CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dave "Washboard" Thomas, 42, is the booking agent and a bartender at the Boulevard Tavern on Kanawha Boulevard about a block up from Haddad Riverfront park, an ideal location to be part of Charleston's music community, explained Thomas.
"Music kicks off here around 10 and goes to about 2. We're sort of the destination for the after party. People show up here after Third Eye Cabaret or things like Live on the Levee. In fact, we try to coordinate our musical acts with Live on the Levee through the summer. So, if people like a particular musician or group they can come by afterwards and hear something in a similar style."
Thomas said the covers are reasonable, usually $5, occasionally for a bigger band they may range $7-$10, but the variety is what he believes is the real draw to what he affectionately calls "the tavern."
"We book a wide range of music, a lot of bluegrass, funk, jazz, all spectrums. Including owner Paul Greco's Iron Maiden tribute band, Up in Irons. Some of the bigger bands we've had come through are Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, and Town Mountain."
Town Mountain was named "Band of the Year" in 2013 by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
One of the big acts coming soon is Danny Barnes, a banjo player from the Pacific Northwest, who'll be at the tavern March 25th. Thomas said, last year, Barnes "packed the place. We're really looking forward to seeing him again.
"We get a lot of the bigger acts because we are centrally located. With the interstates connecting in Charleston, we score a lot of acts that are traveling from one bigger city to the next and have a free evening in their tour, but I would say we're still 80 percent local."
The Boulevard Tavern is committed to finding and supporting local artists with something unique and new to bring to the table, said Thomas. One such band that has Thomas really excited, KR-3, was formed by Wheeling natives.
"They're going to be a big deal; they're like Town Mountain. We won't be able to bring in those guys again because they're too big now to play a club. I have a feeling about KR-3; they'll be next."