Jan Dale’s ‘Chasing Music’ Book Reviewed
Intrepid and Vivid Travel Memoir Is A Must For Music Lovers
Jan Dale’s Book ‘Chasing Music’ Out Now
“My Crazy Campervan Adventures in America”
By Rob Dickens
Imagine this. It’s 1992, Jan Dale puts her life in Australia on pause after gathering a modest travel budget together, heads alone to America for a long music and life adventure.
Picking up a VW campervan once there, she hit the open road by herself with not many plans nor safeguards.
Across 48 states she travelled 160,000 miles over almost 6 years, enduring a love/hate relationship with the van (depending on whether it had broken down, which it did a lot), discovering a life-long love of bluegrass, getting into some scary situations, soaking up the best live music, dancing the night away where she could, meeting so many new friends and soaking up at close quarters America’s beautiful scenery and wildlife.
These escapades are beautifully portrayed in Chasing Music. This author has embarked on a number of music sojourns to the USA himself, often alone and with a pretty carefree schedule following glorious American music offerings. But nothing like this. What is remarkable here is the length of time, the dodgy vehicle, a female left to her own devices, a pretty strict budget and all in the 1990’s where Australians were often a novelty (they still are in some places!).
This is a must read for all music lovers, even more so for those who have travelled to the US or are planning to.
Best Places Visited?
“I loved something about every state I visited and I don’t really have a particular favourite but some standouts are – Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah for magnificent scenery; Mississippi and Louisiana for the music and that sultry southern landscape with antebellum mansions and old oak trees dripping with spanish moss; Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, with the magnificent Appalachian mountains and, of course, the strong music connections. Tennessee and Kentucky – again for the music (Bluegrass) and their pretty, more gentle landscapes”
“There are interesting festivals every weekend all year somewhere in America! Some of my favourites are – Bean Blossom Bluegrass & Uncle Pen Festival, Indiana. They also hold other festivals including a Blues and a Cajun & Zydeco. This park was originally owned by Bill Monroe so has much history and a hall of fame. International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) “World of Bluegrass” in Raleigh, North Carolina – a whole week of music including the annual Bluegrass Awards.
Any festival at Galax, Virginia, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, ROMP in Owensboro, Kentucky. Owensboro is where IBMA first held its World of Bluegrass week and where the The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum is situated. (read about LTTL’s visit there). Plus King Biscuit Blues Festival, Helena, Arkansas.”
About The Author
Jan Dale is an internationally recognised Australian radio producer/presenter and guest speaker. Her show, Southern Style, can be heard on Melbourne’s PBS FM Tuesdays 1-3 pm PBS FM 106.7 LINK HERE.
She was nominated in 2019 for the IBMA’s Broadcaster of the Year award, becoming the first ever non-US based nominee. This followed her selection for the 2018 Mick Geyer Award, recognising her outstanding contribution to community radio and the general music community in Australia. She has been MC at various Bluegrass events in the United States and Australia and has interviewed hundreds of musicians, both in the studio and in the field.
Jan has written many articles for the American magazine Bluegrass Unlimited, and has also been published in a variety of other magazines.
Don’t Just Take My Word For It!
“You have a natural gift for narrative. Your story rockets along and delights in its observations and anecdotes. This is a marvellous story and deserves to be read.” Phillip Adams, journalist, broadcaster, filmmaker
“Her travels across 48 states attending festivals, honky-tonks, and rodeos, connecting with quirky, incredible people, visiting unforgettably scenic places are documented in her newly released ‘Chasing Music’ the most enjoyable, humorous, enlightening book I’ve read in 2021.” Billy Pinnell, journalist, radio presenter
“A rootsy road trip has inspired a rollicking new book…inspires the passions, eccentricities and obsessiveness of the great community radio presenters” Jeff Jenkins, Rhythms magazine
More Music Adventures Await!
Jan Dale’s ‘Chasing Music’ Book Reviewed