American tour 2006

The American tour was a complete success. I played my first ever House Concert in Watsonville, Nr Santa Cruz. The home town of Richie Valens. It was a benefit for a Health Clinic in Managua, Nicaragua, organised by my friend & ‘American Agent’ Dr Jill Winegardner. We raised almost $3000 which Jill will take down to the hospital next week. She will also be taking the guitar that i used for the tour as a donation to the music project down there.

The concert on Saturday 3rd June was a huge success and I sold plenty of cd’s.

I didn’t want to carry a guitar in to America, and Jill had a message from Gustavo, a Nicaraguan musician from the project she was involved in, to say that they desperately needed one. So we decided we would buy a guitar between us which I would use until the end of the tour and then I would donate my half to Gustavo.
Gustavo Araica, a young musician in the barrio, thrilled with his new guitar. Gustavo teaches music to the young people in the barrio as a tool to steer them away from gangs, violence, and other consequences of living in dire poverty and hopelessness.

Sunday we headed south through California down to Vista, nr San Diego, to play my 2nd House Concert for John & Kim Hornbacher in their amazing hand built adobe house. They even made the bricks themselves out of the soil it stands on. The concert was outside due to the heat – about 90 degrees – and sold out. About halfway through an almighty racket kicked off nearby which i thought must be the neighbors. It turned out it was coyotes having a bit of a feast up in the hills. Now I’ve been heckled by some strange things in the past but coyotes !… As if that wasn’t enough, shortly after the Peacocks had a go.

Monday we drove north again to LA to play The Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena. It was exactly that and run by a slightly eccentric but enthusiastic man called Bob Stanes.A really nice concert & I met a local Los Angeles DJ called Larry Wines who promised me a 40 minute special next time. Previous to the concert I had struck up a correspondence with Ronny Cox, the guitar playing character in ‘Deliverance’ who played the Duelling Banjos duet with the weird boy. A fine singer/songwriter in his own right, Ronny was hoping to get to the gig but unfortunately didn’t make it owing to commitments at The Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas.

During the day I did a bit of speed touring and took in the Hollywood sign, which incidentally is extremely difficult to find !, Graumann’s Chinese Theatre, star’s handprints etc on Sunset Boulevard. Where I met a very well fed & tanned Elvis. I told him about my song ‘It’s me or Elvis’ on ‘Still’ and how Elvis eventually got the girl. ‘The King always wins’ He said in his finest Elvis drawl.

Drove past Hollywood Bowl – hidden, and Forest Lawn Cemetery – big. Into the Hollywood hills – rich. It appears to be the only place where the roads are small. The beautiful houses clinging ingeniously to the hills.

Went to Venice Beach and bought some cheap Converse boots. Stuck my toes in the freezing Pacific. In spite of the heat the water is not inviting in California until you get pretty far south. Which is why all the surfers wear wetsuits.

The next gig wasn’t until Friday in Tucson Arizona which left some serious sightseeing time. First stop was The Joshua Tree Inn in Joshua Tree National Park. It was Room 8 of the inn where Gram Parsons walked in and never walked out. The room is pretty much kept the way it was, although the town has grown into a straggly strip of cafes, churches & saloons along the edges of the highway.

The park itself is magnificent and untouched, apart from the occasional picnic area and restroom.

The Joshua Trees are eerie, being apparently vested with the souls of dead Indians. The park is about as silent as America gets. I saw my first Jack Rabbit & Kangaroo Rat.

Next stop – The Mojave Desert & Las Vegas…

Reg Meuross Singer Songwriter Storyteller