I’m here in West Virginia for W.B.Walker’s Old Soul Radio Show and he is having his third anniversary show here at the The V Club in Huntington. He has a ton of great music coming our way tonight and I have been invited to come over and cover the action, so I left early Friday morning and made a few stops along the way I’ll talk about later.
The V Club has a wonderful staff and sound man and it is quite a spacious venue. I was told it was really one of the best venues around that area. It had quite a nice smoking area for patrons with an additional bar outside for those that smoke. Wonderful painted murals adorn the outside walls from previous artists that have played iconic shows there.
I spent yesterday evening with Mr. Brandon and we had a few beers and listened to a bunch of great music, talking about stuff all night. West Virginia is absolutely beautiful and I’m having a really nice time out here enjoying all the music and hospitality, the music industry is all about Karma..you treat guests in your home like family and it comes back to you..and you pass it back around. That’s basically how independent music survives, we all have our favorite bands we invite into our lives.
I got the humbled opportunity to ride all over Dingess West Virginia with him and his wife and they taught me history of their area, we got to share many good meals and if you are ever in that area stop at Reno’s for a steak. MAN were we full before going back to the house and I got to finally spend time with him in his backyard bar..actually front yard. There we shared many memories and listened to HOURS of music, I was welcomed like family (as Mr. Brandon would say) HELL I was treated better than family.
This show tonight was perhaps one of the most crowded and most difficult indoor shows I have worked in quite some time this place was so intensely packed I couldn’t get toward the stage for pictures after a certain amount of time. I could barely get toward the bar for a coke…and that’s NOT a bad thing at all, WOW local music truly is a popular thing here in West Virginia. On his own Tyler Childers can sell out the whole venue and Mr. Brandon strategically placed these ten artists together on one hell of a bill.
The whole show opened with Senora May Childers who recently got married to Tyler Childers and was featured on his one year anniversary show. As of today she has nothing officially released and these songs are tentatively named, the first song was “I Only Want You” and that was followed by “Forgive”.
Most of the song titles she did not announce and like Mr. Brandon said “She’s an enigma” however she’s one hell of a talented young lady. In fact the first time I heard her she was Senora May Lanehart so I’m glad she found the love of her life, I haven’t and that aspect I do not wish on anyone..trust me.
She did announce the third song as “Flowers Wilt” and followed that up with ‘Country On Your Plate”. After a song called “Don’t Blame Me Darli’n, she brought up Tyler Childers and they played “Sad Songs And Waltzes” which I really enjoyed.
The Horse Traders are indeed a hometown band here that were featured on his two year anniversary show, and I’m honored to finally be here to cover it. They sounded just awesome up there tonight, and opened their set with a song called “Hey Carolina”. If you remember I featured them on my coverage of Outlaw Fest a few years back.
They did a song called ’19” and followed that with a song called “Sunday Drive”. I’m hoping they come to the Nashville area so I can cover more of their shows, I’ll be telling all my friends that book shows about this band. Their next song was called “Ain’t No Ash” and right now they are playing a song off their album called “Cheap Wine”, and this venue is quickly becoming packed full of people. I can tell this has already become a huge success here in downtown Huntington tonight, and I hope this is the beginning of a long string of anniversary shows for W.B. They closed their set with a song called “Even Mountains”.
Next up was Josh Nolan whom I never featured on the website before tonight but right now the show is on stage break. Mr. Josh is from Stanton Kentucky and does shows all over the area, in fact on may 14th he is playing Paducah Kentucky.
He opened his set with “Do It Right” and then he played a song he was going to call William Wallace but he called it ‘Brave Heart Too” it was really a fantastic song, he’s a truly talented acoustic songwriter! I liked the style and fashion he delivered songs to us tonight here and I am admiring his songwriting skills with songs like “Waiting On the Night” .”East Kentucky Skyline” was his next song which was a more upbeat song, and he closed his set with “Till The Words Run Out”.
Next up was Luna And The Mountain Jets they are billed as an Appalachian Rock band from east Kentucky that plays in this area. They opened their set with a song called “Thanksgiving Day” and another called “Walkin Away”. Folks this is a truly energetic band with really good lead guitars and high energy songs.
They did a truly awesome cover of “Heard It Through The Grapevine” which actually impressed me a ton because it’s a song I don’t believe I ever heard any band cover before. Then they played one called “Silent Sunday Morning” and followed that up with “Lies And Envy”.
The last two songs of their set were “Firefly” and “It’s Okay” was the closing song for their set tonight, I tell you what I shall certainly be including them on future projects.
Next up was my 2015 Artist Of The Year none other than Joshua Morningstar! Now I don’t honestly reckon I need to elaborate on who he is because I have featured him so many times on here and I have been blessed to see him grow as an artist. I also featured him on my two year coverage article, and many other times in the past.
In the years I have known him I have featured him many times and shared many hotel rooms with him, and YES this year I will be featuring him on many more festivals I’m sure. He has come a long long way since we first met up there at Altamont. He opened his set up with a Billie Gant song called “The Night That They Shot Rueben Dixon Down” and followed that up with a song called “Brand New Angel”.
“Wished I Woulda Blues” was a song that I haven’t heard in quite some time live that I really enjoyed and then he went right into a new song that he said will be on his new album called “Today She Left For Good, She’s Left I Miss Her Bad”.
His set was full of tribute for the recently late Legend Merle Haggard and after playing “Motel Madness” he played a Merle Haggard song called ‘Working Man’s Blues”. After covering ‘Driving Nails In My Coffin” later on in his set he played a new song he wrote called “Merle Haggard Died Today” which has been getting a bunch of shares on other sites as well as his own. It has indeed become an internet sensation and I believe that in a short time it will become a live sensation as well.
‘All I Been Living For Is Gone” was another one that was included in his set that we truly enjoyed here tonight as well as a song he wrote about Billie Gant incidentally called “You Don’t Follow Billie Gant”. That song stems from Altamont as well as many others that each of us wrote and were inspired by. His full time band he travels with now called “The Pick Ups” were really good tonight they consist of Evan Bell and Bobby Miller. They closed their set (as always) with “I Saw The Light”. I tell you what it’s good to always have someone out there that you KNOW loves you and Mr. Joshua is one of them. WHEREVER I AM he is always welcome with me as well as his band, and I look forward to continue to watch him grow.
Now Justin Payne WHO CAME TONIGHT FROM THE HOSPITAL to not cancel his set came up to play before Colter Wall and he still played a song called “Pieces Of My Life”. Honestly this was the first time ever I saw a man show up in a hospital bracelet, I think that’s a world record and it shows his love for Mr. Brandon. In my opinion HIS ONE SONG was more iconic than any of the other acts because it had that much heart and soul.
At this time during the show I was so wrapped up in writing and documenting what was going on, and the place was getting so packed I could not get close to the stage so I was fortunate enough to be blessed with the share of Melissa Stilwell Photography for the rest of the photos in this article.
Joshua Black Wilkins man what can I say I’m listening to one of his vinyl records right now that I bought this weekend and I’m truly enjoying it. This man is one hell of a great photographer that had done a lot of work for many TV shows and artists, I was told he shot the covers Justin Townes Earle albums and worked for the TV show the Walking Dead. Now, if you are like me you know nothing of the Walking Dead but it’s a VERY popular television show out right now.
He opened his set with a song off the “Fair Weather” album called “Western” and his second song was a good choice off the ‘Settling The Dust” album called “I Heard You Whisper” which he played upon request for someone. At this time it was becoming so packed I had to stay in my booth and work and I could not go up to the stage for pictures!
“I tremble” and another song “Put Your Hat back On” were two more choices off the “Fair Weather” album we all enjoyed and my favorite one he plays is called “Shame On Alabama” and that’s off an album called ‘Pretty As A Junkyard”. Now that album is where I became familiar with him, and we have crossed paths at Muddy Roots Festivals but I never got the opportunity to cover his set until now so I was well pleased with this job.
His set closed with “Coke Sweats” ..the song not literally coke sweats..and he closed with a song off “Hellbent And Brokenhearted” called “In My Time Of Dying”. Truly a damn fine set this evening and I look forward to covering his music more in the future I’ll have to come down to Nashville for him sometime.
Caleb Caudle comes to us from Winston-Salem and he was also included in my Top 50 albums of 2015 last year with his latest offering “Carolina Ghost”. Tonight he played a TON of songs off the new album and I got buy it and to my surprise it was CLEAR VINYL…YES! I am TRULY pleased with my purchase it sounds awesome on record.
His opening song was called “Drag” was one of the only few songs that were not on his new album, and he followed that with ‘Piedmont Sky” which was on the new album. He truly did a damn fine job up there tonight and was a good fit with the other acts on this bill, Mr. Brandon did a good job placing all the bands time wise too.
His next songs were “Gotta Be” and “Uphill Battle” and he followed those with songs that featured one of my favorites Lydia Loveless on vocals (on the albums, she wasn’t there in person) ‘No Laughter In This House” and “Trade All The lights”.
Much like everyone else tonight Merle Haggard’s memory was greatly praised tonight and he played “Misery And Gin” off his 1980 classic album “Back To The Barrooms”. That song was written by Snuff Garrett who in my opinion is VERY overlooked as a contributor to Country Music, I mean the man wrote the script for Every Which Way But Loose along with Jeremy Joe Krosenberg and was laughed at for pitching the monkey movie to Warner Brothers. It ended up being one of the top 200 highest grossing films in history.
He closed his set with my favorite song he does called “white Dove’s Wing” and also “Carolina Ghost”. I tell you what if he’s in your area you BETTER NOT miss this show folks you won’t be disappointed! He left us wanting more off the new album.
Colter Wall came down from Canada to play for us and along with Caleb Caudle his album Imaginary Appalachia made my “Top 50 albums Of 2015” and was a very popular choice to me last year, even though it was a short album ever y song was truly good.
He opened his set with a song called “Kate McCannon” and a Woody Guthrie song called “Philadelphia Lawyer” now I’d like to point out all the Merle Haggard references tonight. This song was on one of Merle’s live albums where he and Bonnie Owens sang the song, and there are many more versions of this song.
“Hotel Yorba” was next and another GOOD song off the album called “The Devil Wears A Suit And Tie”, and another we recently heard Whitey Morgan do called “Waiti’n Around To Die” which was originally a Townes Van Zandt song. “High And Lonesome” was next followed by a new song that he told me was as of yet untitled.
He has a really low and unique voice and a really good stage presence, and for being so young his style and influences have a lot of age to them. His last song was called “Sleeping On The Blacktop”. And NOW came the last act of the night and apparently the act that makes this place go nuts because they are packed like sardines in here. And a LOT of beer is being consumed tonight here…
Now, this is Tyler Childers third year of doing W.B.Walker’s anniversary show and BY GOD you can tell this is HIS stomping grounds! This place went absolutely NUTS when he came on and immediately the audience began singing all the words.
His voice is so very distinguishing away from other artists in his own mountain soaked fashion and it’s tainted with tales of despair, poverty and pills. In fact his first song was “Nose To The Grindstone And Your Mind Off The Pills”. This is truly modern day Country Music folks from the kingdom of broken bottles and struggles to get through life.
“Follow You To Virgie” was his second song and that was followed by “If The Whiskey Could Talk”. At some points it was so loud with crown participation it was hard to hear Tyler sing, that’s not a negative cut either. This is truly the real deal hometown man right here.
He continued with the John Prine classic “Muhlenberg County” and also played “Rock Salt And Nails” my favorite song he does. That song was made equally famous by Country Music songwriting Legend Steve Young and was written by Utah Phillips. “Charleston Girl” was next and then he brought out his band the Foodstamps.
They played “Deadman’s Curve first along with ” White House Road” and they closed their set with “Trudy” from Charlie Daniels..he did an encore after the entire place shouting ONE MORE SONG….ONE MORE SONG.. that song was “Working Man’s Blues”. I done said it before the spirit of Merle Haggard was truly in the house tonight, and I cannot thank W.B.Walker enough for inviting me to be a part of it all.
It was truly an experience I would never ever trade back and I’m really glad I went because it you never know what life will bring next for any of us. Treasure your time with your friends and the artists you love because in a instant, in a flash they can be gone.