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Digital Jam Session

DAveFrequently, The Flood gives away a free tune that can be heard online without special software or magic decoder ring. Listening is easy: just scroll this page, and click the gold arrow key play before any song description to hear it right now.

Recorded at the weekly Wednesday night rehearsals, the tracks are far from "studio quality." On the contrary, they are in the finest warts-and-all tradition of "field recordings," so they have what one listener called a decided "back porch sound."

That means that in addition to the occasional flubs and miscues in the performances (the guys meticulously craft and insert these misfires only for your amusement, you understand), you often hear in the background people chatting, laughing, whispering, rolling dice, shuffling cards, performing the Heimlich Maneuver… Because of the nature of the beast, there are times, of course, when we wish the microphone had been positioned differently or the guys had given a little more thought to a bit of harmony, etc., but despite such glitches, the tunes do capture the joy of jams and we hope you like being part of it.

(Incidentally, each free tune is also turned into the Flood's weekly podcast, Jam Logs, so if you a pod person and would rather have the week's new song delivered directly to you, just subscribe to the podcast. For all the details on that, click here.)

NOTE! If you're using a computer that doesn't support Flash (such as an iPad or an iPhone,) you might not see the gold arrow key play below. In that case, try accessing the podcast at this address: http://jamlogs.blogspot.com/)

 Preparing for Route 60 Saturday Night!.As we gear up for this weekend’s big launch of the new Route 60 rt60Saturday Night! concert series, we had a very special rehearsal last night, working on what The Flood will contribute as the show’s house band. On hand for the evening was Randy Yohe, who will co-host the monthly 90-minute music variety shows with our Michelle Lewis. You know, we are always amazed at how veteran broadcasters like Randy and Michelle are so comfortable ad libbing in front of a mike. Just listen as the two of them practice their patter for how we are likely this start the show this Saturday night.

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 Misty, Indeed. As our friend and rehearsal night rloungeegular Rose Riter noted last night, sometimes it feels like the music calls for a little smoke in the air to add a certain misty element to the room. Well, we gave up the nasty cigarette habit years ago, but we did appreciate the sentiment, especially when Doug kicked off this particular tune for Michelle’s lovely vocals.

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 Wayfarin' Stranger. Like many band, we often will work hard on a song to get it ready for a show or for a recording, Randyand then once the show or recording session is done, the song sort of drifts into the background again. A frequent comment at our weekly rehearsals after we happen to revisit a good old tune is, “Now, folks, we can’t let that one get away!” Well, we all voted that way last night when we happened back upon a Randy Hamilton special, Randy’s beautiful rendering of “Wayfarin’ Stranger.” We definitely aren’t letting this one get away.

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 The Moon! The moon was much on our minds this week, as the solar eclipse brought people out to the streets to party like pagans. In fact, we were still having lunar thoughts last night at the rehearsal, trying decide on which of The Flood’s many moon tunes to use to commemorate the event, when — as usual — Michelle nailed it.

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 Four Songs from the Taylor Books Gig! What an excellent evening we had last weekend at Taylor Books in taylorCharleston. Hands down, it’s one of our all-time favorite venues. Every time we play there, we find a fun, warm crowd, so supportive, which encouraged us this time to roll out two hours worth of all-new songs. So, for this week’s podcast we’ll do a little something different. Here’s a mini-concert: four songs from last weekend’s sweet gig. Enjoy!

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 Come Raise a Ruckus with Us in Charleston! taylorThe Family Flood is excited about rolling into downtown Charleston this Saturday night. Starting at 7:30, we’ll be playing at Taylor Books at 226 Capitol Street, raising a ruckus. In fact, we’ve even got a tune about that—this old folk song that our band manager, Pamela Bowen, recommended to us earlier this year — all about the ruckus to be raised.

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 I Almost Lost My Mind. One of the joys of this summer has been working up a Flood version of a great old InvoryIvory Joe Hunter song. For years, we’ve wanted to do this 1950 mega-hit, “I Almost Lost My Mind,” but it took this summer and Michelle and Randy’s rich and sexy harmonies to make it happen, as you’ll hear in this track from last night’s rehearsal. It’s one of the new numbers we’ll be doing later this month when we play at Taylor Books in Charleston. Mark your calendar: We’ll be there Saturday night, Aug. 12.

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 Hunting Harmonies. This week’s podcast does notessomething a little different. Thought you might like to go behind the scenes and hear what goes into the arrangements. Last night’s rehearsal focused primarily on vocals, as we spent the evening hunting for harmonies for some of the new tunes we’ve been working on. Here are snippets of two songs. Listen to the color that Randy and Michelle’s voices bring to these new numbers.

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 West Virginia Chose Me. We’re very excited about the show we’re putting together to perform in Charleston next colleenmonth. When we appear at Taylor Books on Saturday night, Aug. 12, we want to have an all-new show, featuring tunes we’ve not played in public before. It’s a challenge, but, hey, we like challenges. And it’s giving us a chance to learn some great new songs, including some classics we’ve always meant to bring into The Flood repertoire. For instance, our all-time favorite love song to The Mountain State has always been “West Virginia Chose Me,” a work created a couple of decades ago by our old friend, writer/composer Colleen Anderson. It says everything we feel about our native soil. Here Michelle leads us through our first take on Colleen’s beautiful song at last night’s rehearsal.

 Animal Husbandry. Paul Martin has brought so many good things to the band. Stellar picking. Stunning vocals. roosterA downright spooky insight into beautiful harmonies. And only recently have we learned that he also has a brilliant understanding of agribusiness and a rare — I say, I say — RARE insight into animal husbandry. Take a listen.

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 Down By the Sally Gardens ... Again. Some times a tune can have a second act. It was 16 years ago that Doug and Charlie recorded “Down By the Sally Gardens” with Joe and sallyDavid for The Flood’s first very CD. Over the past decade and a half, the old Irish tune has cropped up occasionally in Flood shows and at rehearsals, but lately, because of such rich new blood in The Flood, the song has some new attention. Listen in this rendition from a recent rehearsal how Paul and Sam share the beautiful melody line with Doug in the solo sections. Listen to Randy’s rock solid bass line and check out Michelle’s lovely harmonies with Charlie’s vocal lead. “Sally Gardens” has been reborn!

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 Can You Run? Since we finished our latest CD (“Live, In Concert”) earlier this year, we’ve been hard at work learning a whole slew of new tunes which we aim to roll out at shows later Can You Runthis summer and in the fall. One of our favorites in the new bunch is this little Civil War vignette penned by Kentucky’s young master songwriter Chris Stapleton. Our Randy Hamilton, who brought us the song, is singing the lead here, with cool harmony support by Michelle Lewis and Paul Martin. Oh, check out Doug Chaffin’s fiddling; he was born to play this tune! Here’s Chris Stapleton’s “Can You Run?”

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 Happy Birthday, Mountain Mama. We always try to take note of West Virginia’s birthday, and since last night’s ckerehearsal just happened to fall on West Virginia Day, we had to do at least one shoutout for our home state. Instead of singing “Happy Birthday” to our Mountain Mama, we chose this composition by one of West Virginia’s most favorite daughter, the late, great Hazel Dickens, and her song, “West Virginia, My Home.”

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 Darlin' Companion. To keep our cred as West Virginia’s most eclectic string band, we feel obliged to continue spoonfuldrawing material from as many diverse sources as possible, such as, in this case, the 1960s’ most electrified jug band. John Sebastian’s folk rock group called “The Lovin’ Spoonful,” which took its name from a great Mississippi John Hurt song (but that’s another story), was also quite eclectic. It drew many of its melodies and themes from early 20th century roots music, from jug band to country. The Flood has just started playing with this wonderful old John Sebastian composition, “Darlin’ Companion.” Here's where's Flood arrangement stands, as played at last night's rehearsal.

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 Friendly Ghosts. On some nights — our lucky ones — Doug and JPthe ghosts come out during our rehearsals, and one of the friendliest is the spirit of our old friend, the late great fiddler J.P. Fraley. Now, our Doug Chaffin played with J.P. for many, many years and learned scores of fiddle tunes from him. Perhaps our finest musical gift from J.P. was his teaching everyone the beautiful Pat Shaw composition, “Margaret’s Waltz.” Here, in the sweetest moment from last night, is Doug’s rendering of this gorgeous tune

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 Blue Moon Surprise. We’re so happy to be invited back to play again at Huntington’s newest music festival, the bluemoonJewel City Jamboree, down at Harris Riverfront Park. We’re set to play Saturday night at 6, but come early! Our friends Wiley Dew play at 4 and then good buddy Rob McNurlin and his Beatnik Cowboys are on stage at 5. It’s going to be a great weekend of music down by the river side! Here’s a tune The Flood will be including in our 60-minute set.

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 We're Down By the River Side this Weekend! We’re so happy to be invited back to play again at Huntington’s jcjnewest music festival, the Jewel City Jamboree, down at Harris Riverfront Park. We’re set to play Saturday night at 6, but come early! Our friends Wiley Dew play at 4 and then good buddy Rob McNurlin and his Beatnik Cowboys are on stage at 5. It’s going to be a great weekend of music down by the river side! Here’s a tune The Flood will be including in our 60-minute set.

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 We're at Bahnhof next Tuesday, May 23! We want to tell you about a special gig we have next week. We’re bahnhofthrilled to be invited to play at Bahnhof, Huntington's hottest new restaurant at 745 7th Avenue. If you've been planning to check out the venue everyone's talking about -- or if you're ALREADY a Bahnhof fan -- come on out for this special Tuesday night, May 23, starting at 7:30 p.m. Weather permitting, we'll be pickin' on the patio! If the weather gods don’t cooperate, we’ll be inside. Either way, we’ll have a ball. And you will too if you join us. We might even have a special guest. Who? The hint is in this tune! Enjoy.

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 Thinking about the Civil War. The fascination with the American Civil War continues a century and half after jennyAppomattox. We've got it too. About a year ago, Paul Martin brought us this tune -- "The Last Time (You'll See Jenny)" -- and we've been listening as the arrangement grows and evolves each week. Here's our latest take on the song as recorded at last night's weekly rehearsal. That's Paul singing the lead and everyone else helping out on the harmonies and the solos.

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 Quorum. AWell, we just barely had a quorum for last sunnight's rehearsal. Suddenly, sicknesses of assorted stripe have struck us, but as we say around here, wherever two or more gather in its name, it is The Flood, and last night we had two plus two, which is just enough for some pre-summertime fun.