4 p.m. - Elvis impersonator
Gil Bridges is a rarity in his own band, Rare Earth.
He's the guy who started the band in 1960 when it was first called the Sunliners and rode through every Motown up and down, including bumps in popularity and many changes in the lineup.
"I've always said this was the one and only band I've ever been in. It's me. I started it, and as changes came along, I rode right with them," he said.
It's not a bad place to be at all, he said from his home in Michigan.
From about May through October or November, the saxophonist and lead vocalist joins his current lineup for a concert series that mostly includes festivals, like this weekend's Ribfest in South Charleston, where the band headlines on Saturday night.
The band, which includes Randy Burghdoff on bass and vocals, Ray Monette on lead guitar and vocals, Mike Bruner on keyboard and Floyd Stokes on drums and vocals, also picks up a couple of gigs, often at casinos, in the winter months to stay in shape.
The 35 or so dates a year are just enough for musicians who are enjoying the semi-retired life.
"In the summer, I do a lot of boating," Bridges said. In winter months, he says he enjoys "lying on the couch with my (TV) clicker."
The band knows its lineup so well, it really doesn't have to rehearse. The repertoire is about a dozen songs. When you consider that the band's hit, "Get Ready," runs 18 minutes, that list quickly fills an evening.
"Most of our songs are seven minutes or longer. We don't really have any short songs," Bridges said.
"Everybody has to be personally in shape and ready to perform, but we don't have to rehearse. I sometimes go two or three weeks without picking it up," he said of his saxophone.
"But then I have to start playing a couple hours a day just to get my embouchure in shape. I never had a problem with the breathing part, but if I don't play, my mouth goes soft."
Bridges said the band's music seems to appeal to a broad range of ages.
"At fairs and festivals, people come and they have their kids with them. It's great to see the smiles on their faces," he said.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.