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US tour 2014 TN and KY diary


Tennessee and Kentucky 2014 ~ my tour diary

'long drive to Memphis

[Thu 19th Jun] flew with British Airways from London to Atlanta then stayed overnight at an airport hotel

[Fri 20th Jun] collected hire car - a Dodge Avenger - and drove 383 miles through 4 states: Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee
stopped off at pleasant Mississippi welcome centre en-route to later arrive at destination of Moscow, near Memphis on Friday evening


Mississippi Welcome Centre


my host, client and now friend Lee Cagle is a dulcimer player, popular teacher and principal of the Memphis Dulcimer club


Lee's kitchen

Lee runs a honey-making business in the attractive grounds of her extended garden and kindly gave me some honey to enjoy with my morning coffee for the rest of the tour


Lee's honey factory

Memphis concert

[Sat 21st Jun] held at the St Andrews Episcopal Church in Collierville, I gave a concert of varied dulcimer music to an appreciative audience


St Andrew's Episcopal Church, Collierville, Memphis


Collierville is an attractive and well-preserved traditional suburb of the metropolis of Memphis


shops in Collierville, Memphis

[Sun 22nd June] drove 364 miles to Bardstown, Kentucky  for an instructor briefing to prepare for Kentucky Music Week, starting the following morning


dulcimers at Kentucky Music Week

Kentucky Music Week (KMW)

[Mon - Fri / 23rd - 27th Jun] for my fourth time teaching at KMW, I gave four music classes each day and presented a popular one-off seminar on 'Photographs of England', taking folks on a visual tour of my favourite parts of England's green and pleasant land using images from my photography work in the UK  


'Butterere' - one of Dan's exhibition landscapes

my music classes at KMW included a singing/voice workshop, based on my UK weekend workshop and three dulcimer classes: 'a gentle introduction to DAA', fun in Bagpipe tuning' and 'classic song accompaniments in DAA' - I love teaching and the feedback from students has been especially good this time  


Dan's voice class chanting at KMW 2014

my students were keen and dedicated so it was a pleasure to help them along the way a little - it was also a joy to see how the mountain dulcimer has progressed in the hands of virtuoso players like Stephen Seifert and Aaron O'Rourke   


Aaron O'Rourke playing banjammer

my concert performance took place on the Monday evening where I presented my own composition: 'Bullet Train', an adventurous, minimalist dulcimer solo in reverse-Ionian tuning with fast finger-picking, including some playing beyond the bridge and nut - I wasn't sure how it would be received but the feedback was great    


amongst the instructors especially, it was great to see old friends again like ... Steve Eulberg, Guy & Sharrie George, Tull Glazner, Marsha Harris, Martha Richard, Rick Thumb and Susan Trump - to mention but a few


Guy George playing hammer dulcimer


... and to meet new ones like the delightful Dee Dee Tibbits, the lovely Ruth Smith, the singer Sarah Morgan and the dancer Evie Ladin - (again) to mention but a few


Dee Dee Tibbits in pirate costume

I was also keen to meet the Rogers sisters: Amber and Erin, collectively known as Scenic Roots - between them they present vocals, fiddle, chromatic dulcimer and an infectious enjoyment of performing music 


Erin Rogers of Scenic Roots with chromatic diulcimer


... not forgetting the hard-working festival staff: Nancy Barker (KMW director), Alice Brooks & Debbie Grizzell (KMW help desk) and Dan Hamilton (chief sound engineer) who know me well over many years and whose friendship I value enormously

Ken Bloom

my room-mate this year was Ken Bloom - as well as getting along very well together, I appreciated Ken's extensive knowledge of music, especially of jazz forms


Marsha Harrris, Ken Lolodner & Ken Bloom


Ken invented the bowed dulcimer and builds responsive instruments - he also plays guitar, clarinet and (of course) bowed dulcimer - needless to say, we had much to talk about 


bowed dulcimer built by Ken Bloom

on the Friday afternoon, Ken conducted a mixed orchestra for a short performance, which was enthusiastically received and a highlight of the festival


Ken Bloom with orchestra, blossoming

historic Bardstown

[Sat 28th Jun] after the festival I enjoyed a day in America's most beautiful small town, historic Bardstown, Kentucky

old school house, Bardstown, Kentucky


I love the timber-built houses with wooden porches, which are characteristic of the southern states


typical house in Bardstown, Kentucky


Louisville concert

[Sun 29th Jun] drove 41 miles up to Louisville, Kentucky to stay with old friends Karl & Scottie Sebree


Scottie & Karl Sebree relaxing on swinging chair

en-route I visited the Bernheim Arboretum and nature reserve in Clermont, which has been considerably re-developed since my first visit there in 2000


lake at Bernheim Arboretum, Clermont, KY


for an Englishman interested in nature, Karl & Scottie's garden is a treat - we saw deer, ground hogs, chipmunks, blue jays, robins and wood peckers


friendly deer in the Sebree garden  

[Mon 30th Jun] Karl & Scottie took me to visit to the impressive Kentucky Derby Museum


Kentucky Derby stadium


[Tue 1st Jul] I was treated to a second taste of Americana: a meal at Claudia Sanders Dinner House (Colonel Sanders was the rags-to-riches founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain)   

at St Pauls Episcopal Church, I gave a finger-picking workshop and then a concert for Louisville Dulcimer Society - both the workshop and concert were well received


St Paul's Episcopal Church, Louisville, KY


Nashville recording

[Wed 2nd Jul] drove 174 miles to Nashville and met old friend and dulcimer virtuoso Stephen Seifert - and his mum Nancy - for a rehearsal in preparation for a recording session the following day


TJ Tunes studio, Nashville

[Thu 3rd Jul] spent a stimulating day recording duets with Steve in a local studio, owned and run by Thomm Jutz - Thomm is himself an accomplished musician having toured with eminent country singer Nancy Griffith and having won an award for one of his studio productions


Steve Seifert working out part at studio


the duets with Steve will feature on my forthcoming, French-themed CD: Au Vieux Moulin, to be released later this year  

Stephen Seifert recording in studio


[Fri 4th Jul] Independence Day (a good day for an Englishman to leave) drove 249 miles to Atlanta, reluctantly dropped off my trusty Dodge Avenger and caught the British Airways overnight flight back to London



summary & thanks

3 concerts, 21 workshops & recording with Steve Seifert - over 1200 miles driving (on the wrong side of the road) - meeting old friends and making new ones - all-in all a successful tour

(the concerts have been recorded and I now have several concert recordings to contribute towards a live album for a future release) 

a big thank you to Lee Cagle (Memphis Dulcimer Club), Nancy Barker (Kentucky Music Week) and Betty Hansel (Louisville Dulcimer Society) for hiring me, to Karl & Scottie Sebree for their kind hospitality and to all my dulcimer friends (new and old) for their music and amity

à bientöt mes amis



more images ...


inside Mississippi Welcome Centre


Lee's garage with dog


Lee's corridoor

Marsha Harris & Ken Bloom playing bowed duclimer


Walter Lay's instrument stall

Eva's dance class @ KMW 2014


colourful beginner dulcimers


Blue Lion dulcimer detail


Aaron O'Rourke playing banjammer


Ken in full bloom, conducting orchestra


kirb & fire hydrant in Bardstown, KY


Bardstown market, Kentucky


vegetables in Bardstown market


old timber house in Bardstown, KY


echinacea flowers @ Bernheim arboretum


wild flowers near Nashville studio

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