"I grew up on the Gulf Coast," he said. "Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Buffet -- they're some of the people who are my roots, I guess. I like a good story and strong characters."
There are plenty of those here in West Virginia, he said.
"I was asked to contribute a song for the Coal River Group. They wanted us to find something either recreational or historical about the Coal River, and I went straight for the history."
Using Google, he found out about Captain Bill Griffith, a riverboat captain in the mid-to-late 1800s.
"There were actually three Captain Bills on the river at the time," Rabalais said. "Back then, people were really proud of their nicknames, and there was a Lying Captain Bill, a Fighting Captain Bill and a Drinking Captain Bill -- but they all answered to all of them because they wanted to work."
So, he wrote a song about the lying, fighting, drinking Captain Bill.
"I sort of rolled them all up together," he said.
It's a song he's been playing lately, although not as much as he'd like.
For a year or two, Rabalais oversaw the songwriter stage at the Daily Cup in South Charleston, but then the coffeehouse moved to downtown Charleston and cut out its evening hours.
"I miss that," he said.
Still, Rabalais said he's looking forward to playing GoodNight. He promised a few originals and a few covers.
"There will be plenty of music and some stories," he said.
Sometimes, the two might be the same thing.
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.