Charles Wesley Godwin Tells The Incredible True Story Behind His Haunting Song, “The Flood”

Charles Wesley Godwin country music
David McClister

An incredible song based on an incredible (and true) story.

This week, Charles Wesley Godwin sat down with Kelleigh Bannen on Today’s Country Radio on Apple Music Country to discuss his life growing up in West Virginia, his newfound country fame, and how the mountains of Appalachia have inspired his music.

Specifically, he told the story behind  “The Flood,” a song that was inspired by a story about his parents driving over a broken bridge to get home during the devastating floods, known as the Killer Floods or the Election Day Floods, that hit his home state of West Virginia in 1985.

Included on his 2023 major label debut album Family Ties that was recorded at Echo Mountain in Asheville, CWG says the flood he’s referencing in the song happened seven years before he was born. He’s heard plenty of family members talk about it over the years, and eventually, had to write about it:

“It happened seven years before I was born, so I’ve only gone off of the stories that my grandparents, my uncle, my mom and dad would tell about it.

So in 1985, there was a hurricane that had come up from the southeast and it dropped way more rain than the mountains could handle, and all the streams, so it just caused a biblical amount of flooding in the area where my family’s from in Seneca Rocks, West Virginia.

So my mom and dad wait around another day or so until the rain was done, because there’s no way… You couldn’t do it while the storm was there. Once the storm had passed, they get in the car, try to drive their way down through the mountains, and they got to this place called Red Creek.

And the way the story goes is my dad was like, ‘We can’t go any further. This is done.'”

His dad stopped the car and asked his mom, Kim, what she wanted to do. She told him to “Go for it,” and they managed to make it over the broken bridge. Unfortunately, because the flooding was so intense, they didn’t get much further before they realized they weren’t going to have any luck getting out.

Eventually, they walked across the ridge tops to get back to their home in Seneca:

“And he stopped the car and turned to my mom and he said, “Kim, what do you want to do?” My mom’s a fifth-grade school teacher, and she said, ‘Go for it.’

So he backed up and they floored it and made it over to this broken bridge and they drove down the valley a little further, and then it got to a point where the water was from ridgeline to ridgeline.

So they had to kind of pull the car up along the side of the hill, and then they got out and walked across the ridge tops to get back to Seneca.”

Fortunately, everyone in their family was okay and made it through the crazy weather:

“And that night, which that might be maybe a few miles, my parents were coming down from the top and they could see the barn way out in the distance and there was a flashlight. And they get down to the barn, it’s my uncle Rick, and he was waiting on them…

And he said, ‘I just had a feeling you might be coming.’ He had no idea. And then they went back down, and fortunately my grandparents, my great-grandmother, my uncle Rick, they were all okay.”

It’s songs like this, based on real life experiences and stories, that make CWG the unique, intriguing and authentic artist that he is.

His haunting vocals of course make the song feel even more authentic and heavy than it already is, and per the usual, he tells a true story of life in Appalachia that makes the region so special, and helps keep the great country music from artists like him flowing.

And if you haven’t heard it yet, I hope I’ve convinced you by now to check it out. The live performance with his full band, Allegheny High, at Echo Mountain is incredible:

“The Flood”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock