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Artist Spotlight – September 2022

Caleb Bailey – September Artist Spotlight

September is a big month in the history of The United States. Over twenty years ago on September 11th, our country was hit in three cities but in the hearts of millions! With all this in mind, I thought it would be fitting to have an artist that wrote ‘United Flight 93’ and serves our country as a first responder/firefighter. Many of you may know him already but for those of you that do not, let me introduce you to Caleb Bailey of Caleb Bailey & Paine’s Run. Caleb Bailey was born on April 21st and is from Grottoes, Virginia.

Grottoes, Virginia is a small town (less than 5,000 people) in Augusta and Rockingham counties of Virginia. It is the home of the Grand Caverns, America’s oldest show cave. The name Grottoes, meaning caves, was given to the town in 1912 by the Act of the General Assembly – changing it from Shendon. Then in 1948 the town had a central water system installed along with starting its first Volunteer Fire Department. As of today, the Volunteer Fire Department is still the main force of protecting the town of Grottoes with the support of two Rockingham County Fire-Rescue stations.

Caleb started singing as early as he can remember, and most memories of singing were during church services. At the age of 16 yrs., Caleb’s curiosity grew and drew him to learning how to play a guitar as there was always one laying around the house and hearing his great grandad ask if he had started playing guitar yet. His first public appearance was at the Dean family Reunion. The family has a longstanding tradition of playing bluegrass at their reunions and it runs through several generations of the family. If you were to ask his parents for some scoop of any stories, more than likely, they would only tell you of how his singing and playing began when he got an Ukulele. Now, rumor has it, there may be some home movies of him and his brother singing and pretending to play instruments… Not sure about you, but I’m thinking those videos just may have a couple stories in them.

Caleb graduated from Fort Defiance High School, Fort Defiance, VA in 2004. From there, he furthered his education and graduated from Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, VA in 2009. All the way through school, Caleb has always loved history. As country music has drifted away from songs with threads of history, he feels that bluegrass has held tight and continued producing such songs. Every time Caleb hears songs like ‘Rebel Soldier’, ‘He Walked All the Way Home’ or even ‘Molly and Tenbrooks’ he feels more connected to time and getting a glimpsed of something that once was, and he is enamored of that.

As a graduate of Bridgewater College, Caleb’s heart was touched in many ways when he heard the news of the Bridgewater College shooting and two officers being killed. As a first responder, having close loved ones that are police officers, and a songwriter, a song about the day of tragedy came to life. Listening to the song ‘No Greater Love’ paints a picture that allows you to get a sense of what many people go through on a daily basis as first a responder or as a loved one of one.

The song ‘Camille’ (FIRST single of his second album) is a story from the past that Caleb found himself extremely connected to even though the event happened some 17 years prior to his birth. Camille was a Category 5 hurricane that made a path from Mississippi to the Ohio Valley. It has been known as the second most intense tropical cyclone to strike the United States. Camille hit Nelson County Virginia in August of 1969 with no warning and killed 124 people. Caleb felt the desire to write a song about Camille because of its devastation and how many people of his age never knew about the storm or its wrath.

After watching many documentaries there was a story about a 14 yrs. old boy, named Warren Raines, that stuck out to Caleb. Warren and his brother, 16 yrs. old, survived but sadly lost five members of their family that night. After learning more of his story, Caleb was inspired to write ‘Camille’. Earlier this year, Caleb was on his way to the studio and decided to stop in Nelson County for some snacks. As he was walking down the street and rounded a corner, Caleb literally ran into Warren. As God has always been a driver in Caleb’s life, Caleb felt that God led him right to exact point of crossing paths with Warren. From that point, Caleb knew that was the story God wanted him to tell. Since the meeting, Caleb and Warren have talked numerous hours and have even done interviews together. With the human connection added to all he learned through documentaries, ‘Camille’ now has a much deeper meaning to Caleb. Warren has instilled the inspiration of living each day like it’s the last because loss can happen quickly and at any time.

As Caleb felt it was necessary to do a lyric video, it was just as important to him to produce one that matches the level of storytelling through the song. After reaching out to The Nelson County Historical Society, Caleb was issued the rights to use the actual pictures of the devastation and asked to sing the song at their commemoration event. On August 19th, the same night Camille hit Nelson County 53 yrs. ago, Caleb had a ‘Camille’ CD release party, and all ticket sales went to benefit the Nelson County Historical Society. You can watch the video on his website

As a firefighter, Caleb goes to work with the reality every day that he may have to see death, and for some, including himself, may not make it home. Songs like ‘United Flight 93’, ‘No Greater Love’ and ‘Old Scrap Piece of Wood’ all came from the deep personal perspective of what it was like to lose someone unexpectedly. Caleb’s intent for his songs are to share that gut feeling and somehow make others remember or feel something that can move or inspire. If Caleb can make someone hug their loved ones an extra second longer, shed a tear from a memory they once had, or smile because they share a feeling with a song, then he has done his job as an artist.

As a songwriter, Caleb takes pride in all his lyrics and has always seen himself as a songwriter first and foremost. With having a special way of writing from history and painting beautiful work with his lyrics, Caleb released a very touching and memorable song in September of 2021. He felt that the story and solemnness of ‘United Flight 93’ was very important for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The song was written with actual memories people have from that day and elegantly delivered. ‘United Flight 93’ definitely brings you back in time. Writing that song, Caleb was honored to have the opportunity to record with guest vocalist Wayne Taylor. As this song was on the Bluegrass Borderline Top Ten countdown for nine weeks (#1 for five straight) last year, Caleb is so thankful for everyone that requested the song and hopes that it will continue to be played and live during the memorials and tributes of 9/11.

Caleb’s most memorable moment was when he was standing beside Christine and got introduced to their amazing little man Colt. Family is his everything and he couldn’t imagine life without them in it. As a proud daddy, he is so happy that Colt loves music and people but is extremely excited that they gave him a “cool stage name”! The one memory that Caleb hopes to make is singing a song that he wrote at the Grand Ole Opry with Christine and Colt there sharing his musical dream come true.

As mentioned above, family is important to Caleb – he has a very good relationship with his family and even closer relationship with his parents and grandparents. With that being said, it was easy for him to tell me that his Grandma Deanna is his biggest inspiration. She may not have played music but she is at every possible show she can be at and is always chasing the dream with him. She honestly is his biggest cheerleader in life, rather it is music, family, gardening or anything, she is always there for him. His parents and other grandparents are also right beside me making music videos and attending as many shows as possible. He honestly feels he wouldn’t be where he is today without the love and support of them ALL. If it was possible, Caleb would love to be able to sit under a shade tree and introduce his baby boy and beautiful girlfriend to his grandparents that have passed and tell them how much they are missed. He would also love to be able to share a minute with Uncle Kenny, a great drummer, and have a good laugh one more time. As many see legends or famous people as their inspiration or hero’s, Caleb finds it all in the heart of his family.

Stonewall Jackson is someone that Caleb would love to be able to speak with from the past. He thinks it would be awesome to hear what his voice and what his personality was like. Plus, with the Battle of Port Republic and Cross Keys literally happening in his current hometown, Caleb would love to hear the stories Stonewall Jackson probably has since he was at both. Along with Stonewall Jackson, Caleb remembers two statues in the foyer of the Confederate White House in Richmond, Virginia that have been in place since the construction of the house which is pre-civil war. Caleb wishes the statues could talk because they have seen Lincoln, Jackson, Lee, Davis, Stewart, Grant and a host of others along with hearing many stories over the years.

As I ask all artists, I asked Caleb what advice he would give any new/up and coming artist. Caleb said,” You should not sacrifice your artistry for the sake of spins. You are the artist, your music is who you are, don’t give up on the sounds and the songs you want to make to get spins or to get in the clique. Be truthful to yourself and the rest will follow”.

From myself and many others, I would like to personally thank Caleb and all the firefighters out there!


Fast Firing Fun Facts:

What is your favorite Holiday and why? Christmas, it’s Christmas, everyone is HAPPY!

Do you have a nickname? CB

Do you have a pet-peeve? People who drive slowly in the left lane on the interstate!!

What is your favorite drink? Coffee

What is your favorite type of vehicle? 4-wheeler

Do you have a hobby outside of music? Firefighting and Event organizing for fundraising events

What is your favorite kind of Ice Cream? Mint Chocolate Chip

What is your favorite junk food? Ice Cream

Do you have any pet(s) and what are their names? Marshal (German Shepard), Ember (Cat)

What is your favorite book that you have read or author that you like to read? The Bible, not much of a reader but if I am going to read, it’s likely going to be the Bible.

What is your favorite movie line? “Somebody ought to belt you in the mouth, but I won’t, the hell I won’t”, from McClintock.

News or Upcoming news from artist:

On August 19, 2022, Caleb Bailey & Paine’s Run dropped their new album titled ‘Camille’. The main writer for the album was Caleb himself. Rob Slusser and Chase Burley-Smith contributed one instrumental song. Caleb’s favorite song on the album is ‘Old Scrap Piece of Wood’ because it was a true story about him and his grandfather.

Keep an eye out for new songs that Caleb is stoked about! He has been honored to co-write with some of the top award-winning songwriters, for instance, Rick Lang, Tim Stafford and David Morris.

Are you going to be in or around Grottoes, Virginia on 12/9/22 and/or 12/10/22? If so or making plans to be, make sure to check out their Merry Mountain Christmas Event. Tickets are $50 which includes meal, music and three adult beverages. Information can be found on their website. Caleb Bailey & Paine’s Run is featured as host band with “Shenandoah Drive” and other special quest performers. They are excited about this event and hoping to establish this as a holiday tradition, with a Hallmark/family feel.

Caleb will also be joining me, Michelle Lee, at my booth at IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) on September 29th. Come say hi and visit!

Website for artist, tour dates and/or merchandise:

Check out the artist/band website for all their new songs, tour dates and merchandise. The best way to support our local broadcasters and artists are through their sales – CDs, albums, shirts and etc. Let’s show our support – go check their website.