5 questions with local music staple Tom Holcomb
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MONDAYS: 5 to 9 p.m. at Los Agaves, 508 Third Ave., South Charleston. Call 304-720-1567.
THURSDAYS: 6 to 10 p.m. at Bridge Road Bistro, 915 Bridge Road. Call 304-720-3500.CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tom Holcomb is one of those seemingly permanent fixtures on the local scene, one of those guys who more or less plays the same nights in the same places, week after week, month after month, year after year. The 60-year-old singer/songwriter, who has made a living playing music for around 30 years, can be found most Monday nights at Los Agaves in South Charleston and Thursday nights at the Bridge Road Bistro in South Hills.
The Gazz spoke to the singer/songwriter about what it's like to be a musician with a regular, standing gig.
Q: How long have you been playing at Los Agaves and at Bridge Road Bistro?
A: "I've been at the Bridge Road Bistro for a couple of years now and at Los Agaves for about six years. I play a few other places around, too."
Q: With having a regular night in a specific place, how do you handle playlists? Do you keep the same set of songs or change it up?
A: "I've seen different acts that will come in with different playlists or come out and do the same show over and over, but I can't stand to do that. I don't have a playlist. I just play according to who's there. If the people who are there want to party more, I drag out some more upbeat stuff, but I can ease off if I have to."
Q: How many songs do you have to work from?
A: "About a thousand. I cover a lot of the old standards, the classic rock, the classic country and the classic blues. I play easy listening, do a couple of flamenco things and play a few bluegrass tunes. I also have a lot of my own material.
"I get bored with stuff, I think, long before the crowd does. I think the best compliment I've ever been given is they don't get tired of listening to me. That's a great compliment."
Q: Are there any songs you have to do every week or almost every week?
A: "I usually do something from Gordon Lightfoot just about anywhere I go, and there are certain people whose music I play from: Gordon Lightfoot, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bob Seger.
"And I have some original songs I play. I've written one called 'West Virginia Calling Me Home.' I'm hoping to get that one out there. I just want people to hear it."
Q: With playing at two very different places, is what you play different?
A: "At Los Agaves, especially when I play out on the patio, it can get a little more rambunctious, but I'm playing outside.
"Robert Wong, wonderful guy, the man who started the Bistro, I didn't know him until I started playing there. He came down one time to Los Agaves, I think, with his father-in-law. Anyway, he caught one of the later, higher energy sets, and he told me, 'Tom, you can do that at the Bistro in the last hour?' And I do if the energy is there, if that's what people want."
Reach Bill Lynch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5195.