The South in 15 Instax Photographs - A Road Trip
Thirteen years ago I visited Nashville for the first time, ostensibly to play a few gigs the Australian Festival held in Centennial park. I was young, just turned 21, and had never really traveled as an adult. I'd picked up the banjo a few years earlier, out of curiosity, mostly as a joke. I was working in a music store and wanted to be able to play a riff on the one in the showroom. My soundtrack was Time (The Revelator) by Gillian Welch, and Heartbreaker by Ryan Adams, given to me by an older singer songwriter I was making music with.
This was a time before Mumford and Sons. Before Brokeback Mountain. Before you could buy western shirts as high street fashion. Old Crow Medicine Show had just released their first album. Hatch Show Print and Gruhn Guitars were still on Broadway. I saw No Direction Home as it was first aired on TV in Memphis.
I was the youngest person listening to the music in the honky-tonks on and around Broadway. And the music I found there changed the course of my life. I followed it with a passion reserved for the newly converted and the young, and without thought about the future. Now I'm 33, going back and looking back. Back to that formative place where the seed was sown. Things stay the same. Things change. I don't know what to think about it. What I have and haven't achieved. Life is an often strange and cyclical journey.
"You told me once there was no other" - You'd better get right, The Stanley Brothers.
"Why can't I free your doubtful mind" - Cold Cold Heart, Hank Williams.
"They whispered from high" - Blue Moon of Kentucky, Bill Monroe/Elvis.
Clarksdale, Mississippi / Jackson, Mississippi
"No telling how much further I may go" - Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor, Mississippi John Hurt
New Orleans, Louisiana
"Where can I turn" - Blow Wind Blow, Dr. John
Laura Plantation, Louisiana / Austin, Texas
"I feel like I might blow away" - I lost it, Lucinda Williams
Fort Worth, Texas
"You used to say the highway was your home" - Ft. Worth Blues, Steeve Earl