Spanish Is A Loving Tongue

See our review of day 1 Celebrate 450 festival St Augustine Florida

USA Music Tour 2015 Day 16

St Augustine Florida 5 September

st aug aerial view dowtown-1

Aerial view of downtown St Augustine – picture courtesy of floridahistoriccoast.com

St Aug from BOL-1

The Bridge of Lions, St Augustine. The main stage was at the end of the bridge facing the camera – picture courtesy of floridahistoriccoast.com

An early drive to the nearest food mart was the first item today, as our house supplies were rudimentary.  Jim’s scrambled eggs were a good start for the day.

Our accommodation is captioned ‘adorable little cottage’ and so it is, a delightful house in a charming and historic inner suburb Lincolnville.

We checked the weather forecast – hot, humid and little or no chance of rain.  As we looked outside, there was teeming rain, thunder and lightning.  Hmmm.

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

The rain eventually stopped and we made our way to the day’s many festivities.

First stop was a coffee at Dolce Cafe which was commendable.

Down the beautiful Aviles St there was much happening – flamenco dancing, followed by lively Spanish acoustic outfit Luis Marco Band and there was promotion for this afternoon’s bull run, a simulation of the annual event in Pamplona in the north-east of Spain.

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

The weather was overcast and thankfully the rain had caused the humidity to drop.  There was more to come I suspect.  The three of us had rain coats, but the locals seemed to be carrying umbrellas, I presume because they know it will be too hot to wear an extra layer.  Speaking of weather, yesterday was truly sapping and we were all exhausted by the time we had returned home.  We need to keep up the water today.

It’s difficult to do justice to the colour and vibrancy of this town as it celebrates this important milestone.  There is plenty of people but not too crowded, there’s many quieter spots if you’re so inclined.

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob

See our review of day 1 Celebrate 450 festival St Augustine Florida


photo Jim Jacob

photo Jim Jacob


See our review of day 1 Celebrate 450 festival St Augustine Florida


photo Jim Jacob

Local singer songwriter Brent Byrd was performing at the Plaza Gazebo Stage,

Photo Jim Jacob

while just across the road was The Kookaburra Cafe, where you could choose from steak, curry and chicken pies for only $5.10 plus tax.



The Cafe was part of the beautiful Treasury building and next door to The Cathedral of St Augustine.

A walk down the long narrow pedestrian-only St George St, shops and eateries everywhere.  Lunch at Cafe del Hidalgo, housed in a heritage Spanish location

Lot of big cigars around too.

The bull run got underway.

Soft rock outfit Tejedo were on at the Plaza Stage.  The rain started and got heavy enough for us to seek shelter for five minutes.

We had about an hour before the first act at the Main Stage, so Jim and I retreated to O. C. White’s for (a) some afternoon refreshment but more importantly (b)a  sit down for a while.  We found an outside table (with some shelter just in case).  A flamenco guitarist was playing sweetly in the courtyard, very near to us to enhance this down time.

Soon enough, it was back to business.  I’d seen San Francisco’s Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers two years ago in Nashville after hearing and liking the band’s 2013 debut eponymous release.  The band released a new album Loved Wild Lost recently.  The first three songs tonight didn’t really grab me, a little too much soft rock.  Bluhm has a killer voice and the band’s guitarist can really let go.  A very good cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody To Love”, “Hey Stranger” and “Little Too Late” enlivened proceedings.  A very short set left me wanting more.


See our review of day 1 Celebrate 450 festival St Augustine Florida


Nicki Bluhm – photo Jim Jacob

Justin Townes Earle followed, an artist I’ve seen many times before.  This time, he was introduced by The St Augustine Mayor with gushing praise and presented Earle with a seal of The City.  This evening he was accompanied by pedal steel and electric guitarist Paul Niehaus, the latter formerly with indie darling band Calexico.  Neihaus has been playing with Earle for a couple of years now (he’d just started when I last spoke with Niehaus in Nashville at Americanafest 2013).

Justin Townes Earle – photo by Jim Jacob

Paul Niehaus and Justin Townes Earle – photo Jim Jacob

The set again featured a few slowed-down versions of his most known songs, something I’ve seen him do a few times, not always with great success.  Tonight’s songs included”Single Mothers”, “My Baby Drives” “Mama’s Eyes”, a favourite of mine “Harlem River Blues” and the closing song, (another slow rendition) of his recorded version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”.

The crowd had grown significantly in the relatively short break, ready to welcome Florida’s own JJ Grey & Mofro.  Things really ramped up quickly.  Hailing from Jacksonville, the Floridians lapped the show up.  A fearless presence on stage, a booming voice with a big sounding band behind him.  It was a testament to his fervour, his humanity and positivity.  Plenty of material from his new album Ol’ Glory which is one of the best releases of the year.  Songs included “Brighter Days”, “Every Minute”, “Everything Is A Song”, “99 Shades Of Crazy”, “Lochloosa” (a local song to rapturous applause) and “Everything Good Is Bad”.

JJ Grey – photo Jim Jacob

JJ Grey – photo Jim Jacob

JJ Grey – photo by Jim Jacob

A mighty set, from this great performer.  Hard to believe he will be playing at the small Northcote Social Club in Melbourne before the end of the year.  He may blow the place apart.



See our review of day 1 Celebrate 450 festival St Augustine Florida



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Author: Rob Dickens

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