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2004-02-13

IMPORTANT NEW NOTES FROM JUSTIN:

Iíve been traveling for 181 days! I just returned to Nashville after being in Miami for a week for the Winter Music Conference and M3 seminar series. And, I managed to find a place to stay here in Nashville!

Iím converting the diary entries and photos of my travels into a book. Iím still collecting content, too. So, Iím looking for nice, fun people who can put me up for a few nights, host me, and show me their flavor of America. Iím looking forward to learning about your life and writing about our times together! If you think it might be fun to host me for a day or two or three, email me at justingrace AT mac DOT com.

Please make sure to include your address and phone number in your email.

I am especially looking for places to stay in the southeast USA and everywhere on the East Coast. Here are the places I will be in the next few months that I am still looking for a place to stay at:

ē North Carolina
ē Tennessee
ē Virginia/West Virginia

Please contact me ASAP if you want to hang out!

If you believe in what I am doing and want to help support me, please do so! You can donate money to me using PayPal or with a credit card. Email me for more information! Make sure to check out my photo sales page!



US Tour Day 152: Atlanta

I played Friday night at The Bridgetown, an upstairs bar conveniently situated directly adjacent to the downtown hotel Inga had rented us. The Bridgetown crowd was so receptive that night. I was surprised at how short the sets were, though. I've been used to getting 15 minutes of stage time to do my thing. The Bridgetown told me I had only five minutes to play! I shared the stage with rappers, poets, and a capella vocalists.

I would've never guessed the people there would have been they ways they were. First of all, just about everyone but me was black. I was one of three white people in the packed out venue and the only non–black to cross the stage.

Next, everyone there was stunningly good–looking. It was like everyone fell out of the gorgeous tree and hit every single branch on the way down. Then they climbed back up the tree and had another go at it just to be sure. The men had beautiful smooth skin, dark hair, and warm, wide smiles. The women ranged from waif–like to round, with angelic faces and elegant coiffures.

Everyone made eye contact with me and smiled and welcomed me, shaking my hand and asking me what I was doing with my life. Their sincerity and friendliness only underscored their outward beauty.

Every other artist performed music that really spoke to about the African–American condition—directly or indirectly. I felt as if I'd stumbled into a secret garden, one where whites were welcome yet never actually visited. And welcomed was the most appropriate word. I felt more welcomed in that room than I've felt in any other venue I'd ever played.

The beat poets and rappers were talented. Like, really talented. I've had the honor of sharing the mic with some good singers and players in my day. But, these men and women were just more raw, more real, more sincere. Their words rang so much louder because of their deep truth.

At one point I was feeling a little nervous because my music was so different from the songs the many gorgeous black voices (voices much better than mine) sang to the hungry crowd. I mentioned my nervousness to another singer and he said to me, "Man, don't you worry about a thing. We are going to show you much love here tonight. I'm telling you, much love."

He couldn't have been more right. I played what I thought to be a passionate acoustic version of No Truth Anymore and the crowd went wild, responding with loud clapping and cheers that put my last dozen audiences to shame.

After my one song set I was greeted by enthusiastic, smiling congratulations and handshakes and compliments from bright eyes and soothing, friendly voices. Inga and I looked at each other, sending silent messages to each other with our eyes. We said no words, but the meaning was clear: We were dumbfounded by the kindness and warmth of Atlanta. If I wasn't in love with the people of Atlanta, I was at least infatuated.



After my gig, Inga and I got a taxi over to see Dexter Freebish play at Vinyl. I'd met their guitar player earlier that day and was excited to get to see them perform.


Scott Romig of Dexter Freebish.




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