As we have done in the last week of each of the previous two years, we bring you a Winter’s surprise. This time, at the head of this post, it’s the first new episode of The RFC MINI SHOW since January, 2016.

The plan was to bring you a whole new episode of the Radio Free Charleston video show, but we simply ran out of time to do it right, so we intend to have that show ready in January, 2020.

However, I have been sitting on some archival footage for over five years now, and I have a feeling that a lot of my readers might want to see it.

In November, 2014, superstar Country artist, Tyler Childers, had not quite yet reached “superstar” status. He was a remarkable talent, and anybody who saw him could have easily imagined him making it big, but back in 2014, he was still up for the idea of playing a solo show at a bowling alley in Dunbar, West Virginia, just for the hell of it.

Scotty Johnson, who was booking the performances at Dunbar Lanes at the time, was a big fan, and he was such a big fan that he convinced me to come out and record some of Tyler’s show, despite the fact that Country Music is really not my cup of tea. I have to be honest, some arm-twisting was involved.

Mel and I went to the show, and we were really impressed by Tyler’s talent. Even though neither of us are fans of Country Music, we could see that this was a star in the making. I used one of the songs we recorded that night on Radio Free Charleston 203,  just a few days after we recorded it.

This was a time when I was recording bands at a fast and furious pace. I didn’t tell anyone at the time, but I felt like I was racing the clock. I thought I was in the early stage of ALS, and wanted to document as much local music as possible while I could.  Even though Tyler was from Kentucky, he played in town often enough to be considered local.

Since I was recording so many musicians, much of that material wound up stashed away on hard drives for future use. As I have mentioned, probably too many times here, in the late winter of 2016, I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, which meant that I did NOT have ALS, but which did mean that I was about to begin a time-consuming medical adventure that would take me away from my then-habit of cranking out video versions of RFC on an almost-weekly basis. Since then, I’ve been doing RFC as a radio show, with the video version coming out about once a year.

Recently, with Tyler’s sold-out appearance on Mountain Stage earlier this month, and with news of him selling out huge arenas all over the country, I remembered that I had unused footage of him from Dunbar Lanes in 2014. In fact, it was someone on social media complaining about not being able to get a ticket to Mountain Stage that caused the light bulb to go off.

It seems like as good a time as any to bust out that footage, so in this RFC MINI SHOW we bring you three songs performed by Tyler, including a cover of the classic “Help Me Make It Through The Night.” I have a feeling that it’ll be a long time before Tyler plays another bowling alley, and I hope you enjoy seeing him in this intimate setting. He’s a great guy, and it’s a kick seeing all the success he’s had.

And this RFC MINI SHOW is our New Year’s Eve surprise drop, just to keep our consecutive year streak of doing at least one show per annum going at fourteen. Don’t be shocked, but if our plans come to fruition, not only will there be a new full-length episode of RFC next month, but we’ll probably have another RFC MINI SHOW, starring a band from Chicago.

Don’t forget, you can tune in to The AIR starting Tuesday at 10 AM for a marathon of all of the Radio Free Charleston Radio shows from 2019. The rest of this week, The AIR will present marathons of all of the episodes of Radio Free Charleston, Curtain Call and The Swing Shift from 2019.

You can listen to The AIR at the website, or on this embedded radio player…

We hope everybody has a very safe and Happy New Year.