Vagabonding-inspired bluegrass


[Above: The latest release from the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers.]

Last week I got an intriguing email from Kentucky bluegrass musician Travis Young. “I’m a longtime backpacker and fan of your site,” he wrote. “I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from the travel world, trying to make a go as a songwriter / banjo player with The Blind Corn Liquor Pickers. Anyways, one of the songs I wrote for the new album is largely inspired by the experience of surfing your site while wallowing through a repressive day-job. Thought you might dig it.”

After doing a little followup, I discovered that the song in question is “Anywhere Else” — the title track from the latest Blind Corn CD, which was produced by 8-time Grammy-winner Bil Vorndick (who has also recorded and/or produced the likes of Allison Krauss, Bela Fleck, Robert Earl Keen, and Ralph Stanley). At my request, Travis has posted an uncut streaming version of this catchy vagabonding bluegrass ditty here. Just scroll down to where it says, “Hey backpackers and traveling folk!” and click on the link to hear the song. The chorus, you will note, is an ode to to wanderlust:

Anywhere else, that’s where I wanna be /
My senses resurrected from this same-old-shit routine /
My pack is made, the ticket’s paid /
And you’re right here by me /
If we’re goin, then we’re goin, so let’s go

To get more information on the full “Anywhere Else” CD (which also includes a song called “Europe on $15 a Day”), click here.

As for the lyricist, Travis Young started rambling to places like Mexico and Canada in college, and began vagabonding in earnest after graduation — bussing tables at Bewley’s in Dublin, wandering across Europe to Egypt and back, and spending three years teaching English for the JET program in a tiny village in Nagano, Japan. After his teaching visa ran out, he flew to Vietnam, traveled Southeast Asia to China, and hopped the Trans-Siberian to Moscow. Later, he drove a beat-up Nissan Pathfinder through Mexico and Central America with his Japanese girlfriend (now his wife), finally turning back for the U.S. after a week on Little Corn Island in Nicaragua.

Though Travis has been back in Kentucky raising a family and performing bluegrass for three years now, the final verse of “Anywhere Else” hints that it won’t be long before he’s back out on the road:

When we get back you’ll never be the same /
Your heart’ll burn with wanderlust, your legs’ll miss the strain /
Of the 12-pound pack on a year long ride /
Bound round a world … so broad and wide

Posted by | Comments (1)  | November 10, 2005
Category: Rolf's News and Updates

One Response to “Vagabonding-inspired bluegrass”

  1. Newley Purnell Says:

    Very cool!