Caleb Bailey & Paine’s Run

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by Kara Martinez Bachman

I wrote the song ‘Camille’ to tell the tragic story of the night that Nelson County, Virginia was devastated by the hurricane that claimed the lives of over a hundred people and washed away homes and cars.

Caleb Bailey

Caleb Bailey & Paine's Run

Inspired by tragedy and weird coincidence

With hurricane season in full swing right now, it’s a time of the year when many down south can’t help but face memories of trying times and dire struggles. For Caleb Bailey & Paine’s Run, one of those memories led to a song and a new firsthand relationship with a harrowing storm tale of the past.

The infamous storm came ashore along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and leveled those communities, but people further inland were not spared its wrath. As it made its way north and curved eastward, much of its strength remained, and Camille was still a tropical depression over Nelson County, Virginia. It dropped an incredible amount of rain.

"I watched hours of documentaries on YouTube about the hurricane," Bailey said of the 1969 tempest. "In doing so, I came across the story of Warren Raines and his family. Warren's family was killed in the flood, and he and his brother were the surviving members of the house that night. I remember being captivated by his story and wanted to capture that feeling into my song."

Bailey said on the way into the studio to record, they stopped in Lovingston, Virginia, which is in Nelson County, about an hour from Bailey’s home.

“We stopped to grab groceries for lunch that day, and when I rounded the corner in the frozen section of the store, I bumped into none other than Warren Raines,” Bailey said. It was an incredible coincidence. “Of course, he didn’t know me, so I introduced myself and explained the irony that I was going to record ‘Camille,’ based in many ways on his account of that night.”

“We both were shell-shocked and exchanged numbers,” Bailey continued.

Of course, Raines was given a copy of the song.

 

"We collaborated with The Nelson County Historical Society to have our CD release party in Nelson County. All the funds from ticket sales went to the society, and they were nice enough to allow us to use actual pictures of the devastation for our lyric video," Bailey said. "We are proud of how much airplay it has gotten," he said, adding that he appreciates the results from a media and radio distribution plan that promoted the band's music through Get it Played (Getitplayed.com).

The new song – and meeting its inspiration in person on a lark –  isn’t the only rewarding thing that’s happened to Bailey recently. First, he took the leap in 2021 after years as a solo act; he now shares the spotlight with Paine’s Run, named after a creek and road near his house.

“My solo project ‘Poplar & Pine’ was a success and featured my first #1 song in ‘Grim Reaper.’ Folks were wanting me to play, and I didn’t have a steady band, so I started to assemble Paine’s Run,” he explained. “When we come to play a show, you won’t hear a lot of cover songs. We love and appreciate the music, but we play original music in the traditional vein.”

A unique opportunity to take in that music is coming this winter. Caleb Bailey & Paine’s Run will host “Merry Mountain Christmas” in Grottoes, Virginia on December 9 and 10. This event will be an evening of music, dinner, and drinks featuring Shenandoah Drive, two 45-minute sets by Paine’s Run, and several featured special guests.

Aside from music – or, maybe as an addendum to it (only time will tell) – yet another happy occurrence recently graced Bailey’s life.

"My girlfriend Christine and I welcomed a son last year, Colt Steele. He is the joy of our life," Bailey said. "He loves music. When he hears us playing, he starts yelling 'Da!' and running to the group. He slaps on the bass and the guitar, claps for himself and laughs, and then does it again!" Bailey added, "I would never force music on him, but I feel like he will have the gift in his life. He had an excitement for it naturally, and that has me so excited about the future and the potential to play with my son."

It seems music is also in Bailey’s blood; his great grandparents were musicians and bluegrass promoters, and his great uncle played with Tom T. Hall and Eddie Rabbit as a steel guitar and dobro player. He grew up with this stuff the same way his son will.

“The thing I love most about bluegrass is it is a simple yet complex art form,” Bailey said. “I also love that the genre still speaks about family, history, and some things other genres have lost interest in. I love history and simple things in life, like gardening, so the natural sounds the instruments make are attractive to me.”