The 1937 Flood Watch
The 1937 Flood Watch Podcast
"Peaceful Easy Feeling"

"Peaceful Easy Feeling"

#331 / March 29 Podcast

She promised meet him after work, but she never showed up. Disappointed, he did what you do if you’re an aspiring composer: He put it all down in a song.

A scene like that plays out every day somewhere in America. But it’s not every day that the resulting song becomes one of the most cherished tunes of the decade.

Coffeehouse Roots

“Peaceful Easy Feeling” began life on the cold linoleum floor of a coffeehouse after closing time. It was 1969 and a San Diego hippie by the name of Jack Tempchin was playing a gig in nearby El Centro.

“I was single, and I’d made it big with the waitress,” Tempchin recalled to Cathy Applefeld Olson in an article in Billboard a few years ago. “She was gonna take me to her place, so I told the guys I didn’t need a ride to the place we were staying. I was gonna be fine. But then she left and never came back.”

A stranger in town with no ride home, Tempchin crashed on the coffeehouse’s floor, but he couldn't sleep. To kill time, he grabbed his guitar and started composing, writing down some lyrics on the back of one of the flyers for his show.

Today that 50-year-old flyer is preserved in Los Angeles’s Grammy Museum.

Enter The Eagles

“Peaceful Easy Feeling” began that night, but it actually was finished in stages, during which time Tempchin made his way to L.A. where he hung out with up-and-coming stars-to-be of California’s music scene.

He was staying with Jackson Browne at one point when Glenn Frey dropped in and heard Tempchin playing that song. Frey asked if he could record it. “So he recorded it on a cassette,” Tempchin told Doug Burke of the Backstory Song newsletter recently.

“He came back the next day. They had already toured with Linda Ronstadt, and he said, ‘I’ve got a new band, Jack. We've been together eight days, and we worked up your song.’ And he played a cassette for me of The Eagles doing ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling.’”

It was the first time he heard vocal harmonization of his work. It certainly wouldn’t be the last. The third single from The Eagles’ 1972 debut album, “Peace Easy Feeling” reached No. 22 on the charts, and today it is still one of the band's most popular songs.

Our Takes on the Take

Meanwhile, when that tune hit the radio, Flood co-founder-to-be Roger Samples was just out of school and working at his first social studies teaching job in Pocahontas County, WV.

Lonely to be so far away from his own coffeehouse days back at Marshall University — and especially missing his old picking partner Dave Peyton — Rog worked out a tasty solo version of the song. He was still playing it when he came back to Huntington in 1974.

By the time of his debut at the Bowen Bashes that autumn, Roger was more than ready to share his arrangement, as you’ll hear on this track — with Bill Hoke on dobro and Peyton on Autoharp — recorded at that very party a half century ago:

Roger Samples, 1974

Now Fast Forward 50 Years

These days to give the tune a new sound, The Flood last week let Charlie’s banjo happily trot alongside Jack’s drum and Randy’s bass, ready to frame the vocals and those sweet solos by Danny and Sam.

Oh, and, hey, be sure to listen to the whole track so you don’t miss our surprise ending. We wrap up with some old-time music, a little sumpin-sumpin circa 1680.

The 1937 Flood Watch
The 1937 Flood Watch Podcast
Each week The 1937 Flood, West Virginia's most eclectic string band, offers a free tune from a recent rehearsal, show or jam session. Music styles range from blues and jazz to folk, hokum, ballad and old-time. All the podcasts, dating back to 2008, are archived on our website; you and use the archive for free at: