Musician Jay Gladden has had some memorable gigs.
But, oh, the June 29th one! That, of course, is when the big, bad windstorm came howling.
“Untax’t Whiskey” was wrapping up its show in Williamson Road’s Bad Wolf Barbecue parking lot. Playing for hours in the day’s screeching heat had been bad enough, said Jay.
“Then a guy said a storm was coming. So I figured that meant rain, and we’d have to hustle our equipment to keep it dry.”
But no. What they thought was a tornado — until this paper’s Kevin Myatt added “derecho” to our weather vocabulary — swooped through the site. It huffed and puffed and blew their tents down.
The band had been using two collapsible tents for shade. And collapse they did: “They weren’t staked down. When we tried to hold onto them, the wind picked David [Amos] and me off the ground!” Mind, these are full-grown men.
Everything but the bass amp blew over. Jay held onto his and Gordon Bailey’s electric guitars and ran into the restaurant.
“David wasn’t so lucky. The [sound] mixer and drum-EQ fell and broke his equipment. And Monty King’s drum-set got wrecked (the cymbals were OK).
“I had lots of dirt and grit in my eyes to wash out, and was kinda shell-shocked. But thank God, no people got hurt,” Jay said.
The next day song-sheets, lyrics, a piece of a drum, and even an unbroken glass guitar-slide were found in the Pizza Hut and Coach-&-Four restaurant parking lots down the street.
“Monty has other drum sets. So we were able to do a gig at Smith Mt. Lake just two days after the storm. The show must go on!” Jay laughed.
* Jay’s late great-grandmother Texas Gladden would’ve applauded that spirit.
At press time she, Alfreda Peel and Caroline Melbard were the set topic of the July 16th Salem Historical Society meeting. Salem Museum Director John Long said he would show their role in preserving old folk-ballads, especially “The Devil’s Nine Questions.” (By the way, kudos for SHS summer meetings.)
If you missed that, mark Oct. 20, 1 p.m. Author Stephen Wade will perform, and sign copies of “The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience.” John said it describes “the significance of old-time music and those who preserve it, including Texas Gladden.”
* Here’s to the hardy musicians — and fans — who keep the Saturday night old-time jam sessions going on the Salem Farmers Market. Even in the heat!
* One “tree” that escaped storm damage was this blue-bottle tree — which happens to have been built by Jay’s dad, Jimmy, and Jay’s uncle, Joe Gladden. Legend has it that the bottles catch bad dreams and evil spirits.
Here’s hoping for sweet dreams and mere light summer breezes!