Jane Shadows the Blues, and Country, and Gospel

7.28am, Pigeon Forge, Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, USA
Hi folks! Remember me?I have found a computer in my travels, and I wanted to let you know I haven’t fallen off the edge of the earth.

I’ve been to Graceland (my third visit – because the sun never sets on a legend), then chased Highway 61 – the Blues road – south from Memphis to Clarksdale in search of “the crossroads”. According to local lore, bluesman Robert Johnson went “down to the crossroads” and exchanged his soul for the ability to channel the blues and play extraordinary guitar. But you need to find the crossroads at midnight on a full moon – and I got the timing wrong.

Not sure what I would have swapped for anyway, but I found highway 49 and 61 crossing at Clarksdale. This is where I ran into some amazing characters – Red from Red’s Lounge (a true lasting blues juke joint) and The Gambler (who can spin two dice from five and five to six and four literally in front of your eyes without you seeing how) so I got to scratch the surface just a touch and live a couple of days of Delta life – in an old sharecroppers shack on the grounds of a rundown cotton plantation that’s being rebuilt.

Then I shadowed the Mississippi down to Vicksburg and its antebellum homes on the bluffs above the river, then inland across to Alabama and up to where I am this morning. Up in the Smoky Mountains just around the corner from Dollywood – Dolly Parton World – where I’ll be off to this morning. It’s a crisp clear 36 Farenheit out there, and I’ve got enough layers on to qualify as a Sara Lee cake. Up in Dolly’s “Tennessee mountain home” there’s the gospel music hall of fame and concert, the Christmas Lights parade, the talking trees, the back porch bluegrass pickers – I won’t say everything as you’ll feel like you’re missing out! Not even a mention of the fried chicken, candied sweet potatoes, and fluffy scone things they call “biscuits”. No – you don’t need to know.

So I’ll see y’all in the not too distant – I did a “Happy Birthday, Yalumba” on the equivalent of the 17th November with apple fritters from Delta Donuts in Clarksdale, and can’t wait to get home and celebrate properly

See ya soon,

PS Thanks guest bloggers – you folks are magic!

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