Sunday morning. I can’t walk more than 50 metres without hearing a preacher’s sermon or hallelujahs from the half open church doors. People are filing in with takeaway coffees. Refreshments and salvation all in rolled into one. Those are the only two things on offer round here at 8.30am in Harlem on a muggy morning in June.
I’m standing on the corner of Broadway and 145th st and I can see all the way down to where Manhattan curves away and down. Last night I was hailing a cab on 7th ave holding two guitars and trying to look like a modern day Dylan or least someone out of a Cohen brother’s film (minus the beard) This morning I’ve dropped the rock star pretence and I just want a coffee. I’m swaying slightly and am rapidly crossing the borders of jet-lag land. It’s a place I know well…I’ve got the passport and the visa.
But there’s no time for that; I need to be 100% present and correct for my New York gigs in 2 days and from experience there’s only one way to do it: walk. Find Broadway, find 5th Avenue, find Lexington and walk from top to bottom until a friendly diner catches my eye and insists that I stop and grab a pastrami and cream cheese bagel or until my shoes wear out. Whichever comes first. The truly great cities have an energy you can feed off and I’m going to need every ounce that New York has to offer. I need enough momentum from these few days to propel me like a cannon across a quarter of this great wide land. Over the next two weeks I take in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Dayton, Eaton, Chicago and Detroit before circling back through the fields of Pennsylvania en route back to New York State. Ten dates in all taking me to places I’ll be playing in for the first time. US tour, US road trip all rolled into one. Keep me company…
French version published daily on the ROCK MADE IN FRANCE website