Posts Tagged ‘blues’

After a long travel day yesterday I got to wake up in Texas this morning…..sigh. It’s sure good to see the sun shining again after two weeks of pounding rain and the gray skies of Vancouver. I did what I always do when I come back …and that is to reacquaint myself. Call me crazy but I love driving down the freeways, they’re so big and wide, like driving your couch if it had a steering wheel and gas pedal, and headed into the new sunrise with the sunroof wide , listening to the red dirt poets of Texas on stations like ‘The Range’ 95.9 FM and of course the Texas blues ‘Texas Renegade Radio at 89.3 FM….depending on my lust for inspiration, these are the sounds of Texas that bring me back inside.

Red Dirt music is not country, it’s not western…it’s Texan, raw, poetic, lyrical, personal and somewhat strange until you understand the context, colloquialisms and inferences….it’s quaintly under produced and folksy….eat your heart out Kieth Urban. Texas blues is hard charging guitar and harmonica driven…think Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert King and T-Bone Walker…distinctly different sound from Delta or Chicago styles…..hey….after all, it’s Texas…..you know you’re in for something good.

So I’m pulling in the driveway, my neighbors cleaning the pool, we talk, not about anything in particular, just the weather and if it’s going to be a good day to grill….that’s BBQ for the rest of you. Texans are like that, they don’t notice your new car or want to know where you’ve been, they’re just happy to see you. This is so refreshing for me after living in Canada where the conversations run like this…”What do you do?”….”How much did you pay for that car?”….”Where do you vacation”……and then they’ll run a litany of comparisons………gag…..so boring….so covetous, jealous, envious and impersonal…..kind of creepy after you’ve been away from it for a while…..so good to be in a place where people are more satisfied with their lives.

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A storm was threatening to come in all day, a strong wind showed up first and knocked the walking out of me, so I hunkered down in the truck and listened to Texas troubadours on the radio. There’s a special kind of music made in Texas, like nowhere else, not rock, not country, not country rock, certainly not pop, it’s Texan, long on blues riffs and grinding guitars…the lyrics aren’t bad either. Licks like “she’s got the kiss of an angel and the bite of a rattle snake” just can’t be found anywhere else.

I’m sliding into Texas like a pair of old boots…and I don’t know why, maybe it’s the renegade radio, maybe the whistling wind, somethings got hold of me. This is not the first time in my life I’ve been away so long from the things I knew, that I’ve forgotten who I am. Did you ever leave home to travel and stay away so long that everyone you’d known had moved away or moved on…and you found that you’d become a stranger?

There’s a book I enjoyed when I was young by Robert Heinlein, ‘Stranger in a strange land’, about a Martian boy named Michael who has the power to become a part of whatever he sets his mind to, he calls the process of total assimilation ‘grokking’ and grok becomes a synonym and metaphor for true love. Trisha and I are a bit like that Martian boy, we have a tendency to become one with wherever we are. In London we become Londoners, New York New Yorkers, in Thailand we wrote books on how to become more attuned to Thai culture…and so on…..but here we are, totally immersed in Texas, twanging guitar music rules the day, wondering why we’d ever leave, though we know we will someday.

Reality distances itself the longer we stay away. Some one asked me recently on our Bangkok Living & Travel site when we would be coming back to Thailand, and it struck me that travel is about traveling…building memories that last forever…less about gathering a collection of particular or popular destinations. Red skies and blue dirt sunsets are the places we’re calling home for now.

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