True stories from the front lines of American music

Another repost from my musical pilgrimage through the Deep South in summer 2006. This item was posted Tuesday, July 4, after I made my roundabout way back from Texas through Hank Williams country in central Alabama.

Sunday’s drive was a marathon along the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coasts and into Alabama. Right as I got into cajun country at Lafayette, the rain started pouring down so hard that it was hard to see the road. I think I missed a lot of beautiful country driving through that rainstorm. By the time the rain let up, all the place names that are familiar to me from James Lee Burke’s great mystery novels (set in nearby New Iberia) — Iberville, Evangeline, Bayou Teche, Breaux Bridge — had gone by.

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Another in a series of reposts from my 2006 roadtrip through the Mississippi Delta to Houston and back.

I just ran across his business card in my wallet and realized I had completely neglected to mention this guy … Andy “Sugarcane” Collins, bluesman from Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Like Mick “Crocodile” Dundee or John “Babbacombe” Lee, he has a middle name that tells of who he is and what he has done.

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In this post from 2006, I drive from Austin to Houston for a show by the great Texas songwriter Tom Russell.

I left Austin feeling a little frustrated, as I always do when plans fall through. Being me, I manage to make it my fault … if only I had gone here instead of there, if only I had done this instead of that … as if any of us can control the twists and turns of life. Hope that one day I get old enough to learn that lesson.

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Originally posted June 30, 2006. In this installment, I’ve just spent a few days in Austin, cosmic cowboy capital of the world, and I’m about to meet two of my musical heroes.

Friday morning, my last day in Austin till winter. I’ve been too busy running around experiencing all the incredible life in this city to write, so this will be a summary of the last few days.

I spent Tuesday making contact with all the people I had hoped to see while here. As usual for this project, schedules change, gigs get canceled, new gigs get added, people who say they’ll be home turn out to be on the road or vice versa.

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I’m reposting the most interesting items from a blog I wrote during a three-week trip through the Mississippi Delta, Texas and Alabama in summer 2006.

On Monday [June 26] I left Clarksdale at 6:30 in the morning, picked up two Egg McMuffins and pounded straight through to Austin Texas. Highway 61 for the first couple of hours, as far as Vicksburg Miss., crossed the Mississippi River (big wide and impressive at this point, unlike the muddy stream up at Rosedale), then it was just interstates the whole way.

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About the Film

Troubadour Blues is a feature-length documentary that explores the fascinating world of traveling singer-songwriters. We see them in a variety of situations: impromptu performances, concert stages, formal and informal interviews and songwriting sessions. This is a story that needs to be heard. In our media-saturated age of instant pop stardom, there is real danger that the tradition of the itinerant working musician -- the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly -- is being diluted or lost. Troubadour Blues explores the hidden corners of our culture, where honest, authentic songs reflecting the human experience are still being made up and sung.

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