I met a girl who sang the blues, And I asked her for some happy news, But she just smiled and turned away…

Not much has been posted on here recently, for reasons that are hopefully obvious. I was reviewing this blog and thinking about some of the Tours that I've done while listening to some of my music. My mind went back to one of my favourite Tours, Tracks of the Deep South, or, as I prefer …

9/11

Today is the day that we remember the dreadful events in 2001. It's one of those events, like the JFK assassination or the moon landing that many of us over a certain age will recall, and always remember where we were when it happened. I was in a shopping mall in London. Hearing that something …

Fleet Week

Well it's been another great day on memorial day weekend, but this time in New York City. this week has been Fleet Week, which basically means that the Navy visits New York and has a thoroughly good time. Everywhere you go in midtown Manhattan there are the men and women of the Navy in their …

Gypsy Chickens

Our recent visit to Key West is now fading into memory as I begin the prep work for the Summer Season of Tours. There's one thing left to do... I promised Georgie Atherton that I 'd write about the Key West Gypsy Chickens! Way back in the day, Key West residents kept chickens, both for …

Home

Something of an epic journey back from Vladivostok - It took 21 hours door to door! There were no delays, it just takes that long. I got home and slept (sort of) although the 10 hour time change isn't making like easy at the moment. I phoned the office early this morning and had to …

Why AMTRAK get a tough break

I came across this video which explains rather well the issues that affect AMTRAK trains in the USA, despite the unpromising title. My clients on USA Tours are often surprised by the slightly ramshackle state of the rolling stock and the smallness of some stations and passenger handling facilities. They also often wonder why there …

Livin’, Louvin, Losin’

Nope - not a typo! The Louvin Brothers were an American musical duo composed of brothers Ira (the taller of the two) and Charlie Louvin who performed secular country music, as well as fire and brimstone Gospel. The album cover shown above is for the latter. Designed by Ira Louvin, the cover features the brothers standing …

Gandy Dancers

Continuing my preparation for the upcoming 'Tracks Of The Deep South' Tour and I came across the Gandy Dancers. Their songs, combined with the spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants of Black America feed directly into the creation of the Blues, and since we'll be visiting Beale Street, Memphis, the birthplace of the Blues, …

Zydeco or Cajun?

Think of New Orleans and you think of Jazz, or at least that's the prevailing wisdom. When I think of visiting New Orleans I tend to think of it being another opportunity to enjoy both Zydeco & Cajun music - but what are they exactly, and what is the difference between them? In simple terms, …

Do You Know What It Means…?

Continuing research today for the upcoming 'Tracks of the Deep South' Tour (or, as I like to call it 'The Music Tour'). I'm looking at New Orleans at the moment. Sometime in the next few days I'll post a blog entry about the differences between 'Cajun' and 'Zydeco' music and why I love them both. …

The Million Dollar Quartet

My next Tour is a second chance to enjoy the "Tracks of the Deep South", a romp through the musical heritage of the USA and some of the slightly less well visited states and places in my favourite country. It's early days yet, but I'm beginning to start the process of doing my homework on …

Home

Got back home from Sicily last night and slept for 9 hours, then today. Unpacked.Completed PaperworkPosted QuestionnairesPolished ShoesWalked DogReceived Information pack for next Tour in 7 days Now, relax with glass of red and a very garlicky Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner. And the music to do it all by comes from the woman with one …

America’s Founding History

I'm now in the final stages of prep for this tour, and I have to say that I'm rather looking forward to it. In just under two weeks we cover a little bit of the early colonies (Jamestown), The American Revolution (Yorktown), The Civil War (Gettysburg & Virginia) and The Declaration of Independence/Constitution (Monticello, Washington …

Hyperlapse Manhattan

There are no end of Manhattan videos available but this one is really something different and special. If your bandwidth allows, run in HD and full screen. I'll be there in two weeks and will need to photographically up my game if only for my self respect. https://vimeo.com/217449774

The Transamerican Rail Tour

Summer is starting to get busier - after a short rest, I'm already preparing for the next tour and this time it's the big one, the Cadillac of tours; the one that I joined for. It's some way out but so far the weather looks to be more settled than the last time I did this …

Tracks of the Deep South

My next tour leaves on Saturday - Atlanta, Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans and Houston. This is going to involve all of my favourite music! From now on I'm going to need to do a Welcome Meeting for my clients on the first morning. Nothing too fancy, just a chance for the clients to know what …

Hurt

With just over a week to go before I set off on the 'Tracks of the Deep South' Tour and I'm getting myself in the mind set with Dusk-to-Dawn Country, Blues, Cajun, Zydeco & Jazz loaded on the iPhone and streaming from room to room. I keep returning to one song. Despite all his previous excellent …

Southern Rock Reborn

Try and imagine... Bonnie Raitt is working in a recording studio when in walk the Allman Brothers Band and ask to join the set as do various Jazz & Soul session musicians. Next, add to the recipe a little of the improv feel of a good Dave Matthews Band gig, a sip from the whiskey jar of …

Amtrak Conductors

Dawn Albuquerque, New Mexico This photo caught my eye because it captures some of my favourite things about travel with Amtrak in the USA. Firstly, the metallic coach exterior; for me there is something exciting about this exterior finish which may be related to my airline background. It just looks more appealing to my eyes. Secondly, the …

Presidential Inauguration

I don't propose to comment on the suitability or otherwise of any candidate for the Presidency. I'm not an American registered voter and when I visit the USA (which I do frequently and with great pleasure) I do so as a guest - meaning that it would be absolutely inappropriate for me to express any such views. …