Since moving to Charleston from New York three years ago, husband-and-wife bandmates Megan Jean Glemboski and Byrne Klay have spent as much time on the road as they have in town. This month, while stranded in New Orleans, they had to perform their way back on track.
The duo wrecked their Honda in May. They borrowed a Hyundai Sonata to hit the highway again. Four weeks later, they suffered a breakdown in New Orleans. After a mid-June gig in the French Quarter, they were scheduled to play in Ocean Springs, Miss., at a club called the Squeaky Lizard. They barely made it.
"We were heading out of town when the engine just seized up and quit in Chef Menteur," Glemboski says. "I left my keys with a mechanic named Q, and we called the club to cancel. The owner ended up driving 150 miles round trip to pick us up. We played the show, and he drove us back to New Orleans the next day. Our friends in the Dirty Bourbon River Show said we were fine to stay until the car got fixed."
One mechanic after another confirmed the bad news: The engine was shot. They made a few gigs in Lafayette and Ocean Springs via rental cars, but had to wait for eight days for the least expensive shop to do the work.
"Eight days — that's how New Orleans rolls," Glemboski says. "So we hit the French Quarter hard, busking in Jackson Square."
Stranded indefinitely, Glemboski and Klay crashed with the generous Dirty Bourbon family in New Orleans' Marigny neighborhood.
"It was actually lovely," says Glemboski. "Never once did they say, 'Y'all gotta go.' They just treated us like family. We got better. Playing for six hours a day on the street will do that."
The mechanic got the car running, but not enough to take back to Charleston. Dead-broke on the Fourth of July, they ventured into a Honda dealership and arranged a loan deal. But they needed a $1,000 down payment.
"We were broke, so busked until we made it," says Glemboski. "We strolled into the dealership on July 5 and drove out in a new Honda Element. We missed a bunch of shows, but we made some of the greatest memories of our lives."