The Charleston Pour House. Sometime around a decade ago.
There were maybe fifty people in the audience.
Truth & Salvage Company slid into their set with a genuine ease & confidence that cannot be manufactured. I remember reading the liner notes for the Faces compilation, “Good Boys When They’re Asleep,” where someone from Creem Magazine, not Lester Bangs mind you, Dave Marsh it was, described seeing Rod, Woody, Ronnie & crew take the stage “the way a teenage gang takes a street corner, rolling into place with unfeigned casualness, tossing a leer and giggle here and there.” That seemed like an appropriate description for the T&S Co boys. If I recall, they sort of just rolled right into “Hail Hail,” starting it off acapella, and then Scotty got down to those really sweet guitar licks on that great SG, and they preceded to sing a song that felt like it was somehow simultaneously about the members of the band as well as everybody else in the room.
Now, anybody that has ever been to a show with me before, can attest to the fact that I am usually one of those dudes toward the back, arms crossed, occasionally nodding my head. But, as soon as they started, there was a surge of joy, a real shot in the arm. And, at the time, I wasn’t feeling very happy about much. I was not healthy in any aspect of my life. It was as if I was dealing with some sort of spiritual limp. I would find out a few months later that I had a golf ball sized brain tumor, that had been slowing growing above my right eye for years, and that was what throwing me way the hell off. (A few months after I had surgery to get that bastard out of my head and the T&S Boys took part in a benefit to help me get back on my feet, singing "Don't Let The Bad Times Get You Down," appropriately enough.) But, at that moment, I felt genuine and pure joy watching this band, they radiated such a relaxed positive energy, they were exactly who they were, not some band trying to pull the wool over the audience.
A few nights ago, I drove across the Cumberland River to go check Truth & Salvage at the Basement East. It was a good crowd, full of folks just as eager as I was to see this reunion. First song was “Hail Hail,” and I was right back where I was a decade ago, the first time I saw T&S Co. Granted I wasn’t in as bad of shape as I was then, no brain tumor, but y’all know how life can be: juggling marriage, kids, work, it can get a little stressful. And, I needed that show that night. Just as a reminder that I can still enjoy the hell out of some good and genuine rock and roll.
Thanks for the music, boys. Please keep doing it, at least every now and then. I know y'all are spread all over the place. But, I'm pretty damn sure I'm not the only one that could always use a little more Truth & Salvage Company.