On this page I want to share some of the memories I have of my 2015 US tour. It lasted 3 months, saw me visit 21 cities in 17 States, driving 11,000 miles. Along the way I wrote the 11 songs that make up the American Odyssey album. 

Let's go...

Dallas, Texas and Brinkley, Arkansas 

Although Dallas wasn’t that far a drive (a mere five and a half hours) from Amarillo, I opted to stay the night in Wichita Falls, about half-way to Dallas, where a friend of mine runs the Iron Horse Irish bar. 

I pulled into the motel car park and hit the button on the dash which starts and stops the Buick Lacrosse. A message flashed up. 'Are you sure you want to stop the engine?' This was followed by 'Car key fob not detected'. I decided that I would leave the engine running while I pondered what this…

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San Diego, El Paso and Amarillo 

The drive to California was a beautiful one; from wide-open desert with intermittent rocks and scrub through to the mountainous terrain of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. As I neared the Pacific coast the temperature dropped. After the heat of Phoenix, 95 degrees was suddenly tolerable. 

I was staying with my old band mate from my hometown of Ipswich UK. His name is Nigel Cook and he has been living in San Diego since 2005. It was great to see him, and I think he enjoyed having someone from home around for a…

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Memphis, Tucumcari and Phoenix 

Memphis doesn’t feel like it’s in Tennessee. It feels more like Mississippi – which is just a few miles to the south. Maybe the difference is not just a geographical one due to the somewhat arbitrary drawing of state lines but because many of the musical greats who made their names in Memphis are from other southern states; people like Sam Phillips (Alabama), Johnny Cash (Arkansas), Jerry Lee Lewis (Louisiana), BB King and Elvis Presley (Mississippi). It certainly feels very different from Nashville. 

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Down in Mississippi 

When I'm on the road I always try to listen to local radio stations. Quite often you can find out what's happening in the area and use it in your stage banter. As I drove by cotton fields on Highway 69 in Mississippi on a hot Sunday morning, I listened to a service being broadcast from Shilo Full Gospel Missionary Church. It was an amazing experience – being in the delta listening to a preacher trying to save my soul. The voices of the choir were joyous and uplifting. Eventually the signal faded out and it…

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Sweet Home Alabama 

When Pete Thomas of Oh Mercy! Records first suggested a tour of the US, we sat down and discussed where I would like to play. I had said that I would go anywhere (he took me at my word and I ended up driving 11,000 miles) but to please, please try and get me a gig in Muscle Shoals. 

I had recently seen the wonderful documentary by Greg Camalier called Muscle Shoals which told the story of the area in Alabama that produced so much great music in the 1960s and 1970s. Pete came through and I was booked to play…

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Independence Day 

I left Santa Fe early in the morning. I was very keen to get back to Kansas City, Missouri. A bit too keen, according to the Kansas State policeman who pulled me over in Lawrence County, Kansas. I thought that I would be able to sweet-talk my way out of the $180 fine but the humourless ‘County Mountie’ was having none of it. It’s also hard to blag when the blag-ee has a gun. He told me, quite sternly, that if the fine wasn’t paid by a certain date, and I didn’t appear in court on August 8th an arrest…

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New Mexico 

My destination was the town of Taos (pronounced Towce) where the following night I was due to play at the Historic Taos Inn. The Dalai Lama once said that God inhales in Nepal and exhales in Taos.  It is regarded as a spiritual, mystical place. 

I was staying with Keith McHenry, a political activist and founder of Food Not Bombs who have been feeding the homeless for over 20 years. When I’d contacted him to say I’d like to meet him and could I stay with him, he’d said, “Sure, you can sleep in my tepee…

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Colorado Springs 

I hitched up my wagon – well, I put my suitcase and guitar in the boot of my Buick Lacrosse and headed out west. My destination was Colorado Springs but it was too far to travel in one day, so I looked at the map and chose Ogallala, Nebraska as an overnight stay for no other reason than I liked the sound of it. I like saying 'Ogallala'. It’s fun to say 'Ogallala'. Try it. Don’t you feel better for saying it? It’s fun. However, saying 'Ogallala' is a lot more fun than being in Ogallala. I’m thinking that the…

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Omaha, KC (again) and Des Moines 

When travelling across the USA I usually have my Sat Nav set so it avoids going on the Interstate. I prefer the two-lane blacktop and the back roads that take you through small towns because that's where the people are, and hopefully that's where the stories that eventually become songs are, too. 

As I headed north for Omaha, Nebraska in June of 2015 I think the navigational device was annoyed at having to work so hard. It’s probably used to saying, “drive straight for 300 miles”. At one point, it suggested…

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Kansas City Here I Come 

If there is any place in the US that I could claim as my home, it is Kansas City, Missouri. Every time I visit the US, some time is pencilled in both to perform and hang out with the good friends that I have made there. But as I drove west out of St. Louis in June of 2015, I knew nothing about Kansas City other than that the Beatles covered a song titled Kansas City on their 1964 album Beatles for Sale. And I knew that there are two Kansas Cities – one in the state of Missouri (the one where I was playing)…

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