot in the last six weeks, but not with The Tucos, and that’s my preference. Gabe was driving and Bob was in the back while I took shotgun/co-pilot. It felt great to climb in and hit I-75 south and crank The Cars – Anthology and watch the sun climb over eastern Ohio. We hit Toledo around 11, Columbus around 1:30, and crossed the Sweet Tea Line over the Ohio River into West Virginia around 3pm. We also listened to Girl, Scorpions, L.A. Exes, and a couple other things Gabe played that I can’t remember. Karen Jacobsen - The GPS Girl, our trusty GPS, led the way, and by 4pm we were zig-zagging towards our AirBB. I commented somewhere in rural Ohio how impressed I was at the gas mileage we were getting, only to learn a couple hours later that we had a quarter tank LEFT, not a quarter tank USED. I guess that’s what happens when you haven’t driven the van in two years. We pulled into an Exxon with 12 miles left `till empty, and that’s too close for comfort. Not happy that I let that one get away from me.
Our AirBB sits in a big lot across a flowing creek down a narrow, winding mountain road about 20 minutes northeast of Charleston in a deep holler surrounded on both sides by massive ridges. It’s a guesthouse with a couple bedrooms, one with two sets of bunk beds, and a big main room with a pool table and a long bar/dining counter. The heat was off, and it was COLD in there, so we promptly cranked it, and enjoyed an hour or two of downtime to shake off the drive and battle with the shaky-at-best cell signal and non-existent wi-fi before we headed into town.
We put on (sorry, I put on) Ted Nugent’s first solo album and we headed back across that creek and down that winding mountain road, back to the expressway and into the city where we had dinner at Black Sheep Burritos & Brews, a three-restaurant chain – two in Huntington and one in Charleston (I played one of the Huntington locations on a solo run a couple years ago). The wild mushroom soup was righteous, and the `Baaa’d Ass` burrito with ground ribeye was pretty good too. They had a good selection of local beers and it was a nice, laid back, filling dinner. I was glad I got the `Baaa’d Ass` Habanero Death Sauce on the side (I guess that’s why the call it `Baaa’d Ass`) and used it sparingly.
The Empty Glass is a dive bar (in the best sense) down a dark street near the Capitol building. It’s got a bar running along one side, a stage against the back wall with a mirrored mosaic on the wall behind, long, roadhouse-style tables, and a patio through a door on the opposite wall. We’ve played here twice, and we were batting .500 before last night. One time was awesome, once was rough. That first time, the rough one, was the setting for my song `Torn` from our “Don’t Worry…” record. We were expecting an 8pm load-in and a 9pm set, but as these things sometimes go, the sound guy got there around 9:15 and we went on around 9:45. Rock and roll doesn’t always operate on a clock folks, and you gotta roll with it and just let it happen. We played pretty well, considering our general lack of preparedness, and had a small crowd cheering us on. It wasn’t the disaster our first show there was when we were up against a Garth Brooks concert up the street (seriously, this is my competition?) but it wasn’t the great show we played in 2019 with The Whiskey Daredevils, so we’ll call it a wash and say we’re still batting .500 after three shows.
After our set, a local band called ThreeChill played – 2 keyboards and a drummer playing R&B covers and originals. They were super good and fun, brought out a good crowd, and sounded fantastic. It’s not a bill you would expect us to be on, not sure it was a great blend of genres, but sometimes those are the most interesting nights, and we welcome the diversity. Especially on a Thursday, and in this day and age, when everything is weird as people slowly emerge from the pandemic, you gotta get creative sometimes. We had a good time watching their set! We sold some merch, had some drinks, and talked to our friends Dan and Dawn who made the trek down from the Cleveland area to see us.
We loaded out around 12:30am, dropped Dawn and Dan off their semi-swanky hotel on the banks of the Kanawha River, and headed back down that winding, mountain road and across that creek to our AIRBnB, which was now as hot as Hades inside with the heat blasting for 7 hours. I paused before we went in and told the boys to look up at the stars – because we don’t get to see a sky like that in the city back home, and when you get that chance, you should take it. It was a cold but beautiful night and the stars between the ridges were awesome. We had a small nightcap, engulfed what was leftover from our burritos, and crashed out around 2am.
I was first up this morning at 7:30am. I made a pot of coffee and set up to write my blog. It’s a beautiful morning in the holler, but it’s crispy cold with a light frost on the ground and a thick, stagnant column of white smoke not going anywhere from the chimney of the house a couple hundred yards away. A small whitetail deer just walked by (“Mister deer, where are you going?” – inside joke) and looked curiously at me as I took his photo from the window before meandering on.
Today we drive to Knoxville where we’ll play the Preservation Pub tonight with Jon Worthy and The Bends, another room we have a lot of history in. It’s a slightly shorter drive, and a much later show, we’re playing from 11:30pm-2:30am so rest up boys, it’s gonna be a long one. Thanks again to The Empty Glass for having us back and too Three Chill and their crowd for being so nice to us last night in Charleston.