Category Archives: Travels

Gives You Hell…

From the Mini DD Playlist comes the All American Rejects…

  Gives You Hell

The boy has acclimated quite well….



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Posted by on February 24, 2009 in Music Today, Travels


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The Story

Of course, there’s always a story.  But here is my beginning, middle and end, in reverse.


…is reminiscient of one of my favorite songs….

  The Story, Brandi Carlile

3.5 inches of snow expected tonight….


Posted by on February 22, 2009 in brandi carlile, family, Travels


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It’s Carnival Time….

   Carnival Time, Al Johnson

Four days of excess.  Drunkedness.  Debauchery.

It’s that time of year again. 

Mardi Gras.

As I mentioned in past Mardi Gras posts, I’ve experienced various Mardi Gras celebrations from Lafayette to Mobile and points in between.  There’s really nothing like it.

But, this Mardi Gras will be spent in a much different “state”.

  Rocky Mountain High, John Denver

That’s right.  We’re taking the show on the road.  Have beads, will travel.

I hope to provide first hand reports of the Rocky Mountain Mardi Gras over the next few days. 

Until then, party on.

  Mardi Gras Mambo, The Meters

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Posted by on February 21, 2009 in holidays, that's life, Travels


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Big Ole Jet Airliner, Don’t Carry Me Too Far Away

Sorry that I have been mindfully absent for a few days.  Over the last three weeks, I have been on an airplane more than on the ground, it seems.  Busy time of year in my business, but it’s all good.

Flying presents lots of contemplation time and while there’s a certain thrill of flying to far away cities to important meetings, that feeling generally fades about 10 minutes into my flight.  Then, I’m counting the hours until I’m home again.  The bustle of airports, rental cars, taxis and hotels wears on me much more now than when I was in my 20s and 30s.  My trusty iPod generally keeps me occupied and I usually have ample work to make the time pass more quickly, but each time I leave, I can’t wait to come home to my comfortable surroundings.  Yes, I am old.

However, I still am in awe of the wonderousness of being able to fly in the sky like an eagle.  God’s wonderous creation of sky and earth never ceases to amaze me and the views are just so cool.  Like the puffiness of the clouds on my way to Memphis right after Hurricane Gustav…

Or, the magnificent hues of blue that greeted me over Atlanta….

Or the most gorgeous sunset over Alabama on the final leg of my flight home from New York City, reassuring me that all was right with the world and God is in His heaven…

As the sun was setting, my naval gazing grew deep and I was reminded of the old sailor’s axiom,

Red sky by morning, sailor take warning….red sky by night, sailor’s delight.

There’s just something about being so high in the clouds that makes me so appreciative of the fact that I am so drawn home and “grounded”.

So, here’s a little tribute to those big ole jet airliners that take me back “where I belong”.

First, the late, great Paul Pena’s Jet Airliner.  Steve Miller made it popular, but it was the brillance of Paul Pena that captured feelings about flying to and fro.  The lyrics are pretty much perfect…

Leavin’ home, out on the road
I’ve been down before
Ridin’ along in this big ol’ jet plane
I’ve been thinkin’ about my home
But my love light seems so far away
And I feel like it’s all been done
Somebody’s tryin’ to make me stay
You know I’ve got to be movin’ on

Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay

Goodbye to all my friends at home
Goodbye to people I’ve trusted
I’ve got to go out and make my way
I might get rich you know I might get busted
But my heart keeps calling me backwards
As I get on the 707
Ridin’ high I got tears in my eyes
You know you got to go through hell
Before you get to heaven

Big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay

Touchin’ down in New England town
Feel the heat comin’ down
I’ve got to keep on keepin’ on
You know the big wheel keeps on spinnin’ around
And I’m goin’ with some hesitation
You know that I can surely see
That I don’t want to get caught up in any of that
Funky shit goin’ down in the city

Big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay

Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay
Yeah, yeah yeah, yeah

Big ol’ jet airliner
Don’t carry me too far away
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s here that I’ve got to stay

Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Carry me to my home
Oh, Oh big ol’ jet airliner
Cause it’s there that I belong

Paul changes up the lyrics a bit in this version done on the Conan O’Brien show shortly before his death…

  Jet Airliner, Paul Pena

While no other “airplane” song quite captures the essence of business flying, for me, here are a few other “flying” songs…

  Come Fly With Me, Frank Sinatra

….gotta love that “exotic booze in old Bombay”.  Here’s a lovely new twist on the old classic of Leaving on a Jet Plane…

  Leaving on a Jet Plane, Jewel

Of course, I have to include James Taylor’s perennial hit, Fire and Rain

  Fire and Rain, James Taylor

And, one of my favorite Tom Petty songs is Learning to Fly (even though it’s really not about airplane flying)…

  Learning to Fly, Tom Petty




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The Rhythm of My Heart….

Newport Sunset - Shrewbiedoobiedoo

Newport Sunset - Shrewbiedoobiedoo

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I’m accumulating many on our most righteous journey to Newport, R.I.  This place is gorgeous, folks, and a photographer’s dream.

For more on the Shutter Gourmet Dive Tour, click here or here.  I’ll be back on Thursday with more, so for now, stay tuned with a wee sea shanty: 


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The Flexing of Muscle Shoals

Well, I’m back from vacation. I’ve got plenty to tell, so I’ll start at the beginning.

We went up to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to play a little golf at The Shoals, voted one of the top 10 public golf courses in the U.S. Located on the Tennessee River near Wilson Dam, the lush landscape provides a wonderful and tranquil backdrop for two wonderful 18-hole courses.

We had a wonderful time at Marriott’s Shoals Resort in Florence, Alabama. Florence is the birthplace of Sam Phillips, rock pioneer and owner of Sun Studios in Memphis.



Sam discovered Elvis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Roy Orbison, among others and is considered one of the Godfathers of Rock & Roll. This historical plaque was erected in his honor at the entrance to The Shoals resort. While we did explore the musicality of the area, first we played golf. The Shoals overlooks the Tennessee River and we had wonderful weather on Monday to play. Here’s a picture of Mr. D. and me on the 18th tee.


We had plans to play again on Tuesday, but the area received a few inches of much needed rain, as they haven’t had ANY since April. Therefore, we decided to explore Muscle Shoals a little and see if we could find some of the recording studios that helped to define “the Muscle Shoals sound”. For those of you who are unaware, Muscle Shoals served as a respite for many artists in the ’60s and ’70s to get away from the over-production of New York and L.A. and get back to the music and “real” recording. NPR did this excellent piece on Muscle Shoals and it’s contribution to some of the most ground-breaking music in Rock.



FAME Studios , started by Rick Hall over the City Drug Store, is one of the studios that artists chose to create music the old-fashioned way. These artists came to Muscle Shoals because there was a plethora of background musicians, beautiful scenery and literally, nothing else to do but create innovative music in this dry county. Click here for a complete list of artists who recorded at FAME. Some of these artists are also exhibited in photos at the Marriott Resort’s Grill.


Little Richard



Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley

Patches – Clarence Carter




Aretha Franklin

Chain of Fools



Percy Sledge

When a Man Loves a Woman


FAME is still a working sound studio. When we stopped by, we met Ben Tanner who graciously showed us around the building whose walls contain some of the best music ever recorded. I got the same feeling in the studio as I do when I go through Graceland. There’s just an aura there…you can just feel the talent.

Inside the FAME Studios

Framed Etta James album jacket on the studio wall.



Ben Tanner shows us the control booth.

The Muscle Shoals Sound is attributed to the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section who played out of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio and were known as “The Swampers”. Forever immortalized in Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Sweet Home Alabama…”In Muscle Shoals, they got the Swampers…..” The Swampers were comprised of Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins, David Hood, and Jimmy Johnson and provided back-up music for artists like The Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart, Cher, Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Paul Simon, The Staple Singers, Bob Seger, Wilson Pickett, and Traffic. David Hood’s site gives a good run down on the kinds of artists that they provided back-up to and here are some of the most famous. David’s son, Patterson, is part of the group Drive-by Truckers.

We stopped by the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio but it was closed, however here is a picture of another bastion of music glory.


More Muscle Shoals recordings:

I’ll Take You There – The Staple Singers

Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Still Crazy After All These Years – Paul Simon

Interestingly, both Angela and Zac Hacker (Winners in the Nashville Star contest) are now recording out of FAME Studios along with Gary Nichols and James LeBlanc, an up and coming Country artists.

Unbroken Ground – Gary Nichol with James LeBlanc

So, after our little music research tour, we headed back to the resort and to enjoy some libations and the view at the 360 Restaurant, that resembles a miniature Seattle Space Needle. The weather was starting to clear and we thought we’d enjoy the sunset from this elevated perch.


Here are a some views from the top:




It was absolutely gorgeous. We got into a lovely discussion with an older couple from Birmingham who were also visiting the resort. He was one week shy of his 90th birthday, as his wife very proudly let me know (more than once). We also had a great conversation with the bartender, Will.


Mr. D and Bartender Will.


We were having a very nice discussion and a nice glass of Frei Brothers Chardonnay, when I looked across and “saw” this picture. I had to capture it for my good friend, Shrew.


Now, what happened next was unfortunate and cut our trip short by two days. I had my feet on the bottom rung of the tall bar stool. I put the palm of my hand on the corner of my seat to “scoot back” in my seat. When I did the back legs of the stool slipped on the hard wood floor and down I went. Normally, this would have been only a humiliating faux pas that we could all laugh about. However, this time, my right leg ended up behind me and my ankle turned completely underneath itself and my full weight fell right on top of it. I literally saw stars but thought it was only a bad sprain, yet when I tried to walk on it, I couldn’t put any pressure or weight on it without some pretty significant pain.


We went back to our room (via wheelchair) and ordered room service. We woke up early the next morning (Wed.) and drove the 6 hours back to Mobile, complete with ice packs and Ibuprofen. Went straight to the Emergency Room where an X-Ray showed a fracture of my right fibula just above the ankle. They splinted it and referred me to an orthopedist on Thursday. That appointment showed that the fracture was actually pushing part of the fibula into one of my ankle joints and will require out-patient surgery on Monday to correct. Here is my current view.



Worse thing is that I will not be able to put ANY weight on this leg for six weeks. That means that I’ll have to give up my trip to see Taylor Hicks in Louisiana in July and no July 4th trip to the beach. Also, for the next week or so, my posts may be sporadic — this one took all I have for a while. I really am doing okay other than the nagging ache and soreness from the crutches. And, all in all, I really enjoyed the Muscle Shoals trip.

I couldn’t help but wonder why some of today’s artists, particularly those who are allegedly “all about the music” aren’t knocking down the doors at FAME or Muscle Shoals Sound to record there. I think there’s at least one new “Soul” artist that could really make a splash by recording in his home state where his “idols” once recorded. And, if Marc Broussard is the self-proclaimed epitome of Soul, why ain’t he in Muscle Shoals? And Joss Stone? Amy Winehouse? Amos Lee?

Wouldn’t the best “retro” come from flexing some muscle with The Swampers in the Shoals?


Posted by on June 22, 2007 in Travels