Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Next year

I think I've decided what I want to do next year. Cycling around
America playing shows. I could say in going to cycle to every state
but I'm tired of goals and targets. I still plan to do every country
in Europe this year but only because having a story makes booking
easier. But next year I plan to be much more relaxed about it, and I
can be without any travel costs.

I'll tell people I'm doing it my bicycle to be 'carbon neutral', which
us very popular nowadays (one guy got a write-up in Time magazine and
lots of people out at his shows when he toured by canoe). But really
I'm doing it because I want to be out on my bike. Stuck on the
interstate for hours on end, not seeing any of the countryside, and
getting stiffer and stiffer is no fun.

I was thinking about a trailer for the guitar but that will really
slow me down, so instead I'll get a ukelele because it's much smaller
and why not make it easy for myself for once.

Monday, 29 March 2010

The paper birds at it again

Fellow storytellers

Music shop

Matt's got me working in his shop to pay my rent.

Country cooking

I'm getting some good food. Hollis was Bob Dylan's personal chef for
years. My lyrics are already improving.

Blue plate

Every lunchtime you can walk down and see live bands perform on the
radio. Knoxville's certainly a nice town.

There was the Big Ears festival at the weekend but I didn't get to see
any of it as it was sold out.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Tennessee allstars

Jam band

Hanging out drinking sake and listening to Matt and his friends play
old time string band music. Great fun. Makes me wish I was a musician
rather than a three-chord songwriter and could play along, they really

Top class service

Mr Merlock fixing my new pickup


I've got three days off. Whipppeeeee. When you're booking a tour a
three day gap is an embarasment, but when you're actually on tour it's
a godsend. I was really getting bored of playing the same old songs.
I've got to memorise a few more in these days.

I'm staying with Matt and Hollis, old friends that I've only met once
before. I'll stay here for as long as they'll have me. I'm sleeping in
the gym so I should be fitter by osmosis by the end of my stay.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The Downtown - Morristown, TN

Joe Dunn on stage after me. Good to have a local aways as I think it
would be empty otherwise.

Open mic in Java Garden, Morristown

I was waiting in a cafe around the corner from the venue, waiting for
it to open, and it turned out to be their open mic, so I did a few
songs to publicise the show and sold some CDs. Opportune.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Eddie's Attic - Decatur, GA

A great show in a real listening room. Packed out thanks to Caroline the main act. 300+ capacity crowd.

Decatur is a nice town. A suburb of Atlanta. The Indigo girls are from here, and it has a big ladies community - it's nickname is Dickhater.

Eddie of the attic

Adriane, my German host in Knoxville

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Christmas lights and some sort of stand

10 minutes before show time

Huge venue. Ani DiFranco and Henry Rollins play here as well this
month. But a capacity crowd has not turned up fir the Foundation.

Pre-gig pool

Beats checking email.

I love camping stores

Full of compact goodies for the committed reductionist.


The US has joined the civilised world with universal healthcare. But
half of Americans seem to be against it. In the quiz last night there
was a team called "Obama care has f***ed more people than Tiger
Woods". It really makes you wonder what you can ever do to change ill-
informed rednecks like that. It leaves you speechless.

There isn't even a public option in the bill -it's still all private
insurance companies, but now they have to allow everyone and can't say
no to people with pre-existing medical conditions like my friend Kevin.


I got stopped for speeding yesterday. Only a little over. I was
agreeing with everything the officer said automatically as is best. He
saw my foreign licence and said .."and you wouldn't pay the ticket if
I gave you one would you." - "no officer". So he let me off.

Seth and bike

Dropped my host Seth off to pick his bike up from the repair shop.
That would be a way to tour. I'd need a sidecar for Martin (my guitar).

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Quiz night in Nashville

With Seth and his friends.

Morning view

Woke up with a nice view of the lake from the condo.

I had couchsurfing lined up but it was nicer to get my own place,
thanks to Ace, a friend of Donkey who runs water sports on the lake.

Crazy gang

Donkey, one of the guys in this gang format radio show, asked me in to
play ADD. A very early start but it has a lot of listeners, getting
syndicated out toair force bases, such as Mildenhall near where I grew
up in England.

They get up to some high jinx. This guy had to talk through a tube
because he was late, or accept the forefit of being pepper-sprayed
(one of the group is a policeman). He chose to get sprayed.


It went really well last night. I got offered a condo for the night, a
radio slot and a residency when it's busier in the summer. A good
start to the tour in a really nice venue.

Monday, 22 March 2010

The automobile

I've had enough of the car already. From now on it's train or bicycle.

Mxines - Hot Springs, AR

This is real touring. 10 hours in the car. Only an hour before the
show to eat and I still feel in motion. Everyone's so friendly here.
Bill Clinton's hometown. Maxines us a funky red velvet venue. Monday
so it's quiet but will be a nice show I think.

Meals on wheels

I'm not struggling to find good lunch options this time. Motorway
service stations offer little nutrition. It's tins of soup for lunch
for the next three months.


Said goodbye to my little brother at his work. I won't get to see him
again for another year.

Porterdavis rock the barn dance

The end of SXSW. I bumped into Lucky Fonz from Amsterdam. Good to see
a familiar face.

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Friday, 19 March 2010

Indian day

I've been hanging out with MA all day. The early morning yoga class,
and back in the evening for meditation, a potluck dinner and indian
music to celebrate the opening if a new yoga studio. Austin has lots
of old hippies and they've all come out for this event. It's a good
place to relax.

A few hours at SXSW were enough for me. It's definitely quantity over
quality. There are good acts playing (Ray Davies was on last night)
but you have to have a festival pass AND be prepared to queue early.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Ayurveda doctor

I saw Craig Williams, a doctor of Ayurvedic medicine in Austin this
evening. I've been having some problems, not helped by all the
travelling, and he really helped me out. If you're having any health
problems, I recommend it more than anything else. It is a science of
how to live. But it's quite confusing from books, to find what dosha
you are and what's best, which is why seeing Craig was revelatory.

Sun at last


My brother's band at Maggie Mae's Gibson showcase.

Progress report: Only God-awful EMO bands so far


Wednesday, 17 March 2010


Simon and Paul checking out the blog.


I landed at 11pm and the rental company had run out of economy cars so
I had my choice of cars. I was tempted with the sports cars but sense
won out unfortunately and I went for the Prius hybrid. Economical.

And with a photo...

Barefoot running shoes

(I know that's an oxymoron) for running on tiptoes. Supposed to be better for your body. Everyone in the future has them. And they're good for a reductionist such as myself because they're compact and replace running shoes and flipflops. AND I'll need less socks. A very exciting development!

Home depot

He runs a foundation business. Not my kind of foundation, the things
under houses.

First stop

Meet up with my brother

1st couch

With MA in Austin. That's her name not her level of education. Her
first couchsurfer. I'm honoured. She's very brave having some strange
guy coming to stay for four days, even though none of my charges have
ever been proven.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

To Texas

Off to Austin for SXSW the industry schmooze-fest today. I'm nit
playing, just observing. I could have paid $500 and attended all the
seminars and events. The old Jack would have burnt himself out trying
to see everything, but I'm not a searcher anymore. There are plenty of
free events I've heard, with everyone offering free food and drink
just to get an audience. I've made no plans, I'm just going to wander
round and see what I see.

I need a rest after these four days. It's quite tiring in the studio.
Not that I did much but sit around after the first day, but it
requires attention and they're 12 hour days. The drama is another
factor from all the characters involved. Yesterday afternoon for
example, Kevin was threatened by the owner of the last studio who says
he owes him money, then he fell off his chair cutting his leg open,
and one of his other clients, a 19 year old lad had come off his
medication and called up to discuss suicide. In the evening an old
country star came in to record for a couple of hours, smelling like he
hadn't washed in a month. A pretty quiet day.

But from chaos often comes greatness and I'm delighted with what we

Monday, 15 March 2010

New video

The videos finished already - in two days. The guy must have been editing through the night. America hey - what a country ;)

The searcher - found

Finished. What a productive four days. An album, a video and now a single.

It should come with a health warning as it's very catchy and wears a groove in your brain. May cause brain damage.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Still searching

Bass and guitar first today with Lou.

The song is my My Way, and we are using it as a template. Kevin did
live sound for Paul Anka (who wrote My Way) and worked on the crew for
Frank Sinatra and Frank Jnr, so he's heard My Way more times than
most, which is very useful.

We put lots of strings on yesterday and coming in to hear it today
with fresh ears it sounds really wonderful. The best track we've done
so far. OK the strings are from a keyboard but they play nice rifts
which is what matters.