Recollections of a Journey Through the Deep South
Part I - The Itinerist
copyright 1995 by Monte Nordstrom
from issue # 18 - Cosmic Debris Musicians Magazine - June '95
In late 1992 I decided it would be advantageous to my career (and my
biography) to attend "THE SOUTH BY SOUTH WEST" Music
Conference in Austin, Texas. I had just released a cassette album called
"NOTHING MORE BETTER" and was shopping the material
around. I had raised enough capital with local tape sales to finance a
promotional trip so I decided to go south.
The SxSW Convention is held every March and was in it's
ninth year at the time. I had met the SxSW promo team at the
Music West 92' Conference in Vancouver and had decided
at that time to apply for a showcase. I put together a promo
kit, sent it off with my application and then set about making
I found the cheapest flight by calling all the airlines' 800
numbers. I chose American and make my reservation (for
about $550 U.S.). When the SxSW info update arrived I
selected a hotel from their listings and reserved a room for a
week at $65 U.S. per night. A few weeks later I was
informed that my showcase application was rejected but I
decided to attend as a delegate anyway and to extend my
visit to include a few more musical destinations.
Looking at an atlas I realized that with a combination of
ground travel and a return flight adjustment, I could make
the six-day trip to Austin into a ten-day junket for a relatively
modest outlay. I contacted Greyhound, Amtrak and
American Airlines and made the arrangements. I would take
the bus from Austin to San Antonio, staying overnight to
catch Amtrak's "Sunset Limited" to New Orleans. I had sent
for a tourist info packet from the Louisiana state tourist
board and from it reserved an inexpensive room in the
middle of the French Quarter. My train journey would then
continue from New Orleans to Memphis on the train they
call "The City Of New Orleans" (really, that's what it's
The route north goes by Lake Pontchartrain up through the
heart of Mississippi arriving in Memphis late in the evening.
I reserved a room two blocks off Beale Street (right across
from the Peabody Hotel - around the corner from "The
Rendezvous"). One of the sponsors for SXSW was a
Memphis based publisher so I had them send me a copy of
"The Memphis Magazine City Guide" with listings for
nightclubs and tourist spots like B.B. King's Blues Bar,
Graceland and Sun Studio. I then called long distance
information, and said, "Give Me Memphis, Tennessee."
What a Hoot! I got the number for Sun Studio and booked
two hours of recording time at $85 U.S. per hour. OUCH! I
had to do it.
Finally there would be a three hour trip on the Hound to
Nashville where I reserved a room just off music row at the
"Days Inn Vanderbilt". I re-adjusted my return flight to
depart from Nashville and surprisingly the fare was the same.
My trip was completely pre-arranged using 800 numbers and
my Mastercard. The only items to be done en route were two
bus trips and a lot of taxis. I was having fun and I hadn't
even left yet!
Note: Monte Nordstrom has produced over 75 demos and has recorded 8 albums to
date (Nov '99). He performs regularly at numerous venues on Canada's West Coast.
Email Monte at:
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