Where are we? Oh yeah, it’s Monday so it must be Connecticut. Dang. Leavey picked the same tune I had in mind. Right then. Time to throw in a complete curveball.
Let’s set off southbound with a marching band to play us off: Charles Ives’ Putnam’s Camp, Redding, Connecticut is the second part of his Three Places In New England Suite. Why this piece? Because this is what happens when a heavy rocker’s daughter decides to play the flute rather than a Fender. My other option for Connecticut was to mention Mark Twain, who lived and died in the state, but actually, the Adventures of both Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were based around Hannibal, MO. D’OH! Think I’ve covered that one well enough already. So let’s pick up on a friendship Twain had with another fascinating character, Nikola Tesla, and head for New York to see Tesla’s Hotel Room, in the company of The Handsome Family.
What? Another stop-off in New York, you say? Ace Frehley’s take on Russ Ballard’s New York Groove should blow the melancholy out of my system quite nicely, thank you.
I’m not the biggest Broooce fan, so for New Jersey, I’ll Drop in Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes: I have a live, saucy take on It Ain’t The Meat, It’s The Motion with a most memorable NJ intro. And in that kind of a mood, it’s only natural that our next state sees me playing George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers’ If You Don’t Start Drinkin’ (I’m Gonna Leave). You’ll notice I’m giving some good sax here, Leavey!!!
Time to bring it down. Maryland’s largest city is Baltimore, which has inspired two of the best reflective songs I have in my collection, one from Lyle Lovett and one from Counting Crows. But I’m not here to depress y’all, so as we cross into Virginia, I’ll ask if you know the state’s nickname? It’s Old Dominion, which is all the excuse I need to crank up Enon’s guitars. Probably got sod all to do with VA, but who cares!?!
I’m flagging now, so you’ll find I’m not hanging around splitting hairs between the next states’ North & South. Ryan Adams is definitely stuck in NC, sweetly but depressingly so. Shooter Jennings has Gone To Carolina, and I’m riding shotgun straight through with him! That’ll take us into Georgia, where me and my Bad Company are singing Oh Atlanta.
Right back at the beginning of our trip, I picked a Tangerine Dream tune that I admitted wasn’t a favourite of mine; it just fit. Now we leave Georgia via a piece which most definitely IS a DsD Top Pick: 3am At The Border Of The Marsh From Okefenokee.
When we arrive in our last mainland state, Florida, it’s surely time for an end-of-tour party. So I’m having Jacksonville’s Molly Hatchet as the house band, and they’ll kick off their set with Gator Country, a song which references several places we’ve been on this trip. (That link is to the studio version, but they were so much more live, and the version I’ll ‘Box will be from their 1979 Reading Festival set, which is a massive fave.)
And that’s it: we’re done. All the road crew that have helped me get from an Alaskan Summer to the steamy heat of the Everglades have left, and I sink back in my chair, exhausted. I have two choices now. Should I have a holiday to recover? Hawaii sounds good – I missed that right at the start. That would undoubtedly be soundtracked by a song I loved and B-listed in a RR Guru stint: Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole’s beautiful take on Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Or, should I just head for home? The Westleigh, decent beer, Seabrook’s crisps, the smell of curry and the sound of clogs: yeah, Bradford. In the UK. You know, the 51st State of America!!!