Dear Diary ... The Podcast Archives: 2019

Mc CThe highlight of 2019 came in the last weeks of the year when Paul Callicoat came on board as our newest bandmate. Paul -- in the Family Flood, we call him "Mister C" -- started jamming with us in mid-summer, learning our eclectic mix of old and new, sitting in on bass at rehearsals and performances in Huntington and Charleston. By year's end, it was obvious he was meant to be a Floodster, with so much to share.

And no wonder. A West Virginia native, Paul Callicoat has been involved in writing, performing, teaching, recording and producing music for over 50 years. He has played guitar in many bands including the renowned TERRITORIES, whose album "Unreconciled” still is considered a local classic. He also has been a bandmate of many long-time members of The Flood’s extended family, friends like Rob McNurlin nd Doug Imbrogno.

Paul has several beloved CDs of original music, including "The Wayward Truth" and "Trampled Flowers," and he's currently finishing work on a new album that is expected to be released in 2020.

Running Route 60 Music Co., 60 Petyon St. in Barboursville, with his partner Mike McCord, Mister C has touched the lives of untold thousands of local musicians and we are thrilled to have him sitting at The Flood table now!

Also we spent miuch of 2019 continuing to enhance the online Flood Experience with the addition of:

STORIES-- An entertaining, informative new portal in our Time Machine section called Our Stories. A band that has been around as long as ours has many stories, yarns, tales and outright lies that form our lore and legends. Often between the tunes at jam sessions, rehearsals and public peformances, someone in the group feels compelled -- or repelled -- to tell a tale, and if there's a recorder running, it is saved for the ages. Here is a linked index to the stories we've saved here on the site, inviting you to click in and enjoy the ride. Some of the stories are about specific SONGS ... AND there are even dozens of JOKES at the bottom of page. Don't miss them!

-- And the creation of an entirely new service, The Flood Fakebook. Occasionally, Flood fans will ask us for the chords we use in a particular song, often wanting to play along with either one of our commercial CDs or with thelatest podcast or somethingthey've discovered in the podcast diaryarchives. Well, honestly, for many of our tunes -- the jugband numbers, the blues, old folk, country or roots rock songs -- such chord charts are hardly necessary. That's because in them, we just playing the old "cowboy chords," what musicians sometimes call 1-4-5 ... you know, C, F and G. However, for other Flood tunes -- like the swing compositions that the late Joe Dobbs got us playing two decades ago, the unique arrangement that the late Roger Samples bestowed on us in the early days of the band and curious more reason compositions have caught our collective fancy -- chord charts make sense. That's the thinking that as led to this, the freakin' first-ever Full-Fledged FLOOD FAKEBOOK! To use it just browse the list below. If a song grabs you, grab it back by clicking on its underlined title. That will produce a .pdf of the essential chords for that particular tune. And if you want a refresher on how the song sounds with The Flood does it, click the " ( audio )" link to the right of the title. This will take you to the section of the site's Song Index from which you can hear a version of two of the piece, usually as preserved in a podcast.

For a slew of random auto-selected numbers that we played that year, click here to tune into Radio Floodango's 2019 channel.





         January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December


Jan. 2, 2019: Margaret's Waltz. Back in the 1950s, Margaret Grant was well known in the country dance circles in the southwest of England. It was in her honor that Pat Shaw composed the classic "Margaret's Waltz,” the tune beautifully recorded by the celtic greats, The Boys of the Lough. Well, in our part of the world, the song has been played at the end more New Year’s Eve parties than we can count. But it's also is a lovely way to start a new year. Here’s how we like to play the song nowaday. We start out with Doug's fiddle, then we hand it over to Paul and his mandolin while Doug switches to guitar to bring it home. Here then is our 2019 rendition of “Margaret's Waltz.”

Video Extra!

Rob McNurlin & Jacob Scarr, "Milk Cow Blues"

Jan. 9, 2019: Coal Tattoo. We have some ambitious plans for the new year, including several recording projects. Among our plans when we get back into the studio is to record a collections of songs from and about our home state. And of course there could be no worthwhile assemblage of West Virginia tunes without a song or two by one of our heroes, Boone County’s own Billy Edd Wheeler. For the new album, here’s one we worked on at last night’s rehearsal, and it seemed like we were all on our toes — with solid harmonies by Michelle and Randy and great solos by Paul, Sam and Doug — it’s Billy Edd’s classic from 1963, “Coal Tattoo.”


-- Remembering The Great Folk Scare. We talk a bit about the long history of Billy Edd Wheeler's compositions in the folk music era of the 1960s.

Jan. 16, 2019: Cheyenne. After all these years, Doug Chaffin continues to amaze us. Whether playing fiddle or guitar, mandolin or upright bass, Doug has had a distinctive voice in the band for 20 years now. And with great regularity, he continues bring new tunes to us. For instance, at last night's rehearsal, Doug introduced us to his rendition of a great old fiddle tune that was made famous back in the '50s by Bill Monroe and Bobby Hicks. Here's Doug's take on a lively little number called “Cheyenne.”

Jan. 23, 2019: The Birth of the Blues. In New York in a single year — 1925 — Tin Pan Alley composer Ray Henderson wrote three — count ‘em THREE — classics in the great American songbook: “Bye Bye Blackbird,” “Has Anybody Seen My Girl?” (“Five foot two, eyes of blues…”) and “I’m Sitting on Top of the World.” And then in the next year, maybe just to show he hadn’t shot his wad, Ray wrote this one, “Birth of the Blues.” Now, The Flood started playing this song, gosh, probably 20 years ago — well, yeah, we put it on our second CD way back in 2002 with Joe Dobbs and Chuck Romine and Dave Peyton — but we hadn’t played it in about a decade. In fact, our newer Floodsters — Paul Martin and Randy Hamilton— had never even heard it, until Charlie started picking it one night at the recent rehearsal, and Doug jumped in with his sweet little Paul Reed Smith guitar, and then Paul Martin picked it up for a couple of solos, and suddenly Ray Henderson’s tune was up and rarin’ to go again.

Jan. 30, 2019: The Last Thing on My Mind. At the start of a rehearsal, we’re usually thinking about getting our fingers limbered up for the night’s picking, but voices need to be warmed up too. When we can, we try to remember to start Paulwith a few tunes that will also get our vocal cords in gear. Here Michelle, Randy and Charlie lean into a wonderful half-century-old number by beloved folk song composer Tom Paxton. It’s a beautiful old lament that Tom himself, now at 81, is still singing out there in shows all across America. Here’s The Flood treatment of Paxton’s “The Last Thing on My Mind.”


Feb. 6, 2019: Around The World Waltz. Our next album, which we’ve begun recording this winter in the mountain hide-away studio at the home of Floodster Paul Martin, will be a new idea for us: an all-instrumental CD, especially featuring some of the tunes that Doug Chaffin has brought us over the years. As long-time Flood fans know, Doug has played many instruments with the band in these, his first 20 years with us, from upright bass and mandolin to fiddle and guitar. Here, from last night’s rehearsal, is one of the numbers we’re considering for the new album, which will be out later this year.

Feb. 13, 2019: St. Louis Blues. The Flood is fixin’ to awaken from its long winter’s nap soon — we’ve got a busy set of Saturdays scheduled next month — and we’ll kick everything off by returning to our favorite capitol city venue, Charleston’s Taylor Books on Saturday, March 9. Please, mark your calendar. We’re going to have a ball there, as always! At last night’s rehearsal, we began thinking about the tunes we’ll want to play in that show, and at the top of list was this one. We’ve been doing W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues” for decades, but the number never really took  off until we turned it over to our amazing Michelle Lewis.

Video Extra!

From Taylor Books show, March 9, 2019

Feb. 20, 2019: I Almost Lost My Mind. As we prepare for a busy spring season of shows, we’re working on new material, but also revisiting some of our older tunes. This is a useful exercise for us, because it helps us avoid losing some songs. A case in point is this great old Ivory Joe Hunter composition.Two years ago, we were singing it all the time, and then, for some reason, it just slipped off the radar, until last night, when Michelle and Randy started talking about it. Here’s our last rendition of “I Almost Lost My Mind,” with tasty solos by Doug, Paul and Sam.

Feb. 27, 2019: You Got Me Slippin'. When we’re preparing a show — and we’re getting ready for a good one on Saturday, March 9, at Taylor Books in Charleston — we’re always on the lookout for tunes that would be especially good to open or close a set with. What we want here is a lively song that can get an audience clapping and singing along, either eager for the show to start or sorry to see it end. The song should feature everybody who’s on stage, highlighted by vocals and solos. In a word, it’s an ensemble piece. For the past half dozen years or so, a particular good one for an ensemble is this Jimmy Reed number, which you may recognize as the opening tune on our most recent CD, our “Live, In Concert” album. So, here, from a recent rehearsal, is the 2019 version of “You Got Me Slippin’.”


Video Extra!

From March's Route 60 Saturday Night

March 6, 2019: Way Downtown. Charleston’s Taylor Books is a fun venue for us, in part because it reminds us of the coffeehouse culture of our youth. The Flood grew up in sweet spots like this, where the stage was a wide space at the end of the long room, the tables were tucked in near enough to the performers so the audience could easily sing along. Some of our best memories were born in rooms like this. That’s why we’re always eager to return whenever the folks at Taylor Books invite us back, as they have this weekend. Here’s a tune we have on tap for Saturday night when we’re going back “Way Downtown” in Charleston. Remember, it’s Saturday night, Taylor Books, 226 Capitol Street, Charleston. The show starts at 7:30.

March 13, 2019: Your Ba-Ba-Ba-Ba Homework (Sentimental Journey).We don’t usually give homework assignments, but if you’re coming to this weekend’s Route 60 Saturday Night show, we want you to be ready for our special end-of-show sing-along. We tested it out for the first time last weekend at Taylor Books in Charleston and… well, heck, let’s just let Michelle explain it. Here’s that moment from last week’s show…. (Remember, we’ll ba-ba-ba be at Route 60 Saturday Night THIS Saturday night, March 16, for the opening of our fourth big season! The guest artists are singer-songwriters Wakita Billups and Luke Sadecky. The show starts at 7 p.m. at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton Street in Barboursville. Admission is $5 and this month, all proceeds go to the Lifehouse recovery program. Join us — it’s gonna be great evening!)

March 20, 2019: Honeysuckle Rose... Corrected. Boy, we sure are a mighty tolerant, forgiving band. When we have a big show coming up — like we did last weekend with the launch of the new season of “Route 60 Saturday Night” — The Flood has rehearsals and nails down the arrangements of all the tunes, deciding things like, okay, Doug and Paul will do a duet in this section, then Sam will come in for a solo on the bridge and then we’ll throw it back to Michelle for the vocals. But then sometimes when we get to the actual show, Charlie forgets everything we worked out. That’s what happened Saturday night with our carefully arranged plans for “Honeysuckle Rose.” Fortunately, as usual, our bandmates just grinned and winked at each other, as if to say, “Well, Old Charlie has wandered off on his own again.” Later our sweet-tempered bass player Randy Hamilton told him, “Hey, it’s not the mistakes you make; it’s how well you recover.” And we did seem to do okay on that score. Most people outside the band didn’t seem to notice the big screwup. Even Pamela, our manager, who hears our tunes more than anyone, thought, “Huh! Sounds like they’ve worked out a different version this time.” Uh, right! Anyway, as a musical footnote, here (from a rehearsal last week) is how “Honeysuckle Rose” was supposed to go Saturday night.

March 27, 2019: Coming of the Roads. Later this year, we expect to start the studio work on our long-anticipated West Virginia tribute album, which is intended to include new recordings as well as some old favorites from The Flood archives. One of the songs we definitely want on the album is this one, Billy Edd Wheeler’s sad, but beautiful composition, “The Coming of the Road.” Here’s a rendition from a recent rehearsal.



April 3, 2019: We're Still Sittin' on Top of the World. To warm up for an evening’s rehearsal, we often dig deep into our long, collective memory. Here is a tune that’s been on The Flood’s playlist for decades. (In fact, 10 years ago — in the first months of this then-new weekly podcast — we offered up a version of this song, that one featuring our youngest and oldest Floodsters at the time, Jacob Scarr and Joe Dobbs.) Now here, from last night’s get-together, is our 2019 version of this great old Mississippi Sheiks composition, with tasty solos by Doug, Paul and Randy. Yep, the facts are in: We’re still “Sittin’ on Top of the World.”

April 10, 2019: Hello, Chuck. Bye Bye, Blues. It’s been a couple of years since Floodster Emeritus Chuck Romine dropped in to jam with us — he and Phyllis have been pretty busy lately with the general business of living the good life — but when he refurbished yet another great old tenor banjo, he just had to swing by last night and share it with us. And of course, whenever Dr. Jazz is in the room, we’ve got to revisit some of tunes that were Flood standards back when Chuck was with the band in the early years of this century. Here Chuck and Doug trade musical ideas on a great Michelle Lewis standard.


-- A cop sees this car out in the Lovers' Lane ...

April 16, 2019: Somebody Been Using That Thing. Jim. Jim Rumbaugh first started coming around the weekly Flood sessions about a decade ago, and he quickly became such a dear friend. We knew him first as an excellent harmonica chasplayer and we watched as he nurtured and grew the beloved Huntington Harmonica Club, which nowadays has a public jam session every week. It was only later that we learned Jim also is a first-rate bass player, that in fact he has been playing bass longer than his harps. Well, it was only natural when we found out that Flood bassist Randy Hamilton can’t make an upcoming gig that we asked Jim to sit in with us and he has graciously agreed. Last night he brought his big, beautiful Rickenbacker to a session to start working on some tunes for the show and we just had a ball. Mark you calendar! Jim Rumbaugh will be using that thing with us down on the riverfront Saturday, April 27, as The Flood does its part at the the fifth annual Jewel City Jamboree.


-- Born on the Riverbank. During a riverfront show in Spring 2019, we note the riverfront roots of a lot of our music.

April 22, 2019: Alberta, Let Your Hair Hang Down. In prepping for our set at the Jewel City Jamboree this weekend down by the riverside, we’re dusty off some of our older songs. Here’s one we’ve not done in about a decade, but Jim Rumbaugh, sitting in with us on bass for this gig, inspired us bring it out again. With tasty solos by Jim, Paul, Sam and Doug, here’s “Alberta, Let Your Hair Hang Down.” And here's an EXTRA! Here's how "Alberta" sounded on the Jewel City JAM5 stage on Saturday, April 27, complete with a sexy solo by Paddy King, sitting in on fiddle.


-- Blame for the Rain. During our soaky set at the Jewel City Jamboree, we confess our connection to the weather gods...



May 1, 2019: Picking with Paddy King (Bye Bye Blues, Summertime, Whisky Before Breakfast). We met a phenomenal young fiddler named Paddy King last weekend when former Floodster Dave Ball introduced us to him at the Jewel City Jamboree and he joined us on stage for our part of the show. Needless to say, Paddy King just lit up the set with some of the most imaginative fiddling we’ve ever heard. Well, last night we had a ball when Dave brought the 24-year-old Floridian by the weekly rehearsal for two hours of memorable music.

paddy king

Here’s an especially tasty bit from the evening. Michelle’s “Summertime” takes on a whole new life with three choruses by Paddy midway through the tune. We just couldn’t get enough. And, of course, for The Flood we couldn’t help but think about much our old comrade, the late fiddler Joe Dobbs, would have loved picking with Paddy King, so before the night was over we had to ask him to visit one of Joe’s signature fiddle tunes, “Whisky Before Breakfast.” (Incidentally, in the spring in 2020, we celebrated this wonderful evening in an hour-long Paddy-oriented "Pajama Jam" video, which you an see here.)

Video Extra!

From May's Route 60 Saturday Night

May 7, 2019: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry. The Flood doesn’t do many country-western tunes, but some songs rise above categorization. They're just bigger than their genre, and that includes, well, just about everything written and sung by the great Hank Williams. A few years back, we started playing around with Hank’s hauntingly beautiful “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” but for the longest time the song just didn’t quite click for us, not, that is, until Michelle claimed it for her own. Here’s a Michelle Lewis special from a rehearsal just a couple of weeks ago.

May 15, 2019: Sing-Along Practice -- Didn't He Ramble? When we’re putting together the songs we plan to do at our gig as the house band for the monthly Route 60 Saturday Night show, as we are this weekend, we’re always on the lookout for a tune or two that can be a sing-along for the audience. Well, one of The Flood’s all-time favorite sing-alongs is this great old Charlie Poole song, “Didn’t He Ramble?”

And here it is, just for you, so you can practice on it before coming out to the show this Saturday night.

Video Extra!

From Woodlands, May 31, 2019

May 22, 2019: Red Apple Rag. A couple times at our weekly rehearsals nowadays, we have fun listening to Doug and Paul trade licks on good old traditional instrumental tunes, from waltzes to what Grandpa used to called “party tunes.” Here’s one — Doug’s unique rendition of a great old fiddle tune, which last night got an extra jolt of joy by old buddy Chuck Romine who dropped by to help out on the number with his tenor banjo. Here’s “Red Apple Rag.”

May 29, 2019: Come All Ye Fair and Tender Maidens. It’s been about 40 years ago now that Roger Samples and I sat in the kitchen on a hot summer night and came up with this arrangement of an old Appalachian ballad we both loved. Now, this particular version of the song settled in my memory over the years, coming out again only occasionally. For instance, it did make it onto The Flood’s first commercial CD back in 2001, but then went back into hiding for another decade or two. Well, last night was one of those evening when it made another rare re-appearance. Here’s “Come All Ye Fair and Tender Maidens,” pretty much as Rog envisioned in all those years ago.

Video Extra!

From June's Route 60 Saturday Night



June 5, 2019: My Blue Heaven. We had a wonderful evening playing at Woodlands retirement community last weekend — we always do have fun there — and a special time whenever we go up the hill to Woodlands is the half hour or so before the show when we get to go back to do some tunes for the folks in the health care unit. These are residents who are right now aren’t physically up to coming down to the concert hall for our regular show, so we bring a bit of the show to them. Every time it is such a treat for us to get them singing along on songs from their youth — and from ours too. A particular favorite from last weekend’s visit was Michelle’s rocking rendition of “My Blue Heaven,” which was a hit for the great Gene Austin more than 90 years ago. And we revisit the song here in these moments from last night’s weekly rehearsal.

Video Extra!

Route 60 Saturday Night

June 12, 2019: Ramblin' Boy. We have so much fun as the house band for the Route 60 Saturday Night variety show each month, and lately our favorite part has been getting you in the audience singing along with us on a good old folk song or two. We have another show this weekend, and here’s the tune we plan to end the evening with. Take a listen, learn the chorus and then come on out Saturday night and sing it us with! Here, from last night’s rehearsal, is our rendition of the great Tom Paxton’s “Ramblin’ Boy.” Remember, it’s Route 60 Saturday Night, THIS Saturday night at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton Street, in Barboursville. This month’s guest artists are Karen Combs and Jesse Crawford. The 90-minute show starts 7 p.m. Admission is $5 and all proceeds go to a local charity. Come on out for good times for a good cause!

June 19, 2019: Trouble in Mind. Well, you don’t usually turn to the blues for optimism. That’s why we’ve always loved the old blues number “Trouble in Mind,” which say right up front, “I’m blue, but I won’t be blue always, ‘cause the sun’s gonna shine in my backdoor someday.” Uh-huh. Here’s a take on that tune from a Flood rehearsal a few weeks back, an especially sweet evening when our good buddy Jim Rumbaugh stopped by to play bass with us.

June 26, 2019: Stormy Weather. Sometimes the tunes between the tunes are the most memorable of an evening. These in-between songs are the ones that crop up spontaneously between the ones we had planned to work on at that particular rehearsal. Here’s one from last night. Talk of dodging days of summer storms in the valley led to a raucous, impromptu rendition of this 1933 Harold Arlen composition. Michelle rocks the vocals, as always, and check out the happy solos by Doug on fiddle and Paul on guitar. Oh, we might never do this classic torch song like this again, but it was a fun moment last night.


July 3, 2019: St. Louis Blues. So, the story goes that 19-year-old William Christopher Handy was walking the dark streets of St. Louis one night when he met a woman who was very publicly mourning her husband’s abrupt absence. That in itself perhaps was not news, but young Bill was stopped in his tracks by what the woman said next. “My man,” she cried, “’s got a heart like a rock cast in the sea!” Well, the rest, as they say, is history. About a dozen years later, a now very grown-up W.C. Handy would publish a song that would change American music, a tune that some today call “the jazzman’s ‘Hamlet.’”

Video Extra!

The Flood at Home, July 9, 2019

Handy’s composition would memorialize that summer night in the city, right from the opening line: “I hate to see that evening sun go down.” Now, The Flood’s been knowing this song for decades. We did it as an instrumental for many years, but it took on a whole new life when Michelle Lewis claimed it for her own, these days making it seem brand new every time she rolls it out. Oh, and incidentally, it was new last night for some of us in the room. The evening marked Paul Callicoat’s first session with us sitting in on bass. Listen here as he makes memories for all of us with Michelle’s “Saint Louis Blues,” along with sweet solos by Doug Chaffin and Paul Martin.

July 10, 2019: You Ain't Going Nowhere. Most musicians believe in magic, because magic is in the room on those nights whenever everything just cooks. Lately, the magic ingredient in The Flood’s special brew has been our dear friend Paul Callicoat. Now, Paul is old buddy of the band and as our other Paul -- Paul Martin -- noted last night, we’ve all recognized in him a kindred spirit. Well, lately, Paul Callicoat has been sitting in with us on bass, and suddenly old tunes have taken on new life. Right here’s just one of many examples for last night’s rehearsal. Now, we’ve been doing Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” for a few years, but listen to this version. Check out the new notes that Doug has conjured up from somewhere for his fiddle solos. Oh, and hear the new vocal accents that Michelle has brought to the verses as well as the choruses. Everybody seems to be hearing the song with fresh ears. Hey, Mister C, that’s all you, buddy.

July 17, 2019: Careless Love. If an alien anthropologist were flying by to study our music, he’d probably be fascinated — well, as we Earthlings are — with how altering a single element can change a whole vibe, even in mid-song. Here’s a case in point from last night’s Flood rehearsal. So, Michelle and Charlie are tooling along on pretty much a standard version of one of the band’s favorite warm-up tunes, our take on W.C. Handy’s good old “Careless Love.” Then, though, Doug Doug and Pau;Chaffin seems to hear something new that he can add to the piece, but he’ll need his fiddle instead of his guitar to do it. Listen and about a minute in — toward the end of Sam St. Clair’s harmonica solo — you’ll hear Doug switching instruments. A grin flashed from Paul Martin, who’s sitting right next to Doug at that moment, is our first signal that something in the tune is changing. On down the line, Paul Callicoat hears it too and soon he’s adding a little extra sumpin-sumpin to his bass line to complement and encourage the bluesy fills that Doug is now playing on his fiddle. By the end, this old tune is in a brand new groove and somewhere out there in space, the little green men are probably grinning too.

July 24, 2019: You Don't Know Me. So earlier this summer, when Paul Callicoat started sitting in with us on bass, we realized that his learning curve would not be so steep if we took the time to write out chord charts for some of the less familiar Flood tunes. Well, that project turned into a pretty cool new features for the band’s website, one we call “the freakin' first-ever Full-Fledged FLOOD FAKEBOOK.” You know, from time to time, a regular listener of this podcast will want to play along with that week’s online tune, and this new feature can help. To use it, click on “The Fakebook” option on the left-hand column. There you’ll find a list of four to five dozen Flood tunes. Just click on the title of the song you’re interested in and up pops a page of chords for that number. And you can try it out right now, using this song from last night’s rehearsal. It’s Michelle’s rendition of the great Eddy Arnold number, one that brother Ray Charles had a huge hit with in 1962, “You Don’t Know Me.”

July 31, 2019: Moonglow.The Flood’s had a love of swing era tunes for a very long time — well, since the late Joe Dobbs got us playing “Sunny Side of the Street,” what? More than 20 years ago. One of our favorites is “Moonglow,” a 1930s composition by Eddie DeLange and Will Hudson. And now, here’s a curious bit of trivia about the song. During the Big Band era, this pair wrote a bunch of hits. Usually, Eddie wrote the melodies and Will composed the lyrics, but on “Moonglow” they switched places. Hudson wrote the song originally as an instrumental and only later did DeLange add some words. The song was first recorded by the great jazz violinist Joe Venuti and his orchestra. A year later, Benny Goodman and Ethel Waters had a hit with it. After that, everyone — from Art Tatum to Billie Holiday — took a turn with the tune. For us, it’s a Michelle special. Here’s a rendition from a rehearsal a few weeks ago, with sweet solos by Sam, Paul and Doug . That’s Paul Callicoat on bass and Charlie is helping Michelle out a little with some harmony on the choruses. Here’s The Flood’s version of “Moonglow.”

Video Extra!

Jammin' with Jacob


Aug. 7, 2019: If You Lose Your Money. It was eight years ago this month that our youngest-ever Floodster — Jacob Scarr — left the nest. Jacob played lead guitar with us from the time he was about 15 until he graduated from high school and left for college and a new life in Colorado. Well, earlier this year, Jacob finished law school and is starting his first post-college job with a law firm in Denver. Ah, but he still he gets back to our time zone a couple of times a year and we’re so happy that, when he does, he always tries to make time to jam a little with us. Last night, Jacob partied with his Family Flood, swapping tunes and stories with old friends and new around the table, This was our first tune of the evening, one that was our usual warmup number back in Jacob’s days with the band, here with solos by Doug Chaffin and Paul Martin, Sam St. Clair and Paul Callicoat, and, of course, a couple of extra choruses by our guest of honor, Jacob Scarr. This is “If You Lose Your Money (Please Don’t Lose Your Mind).”

Aug. 14, 2019: Needed Time. Some tunes have their own long, strange stories for how they end up The Flood’s songbag. Here’s one. Back in 1952, blues great Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins recorded a sweet, mournful number called “Jesus, Will Come By Here,” but the song went largely unnoticed for 20 years. Then in 1972, the great Cicely Tyson/Paul Winfield movie called ”Sounder" used it in the soundtrack, but renamed it "Needed Time.” Well, sitting here in Huntington, WV, both Roger and Charlie saw that movie, loved that song, and a year or so later, as our band getting busy being born, “Needed Time” was a song that both Rog and Charlie brought to the table. Well, over the next decade or so, as we played it at the ever-more raucous music parties where The Flood was just getting its feet wet, our little tune evolved from a moan to a shout — a lot less Sunday morning and a lot more Saturday night, as Roger might have said — but, you know, we like to think even today the tune still taps into some of Lightnin’s original magic, what made us fall in love with the song in the first place a half century ago. So here’s “Needed Time: 2019.”

Video Extra!

Our Tribute to Margaret Ray (1955-2019)

Aug. 21, 2019: Lady Be Good. Sometimes in the best conversations, not a word is spoken, such as when a group of musicians sit in a circle and listen to each other. In this little confab from last night’s rehearsal you can hear those wild, wordless ideas being exchanged by Sam St. Clair and Paul Martin, by Doug Chaffin and Paul Callicoat. And the subject of the moment? Why, it’s Gershwin and “Lady Be Good.”

Aug. 28, 2019: Up a Lazy River. We have loved the songs of Hoagy Carmichael for … well, forever. For instance, we started doing his great river anthem, “Up a Lazy River,” probably 25 years ago, and our rendition of the tune has evolved over the years. Originally, we did it has an instrumental with hard-driving solos by Joe Dobbs and Dave Peyton. Later we made into a vocal, with Chuck Romine singing the lead. In more recent years, Charlie took over the lead vocals, and that was okay, but the song really took off when Michelle Lewis brought to it her wonderful, original harmony counterpoints. And the song is still evolving for us. Listen to this take from a rehearsal just a few weeks ago, one in which Michelle even discovered a fine high final note that surprised and thrilled her bandmates.

Video Extra!

Route 60 Saturday Night


Sept. 4, 2019: Dink's Song. When it comes to movies, we are, of course, devout Coen brothers fans, starting with their masterpiece, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” from two decades ago. There Joel and Ethan Coen incorporated a wise and loving treatment of American roots music of the 1920s and ‘30s, a period obviously dear to The Flood’s heart as well. More recently, the Coens turned again to folk music, this time in an extraordinary 2013 film called “Inside Llewyn Davis,” set in one winter’s week in 1961 Greenwich Village.

A highlight of that funny, sad movie is when Oscar Isaac, playing the title role, performs a moody rendition of “Fare Thee Well,” also known as “Dink’s Song.” That moment especially resonated with all folk music fans, because most of us learned that song from the 1960s recordings of the late folk genius Dave Van Ronk, whose work seems to have inspired this film in the first place. Dear Dave. They didn’t call him “the mayor of MacDougal Street for nothing. Here’s The Flood’s take on “Dink’s Song” from a recent rehearsal.

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Sept. 21, 2019

Sept. 11, 2019: My Dear Companion. We lost a dear friend this week. Margaret Ray passed away at her home in Greenbottom, WV, after a difficult bout of sickness. She just turned 64 last spring. Margaret came into our lives, gosh, 40 years ago, at those crazy music parties where The Flood born. She was the beautiful, young hot guitar player who wowed us all on those smoky nights in a Huntington Southside living room. And Margaret came back into our lives just a few years ago when she and Joe Dobbs renewed their close friendship. Joe even got her playing music again, and he and Margaret took long, memorable road trips, from Florida to Alaska and other points along the way. Those good times made the last years of Joe’s life and Margaret’s a sweet thing for us in the Family Flood to watch from the sidelines. Well, Margaret was much on our minds last night as we sat down to rehearse. Rest in peace, love.

Sept. 18, 2019: Don't Get Around Much Anymore. We’re so excited that September is here, because September means we’re rolling out a brand new season of the 90-minute music variety show, Route 60 Saturday Night, at which The Flood is privileged to be the regular monthly house band. The next show is this Saturday night, 7 p.m., at Route 60 Music Co. in Barboursville. At our rehearsal last night, we worked up this tune — our rendition of a wonderful old Duke Ellington composition — to include in The Flood’s portion of the show.

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Taylor Books, Sept. 28, 2019

Sept. 25, 2019: Sunny Side of (Capitol) Street. We first played at Taylor Books in Charleston about 20 years ago and we’ve loved coming back regularly even since, partly because it reminds us of our coffeehouse roots, but mostly because it’s simply a wonderful venue with happy, friendly patrons. Playing Taylor Books is like coming to the best reunion ever. That’s why we’re looking forward to Saturday night and being back in Charleston for another Taylor Books gig. And here’s a tune from last night’s rehearsal that we’ve got on tap for Saturday night’s show. Remember, we’ll be on the sunny side of Capitol Street — 226 Capitol Street — at Taylor Books in beautiful downtown Charleston, this Saturday night, Sept. 28. The show starts at 7:30. Come on out and party with The Flood!


Oct. 2, 2019: Amelia's Waltz. The new CD we’re hoping to bring out before the end of the year will be our first all-instrumental album. (We’re thinking we’ll call it “Speechless.” Yeah, we do get a charge out of ourselves…) Anyway, one of the formative ideas of this new project is to explore the extraordinary narrative power of some of these beautiful melodies. They’re like little three-minute movies in which you are free to make up your own imaginative story. Here’s a case in point: a few years ago, Doug started noodling around with this gorgeous Bob McQuillen composition, and we all just fell in love with it. Well, here, from a recent rehearsal, are Doug and Paul trading leads on McQuillen’s evocative “Amelia’s Waltz.” See what movie you make in your mind with this one!

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Route 60 Saturday Night

Oct. 9, 2019: Walkin' After Midnight.We in The Flood have always been huge fans of filmmaker Ken Burns, and we absolutely loved his latest PBS series on country music. Now, while The Flood itself has never claimed to play country music, we were thrilled that the breadth of Ken Burns’ series extended to cover some of our all-time musical heroes, from Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family to Charlie Poole, Uncle Dave Macon, Johnny Cash and, of course, our perennial sweetheart, Patsy Cline. For long time, we’ve had a Patsy Cline anthem in our repertoire, ever since Michelle Lewis recommended we give it a shot more than a dozen years ago. Here, from a rehearsal just last month, is our latest take on “Walkin’ After Midnight.”

Oct. 16, 2019: Dead Cat on the Line. Last night, as we were preparing the tunes we’ll share this weekend in our duties as the house band for the monthly Route 60 Saturday Night show, we got to thinking about other Saturday nights we’ve known. You know, we love to tell how Grandma had a lot of Sunday morning songs that she’d learned in church, but that Grandpa had some Saturday night songs that he’d learned some place else, like maybe in that juke joint down on the river … oh, you know the kind of loud, smoky room where a couple of good ol’ boys are strumming guitars or maybe a big ol’ friendly girl is pounding a barrelhouse piano. Here’s a tune from that Saturday night tradition, one we learned from the 1930s recordings of the original Hokum Boys.

Doug, Paul and Sam

Oct. 23, 2019: The Glory of Love. Well, it’s not for nothing that we’ve come to be called “West Virginia’s most eclectic string band.” In addition to the folk songs and the fiddle tunes, the jug band numbers and the blues, The Flood has an abiding love for those standards that come from the pages of the great American songbook. One of the ways you know a song has become a “standard” is this: it is so finely constructed melodically and lyrically that it can be performed in many different styles and moods and still maintain its uniqueness. A case in point is Billy Hill’s classic “The Glory of Love.” Now, many folks may have heard it first in their parents’ jazz collection, especially if they were Benny Goodman fans, because Benny took the tune all the way to the top of the charts in 1936. But a later generation also knew “Glory of Love” 30 years later as a cover tune by Otis Redding on his great “Dock of the Bay” album in 1967, or the version that folksinger Tom Rush did the next year on his “Circle Game” album. Then 20 years after that, Bette Midler was singing it in her movie, “Beaches.” Well, here’s The Flood’s take on the tune from a recent rehearsal.

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Route 60 Saturday Night, Nov. 16, 2019

Oct. 30, 2019: Rag Mama. It was more than 40 years ago that The Flood first started stirring wild and crazy jug band tunes into its eclectic brew, beginning with a manic version of “Rag Mama,” a song that we learned from the 1960s recordings of the great Jim Kweskin. Well, then, somewhere along the line, a few decades later, we further fortified the number by seasoning it in a bit of the Pipkins’ classic “Gimme Dat Ding.” And obviously our version of “Rag Mama” just continues to evolve. For instance, check Sam’s capper at the tail-end of the tune in this from last night’s rehearsal.


Nov. 6, 2019: Georgia on My Mind. Usually for the weekly rehearsal, Doug Chaffin and Paul Martin both arrive carrying two instruments. Paul has his mandolin, of course, and his mellow, beautiful Martin acoustic guitar, while Doug, along with his trusty fiddle, is carrying his sweet Paul Reed Smith electric. A good warmup number for the us enables Paul and Doug to pick a bit on all those instruments, as they do in this particular tune. Last night, as we were waiting for our star singer Michelle Lewis to navigate the always-iffy interstate traffic and get here from her home near Charleston, Paul Callicoat laid down a nice rhythm on his bass, and we listened to the guys stretch out on a favorite Hoagy Carmichael song, with a variety of tasty solos by Paul and Doug sandwiched in with right righteous harmonica breaks by Sam St. Clair. Here’s a warmup rendition of “Georgia on My Mind.”

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Route 60 Saturday Night

Nov. 13, 2019: Lord, Ain't the Gravy Good? Getting ready as your house band for this weekend’s monthly Route 60 Saturday Night show, we wanted to have a tune that could help you get you in the mood for Thanksgiving. That means food-related songs, of course, and The Flood’s got a few, though granted, some are more seasonally appropriated than others. Then we thought again about a great little novelty tune that trumpeter Cootie Williams wrote and sang more than 80 years ago when it was recorded by Duke Ellington’s orchestra in 1938. It tells a sad story of a meal in which all the main courses go badly awry, but, then, oh, Lord, ain’t the gravy good Remember, it’s Route 60 Saturday Night, THIS Saturday night at Route 60 Music Co., 60 Peyton Street in Barboursville. This month’s guests artists are singer-songwriters Tim Browning, Maggie Moore and Ricky G. Fox. And as a special treat, we’ll have a mid-show set by the next generation of Tri-State talent, Route 60 Saturday Night’s youngest guest to-date, 12-year-old Bronson Tolliver. You don’t want to miss this! Admission is $5 and this month all proceeds go to help the good work of United Way of the River Cities. Come on out for a good time for a good cause.

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Route 60 Saturday Night, Dec. 21,, 2019

Nov. 20, 2019: Ramblin' Boy. Okay, so, we probably should’ve canceled last night. Because of illness and other obligations, we barely had a quorum for the weekly rehearse, but, then, well, as St. Matthew once told us, “Boys, whenever two or more gather in its name, it is The Flood!” And last night our little Flood Lite trio even managed to send out this tune to our sick and shut-in bandmates.

Nov. 27, 2019: Blue Skies. This will our first Thanksgiving without a visit from Michelle’s sweet mama. For years and years, we’ve have the sincere pleasure of looking across the room at rehearsals and performances to see Michelle’s mom smiling back at us. It was about a month ago that Lucile passed away, just a day after her 82nd birthday. One of the many joys in having her with us was that she would sing along on her favorite songs. And she had a LOT of favorite songs, but surely somewhere near the top of that list was “Blue Skies.” Here from a rehearsal a week or so ago is her daughter Michelle’s latest rendition of it. This one’s for you, Lucille. Are you singing it with us, Mama?

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Route 60 Saturday Night


Dec. 4, 2019: Autumn Leaves. Sometimes the magic of the evening comes just when you think the evening is over! At a recent rehearsal, we’d had a good, productive session and the boys were heading for the door. Sam had already had to go, the two Pauls — Paul Martin and Paul Callicoat were packing up their instruments — and Doug was wringing out the last notes of the night on his fiddle. But before the guys could get their coats on, Michelle and Charlie started playing a favorite tune, and in a flash they were back in their seats to play one more. Here it is, old winter’s song: “Autumn Leaves.”

Dec. 11, 2019: Ella Speed. No matter how far we roam in search of new material, The Flood never gets too far away from its folky roots. A Woody Guthrie or a Pete Seeger tune can bring us back home in an instance. And fundamental to the band’s DNA is the music of the great Huddle Ledbetter, better know as Lead Belly. In fact, one of the first songs The Flood ever did back when it was aborning in the early 1970s was a Lead Belly classic called “Ella Speed,” about a turn-of-the-century murder of a lady of the evening in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Folklorist John Lomax recorded Lead Belly singing that very song in Louisiana’s Angola Penitentiary in 1933. And while Lead Belly is the recognized source of that song, we learned it from another recording. It’s on Ian & Sylvia’s wonderful 1964 “Four Strong Winds” album, with John Harold doing the guitar solos. Well, here’s The Flood’s 2019 latest rendition, with the solos in the able hands of Paul Martin, Doug Chaffin and Paul Callicoat. It’s “Ella Speed.”

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Route 60 Saturday Night, Dec. 21, 2019

Dec. 18, 2019: Please Come Home for Christmas. Until the great Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Famer Charles Brown opened our eyes and ears to the concept, most of us never thought of Christmas as a time for the blues. But then in 1961, King Records released “Charles Brown Sings Christmas Songs” and suddenly Christmas was cool. The standout track on thatalbum was Brown’s composition called, “Please Come Home for Christmas,” a song that has hit the chart dozens of times since that original release. The Eagles, for example, had a beloved version in the 1970s, Bon Jovi would revisit the tune in the 1990s. Meanwhile, in this century it’s been given fine treatments everyone from Willie Nelson and Martina McBride to Kelly Clarkson. And now we in The Flood will be incorporating the number into our house band tunes at this weekend’s Route 60 Saturday Night holiday show. Here we are working on our arrangement at last night’s rehearsal. That’s Paul Martin singing lead and Michelle Lewis with her call-and-response harmony.

Dec. 24, 2019: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Well, this eventful 2019 is coming to an end and we look forward to being back in your ears in the new year, but before we go, friends, Michelle speaks for us all here on this Christmas Eve in wishing you the merriest of Christmases.