Friday, 12 November 2010



We thought one highlight of our USA roadtrip would be the fabled Mississippi Crossroads: the x of tumbleweed ghetto highways that marks the spot where Robert Johnson swapped his soul for sick guitar skills and rock ‘n roll’s pact with the devil began. And maybe if this music mecca had been somewhere you could stand and soak up Zuul’s blackrays without getting mown down by a bunch of trucks blaring Ne-Yo, it would’ve been.

But as with most pilgrimages, our drive from the fatted calflands of country music to the dirty blues delta via Nashville, Memphis, Graceland, the Smokies, Dollywood and a much-needed sippy-cup final in New York City for Halloween, some box-ticks were disappointingly lame - and the best experiences came from out of nowhere.

Drinking moonshine with middle-aged hippies from the bayou in a Pigeon Forge motel with cubbyholes for cowboy hats and crepey Southern Belles talking trash in rockers outside.

Smoking freely in every honkytonk and dive bar while musicians did impossible things with harmonicas.

Hitting the so-called roadside “blood buckets” with a local to find meth-tweakers line-dancing to Justin Timberlake and old bikers crying over sad songs.

A friendly stranger in Clarksdale strongarming a very stoned old cat into opening up his music museum for us, where we had his insane collection of vintage psych blacklight posters, an emporium of collectors’ wet dreams and some rude John Lennon sketches hidden behind a curtain to ourselves for a drunken hour.

Or actually enjoying country music.

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