Dear Diary ... The Podcast Archives: 2018

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Jacob Scarr

Jan. 3, 2018, Jacob Brings Back Some Summer Heat. Could it be that a decade has passed since Jacob Scarr started playing with The Flood? Well, let’s see — he was just 14 when he first unpacked his guitar at a Flood rehearsal; now he’s midway through his second year of law school, so, yeah, that amazing mathematics is apparently right. Nowadays, we don’t get to see Jacob more than a couple of times a year — he’s pretty busy with his work in Boulder, Colorado — but whenever he gets back to his Ohio Valley home, it is an event. Thinking back to 2007 when we met him, it was his solos on one particular song that told us this young man had sometime very special to contribute to the Family Flood, and it’s a tune we trot out again every time we meet. Now, last night was an especially UN-summer-like evening, with the temperature hovering near 10 degrees, but Youngblood’s work took this old favorite from a smoldering ember to a warm and roaring blaze. Here the 2018 edition of Gershwin’s “Summertime” with Floodster Emeritus Jacob Scarr.

Jan. 10, 2018, The Cabin Fever Breaks! The cabin fever finally broke last night! After weeks of days in the teens and brutal nights in the single digits — and even the heartbreak of having to cancel a much-anticipated gig because of ice and snow — yesterday, the wicked winter relented a little, and last night the entire Family Flood at last could come again for the first time since a deep and dark December. You know, few things are more healing that old friends sitting in a circle playing and singing together, conjuring up a right special light.

Jan. 17, 2018, Misty ... and Warm! Isn’t it interesting how sometimes on a cold winter’s day, a song can warm you up like a roaring fire? Michelle warmed up the room with this tune toward of the evening recently. Here’s the Erroll Garner standard, “Misty,” with stellar supporting solos by Paul and Doug. And listen to Randy's solid, beartbeat of a bass line keeping the tune on a slow, steady boil.

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The Flood at Home

Jan. 24, 2018, Starting the Conversation... On rehearsal nights, we’re often so eager to get started that the first tune might begin rolling before everyone gets set up to play. Here’s a wonderful example. On this particular evening, when we started at the crack of 7:30, Paul and Charlie are in their seats already as you hear Michelle and her mother coming in the back door while Doug is arriving in the front. Sam’s on hand, but is still getting out of his coat. Randy’s here, but, as the tune starts, he hasn’t quite got his bass hooked up yet. Notice how we just keep the song going longer than usual just so Doug get his fiddle bow rosined up and jump in for a chorus or two. By the end of the song, everybody’s in place and ready to rock.

Jan. 30, 2018, Norman's Smiles. It’s no big secret, but musicians usually play much better when a devoted listener is within earshot, and no one is a more devoted listener than our old friend Norman Davis. Whenever the weather outside isn’t frightful, we can almost always count on Norman slipping in the back door and settling into his reserved seat, that big blue comfy chair in the corner of our rehearsal room. And a heck of a barometer, is our Norman: One look at his face tells us if our work on a tune is paying off, and he was all smiles last night during Michelle’s latest rendering of the 1945 Buddy Johnson classic, “Since I Fell for You.” In fact, if you listen closely you’ll hear that the last words on this tracks are Norman’s.


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At Woodlands, Jan. 26, 2018

Feb. 6, 2018, Jim Sweetens Up the Jam. When we recently switched our rehearsal nights from Tuesdays to Mondays, we didn’t realize that one of the benefits would be that our old friend Jim Rumbaugh could now occasionally drop in for a visit. Last night, our harmonicat Sam St. Clair could not make the practice session, but as luck would have it, just as we were starting, Jim came by with him harps and sat down for a big helping of Floodishness. Here’s a particularly tasty bit in the evening’s offerings. Listen as Jim sweetens up one of Paul Martin’s signature tunes, his rendition of the 1969 hit by Marmalade, “Reflections of My Life,” and how Jim’s solo nicely echos Doug Chaffin’s fiddle.

Feb. 13, 2018, Remembering!... eventually.... Our old friends Linda and Wendell Dobbs once recommended a tune to us … well, wait a minute. We know the actual date! It was July 12, 2012, at the start of the Joe Dobbs book tour. Yeah, it’s weird, the things we remember, but we were doing a show and a reading in Ashland, Ky., at the Paramount Arts Center, and, during a break, Wendell said, “You know, you guys oughta try doing ‘A Taste of Honey.’ It’d be a good song for you!” Well, we did give the song a spin at a couple of rehearsals, but then, you know how it is —things happened and we got distracted and “Honey” just sort of went back on the shelf. Until earlier this month, when we got a hankering for another little taste of honey. It was as if the tune had to wait for Doug Chaffin and Paul Martin to season it with their beautiful solos, as you’ll hear in this track from a recent rehearsal. So, then, this is for Wendell and Linda. We don’t forget; it’s just that sometimes it takes us a while to remember!

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The Flood at Home

Feb. 20, 2018, Ookpik. The folk process in music is interesting. Sometimes tunes begin in the foggy ruins of time, as Bob Dylan might say — uh, DID say, actually — and then make their way into contemporary songs. For instance, Jimmy Driftwood’s “The Battle of New Orleans”(“in 1814, we took a little trip…”) began life as a fiddle tune called “The 8th of January,” which is still played by the pros today. And sometimes the folk process works in the other direction. In other words, a composed tune enters the hearts and minds of traditional musicians and takes on a false narrative of antiquity, sort “going native.” A case in point in the Canadian-American tune called “Ookpik,” which began surfacing on the fiddle contest circuit in the 1970s with rumors ancient roots among Native Americans. After all, the name itself is an Inuit word for “snowy” or for “Arctic owl.” Well, despite all those stories about this being some time-honored Eskimo waltz, “Ookpik” was written by a late British Columbia fiddler named Frankie Rodgers, who actually published it in a book of his compositions in 1965. Okay, fine, but whatever it provenance, it’s a beautiful melody, one that Doug Chaffin brought to us a few years ago. On this track from a couple of weeks ago, Doug starts the tune with his rich, warm guitar, then we hand it off to Paul Martin’s mandolin while Doug switches to his fiddle to bring the song to sweet conclusion.

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The Flood at Home, March 12, 2018

Feb. 27, 2018, Blue Moon Alert!  Wow, we have a blue moon this month. Now, the term “blue moon” generally means two full moons in the same month. (In this case, the first full moon is this Thursday and the second full moon will be on Saturday, March 31.) Yeah, I know — it’s just a little public service announcement from your friends in The Flood. Anyway, to get you ready for all your blue moon frolicking, here’s a lunar tune from last night’s rehearsal.


March 6, 2018, Songs from The Old Sod. We’re gearing up for the launch of the big second season of “Route 60 Saturday Night,” the new music variety show at Route 60 Music Co., where The Flood is the house band. The show is on the third Saturday night each month, meaning the next show will be on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. And to celebrate in style, we wanted to dust off a few songs from The Old Sod. Now, “Down By the Salley Gardens,” with lyrics by the renowned William Butler Yeats, has been in The Flood repertoire for 25 or 30 years — in fact, it’s on our first CD released all the way back in 2001 — but the tune has had a beautiful rebirth with harmony that Michelle has brought to the verses. Just listen! Remember, mark your calendar. We’ll be at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton St. in Barboursville on Saturday, March 17, for the start of the new season of “Route 60 Saturday Night!”

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At Route 60 Music Co., March 17, 2018

March 13, 2018, Route 60 Saturday Night Clebrates St. Pat's Day. We’re gearing up for the launch of the big second season of “Route 60 Saturday Night,” the new music variety show at Route 60 Music Co., where The Flood is the house band. The show is on the third Saturday night each month, meaning the next show will be on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. And to celebrate in style, we wanted to dust off a few songs from The Old Sod. Now, “Down By the Salley Gardens,” with lyrics by the renowned William Butler Yeats, has been in The Flood repertoire for 25 or 30 years — in fact, it’s on our first CD released all the way back in 2001 — but the tune has had a beautiful rebirth with harmony that Michelle has brought to the verses. Just listen! Remember, mark your calendar. We’ll be at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton St. in Barboursville on Saturday, March 17, for the start of the new season of “Route 60 Saturday Night!”

March 20, 2018, Doug's Rockin' Roots. One of the of the many joys of being together each week is sharing our common musical memories, and when it comes to Doug Chaffin, well, the man’s got a lot to share. Doug started playing music some 60 years ago with his family and then with some of those great local rock bands. Old-timers around here remember a rockabilly band called The Montereys, named a rather nice Mercury automobile. A teen-aged Doug Chaffin played lead guitar with them. Anyway, it’s a treat for us that Doug revisits his rock ’n’ roll roots when we play things like Bruce Channel’s 1950s rock anthem “Hey, Baby.” But then Doug can turn on a dime and bring out his soulful side on on the very next tune. It’s like having another voice singing along with the harmonies. Listen to how he weaves together all of the music strands to wrap up the Bob Gibson-John D. Loudermilk classic, “Abilene.”

March 27, 2018, Carless/free Love. Some nights you just don’t want it to end. You’ve been playing for an hour and a half, folk are standing up and stretching and looking at the door, and then someone says, “Aw, just one more,” and everybody grins and sits back down again. Last night’s just-one-more tune was this one, our upbeat version of that old traditional piece, “Careless Love,” though, truth be told, in The Flood’s hands, “Careless Love” always feels less careless and more carefree.


April 3, 2018, Lost Song Insurnace. There are many advantages to having weekly rehearsals, but one of the less obvious ones — even to us — is that regular practice sessions provide a kind of insurance against lost songs. What usually happens is that between the tunes on the schedule for rehearsing, someone starts noodling with a bit of melody. “What is that?” someone else will say. “Why, that sounds like …. Oh yeah! Remember…” and away we go. A case in point is the beautiful Eddy Arnold tune, “You Don’t Know Me.” When Michelle brought it to us five years ago, it became an instant hit with the band, making it onto the next CD we were set to record. But then, for some reason, the song just slipped away — until a couple of weeks ago when a bit of fortuitous fiddling between songs brought it back to our collective memory. Here’s Michelle’s take on the tune from last night’s rehearsal. Oh, and by the way, that’s the great Jim Rumbaugh on harmonica; Jim’s sitting in with us for a gig this weekend because our regular hamonicat, Sam St. Clair, is on vacation this week.

April 10, 2018, Green Rolling Hills. The Flood has had a long-time long-distance infatuation with the Utah Phillips song “The Green Rolling Hills of West Virginia” for — oh, my goodness, for 40 years we’ve loved that song! Well, ever since we first heard Bill Hoke, Susan Lewis and David Holbrook sing it in their Kentucky Foothill Ramblers days at parties back in the mid-1970s. But we in The Flood never really liked how we did the song until recent years, when Michelle and Randy brought Georgethe vocal chops to the band that could handle it. Now at last the song is a regular for us. Check out this rendition from a recent rehearsal, especially the great solos by Doug and Paul and by our visitor for the evening, Jim Rumbaugh, sitting in on harmonica.

April 17, 2018, Educatin'. We’re all eager for this weekend as we settle in again as the house band for another great Route 60 Saturday Night show. This month’s guests are two wonderful singer-songwriters — a newcomer to our stage, Emily Kinner, and a regular crowd favorite, Rob McNurlin. We’ll also have some thoughts from our resident storyteller, Dave Peyton, and Michelle Lewis will share the emcee mike with our guest co-host Paul Callicoat. Meanwhile, what is The Flood’s role in all this? Oh, it’s up to us to provide the educational content for the evening, like, well, this little history lecture we’re preparing. Join us this Rt60Saturday night, April 21. Admission is $5, and this month all proceeds go the help the good work at Branches Domestic Violence Shelter. The 90-minute show starts at 7 p.m. at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton Street in Barboursville.

April 25, 2018, Being a House Band. One of the many things we love about being the house band each month at the new Route 60 Saturday Night musical variety shows is that the gig invites us to think in new ways about the songs we choose for the evening. To put it plainly, we don’t want anything we play as the house band to compete with or to distract from the material being performed that that month’s guest artists. For instance, if a scheduled guest is planning to play jazzy pieces, we want to come back some something different, maybe some simple folk songs. On the other hand, if the guest star is offering a set of sweet ballads, we might follow him or her with a couple of raucous jug band tunes. At last weekend’s show, the challenge for The Flood was to make a smooth transition between the two guest star sets, from the wonderful, full-throated blues stylings of the up and coming Emily Kinner to the down-home country sounds of the legendary Rob McNurlin. Our choice? Well, as Joe Dobbs used to tell us, when in doubt, check in with Benny Goodman. So, here — in a track from the show — is the song we played, Billy Hill’s composition, “The Glory of Love,” introduced by Benny Goodman’s orchestra in 1936.


May 1, 2018, Someone's Always Leaving Here.... For some of us, this time of year is a little bittersweet. For instance, Pamela and Charlie spend a lot of time at Marshall University nowadays, so they get to know many bright young adults throughout their college careers. And then each spring, the Bowens watch their young friends graduate and head out into the world to start the next chapter of their lives. For the West Virginia natives among them, that diploma often comes with a challenge and a choice. Do I leave for higher mountains and wider skies, or do I stay in the green hills and the dark valleys that nurtured me? Here’s a tune from Michelle at last night’s rehearsal, a lovely Colleen Anderson composition — “West Virginia Chose Me” — that comes with a catch in its throat.

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Route 60 Music Co., May 19, 2018

May 8, 2018, Getting a Handle on Our Water Music. We’re dredging up our water songs — and a band called The Flood oughta have a bunch of ‘em, right? — for a show we’re doing Friday night in Point Pleasant, WV, at a fundraiser for the good folks at one of our favorite places, the Point Pleasant River Museum. If you’re in the area, come on out for a great dinner at 6:30, then stay for our show at 7:30. The event will be at the First Church of God Ministry Center, 2401 Jefferson Avenue in beautiful Point Pleasant, West Virginia.

May 15, 2018: It Don't Work Like That! As we gear up for the latest edition of the monthly Route 60 Saturday Night show this weekend (at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton St. in Barboursville), we have to prepare to go on stage without our regular harmonicat. Sam St. Clair is heading north to Alaska for a memory quest with his parents, and we wish them bon voyage. Meanwhile, The Flood’s good buddy Jim Rumbaugh has graciously agreed to sit in with us on harps for Saturday’s show. At last night’s Flood rehearsal, Jim rocked us with one of his original compositions, which we expect to bring to Saturday night’s show. Here’s Jim’s “It Don’t Work Like That!”

May 22, 2018: Your Taylor Books Homework Assignment! This Saturday night we’re heading to Charleston for a show at one of our all-time favorite venues in the capital city, the wonderful Taylor Books, 226 Capitol St., and we’re bringing with us our latest experiment in sing-alongs. Now, The Flood doesn’t usually assign homework, but in this case, we’ll make an exception. If you are planning to join us for the fun at Taylor Books this Saturday night, you might want to study this audio track. It comes from our set at last weekend’s Route 60 Saturday Night show, and it will help you get your hey-lawdy-mama-mama, hey-lawdy papa-papa’s in order for the evening! Hey, whaddaya know! It’s our first Flood study guide! Remember, we’re at Taylor Books this Saturday night. The good times start at 7:30.