Chasing Music by Jan Dale – a bluegrass travelogue

Have you ever thought of chucking it all, declaring a sabbatical, and heading out on the road to pursue your passion? Sure you have… we all indulge such notions from time to time. Your dream could be renting a motor home one summer to visit all of the major league baseball parks, or a more private journey to see the gravesites of your favorite writers or performers from days gone by.

Jan Dale, popular Australian bluegrass radio presenter, did just that back in 1992. She packed up what she could carry and headed to the United States, purchased a converted Volkswagen camper van, determined to travel the country, meeting people along the way, and attending as many bluegrass festivals and shows as she could manage. This junket ended up covering 160,000 miles, with stops in all of the lower 48, and providing her with a personal discovery of American roots music, and a lot about herself in the bargain.

These travels have now been collected into a book, Chasing Music – My Crazy Campervan Adventures in America, published worldwide by Ingram Sparks. It is available as a print on demand title, so no overseas shipping charges are involved, as books are printed as needed in whichever country an order is placed.

Jan’s sojourn ended up lasting several years, meaning it had to be done over multiple US visas. As the book details, she would leave her van in the states, and travel back to Australia to draw out additional funds, and then return for the duration of her next visa. These adventures in America also inform her radio program, Southern Style, which celebrates the culture, music, and people of the southern US. It may seem odd for a program on such topics to originate in Australia, but it has remained popular there since 1997.

Her love for the US south, and the country in general, permeates the book, especially her fondness for bluegrass, old time, and Cajun music, which she absorbed during her time here.

Chasing Music is widely available from international booksellers, in either paperback or ebook editions, online. US readers will find it on Amazon for $20.99 in paper and $5.99 for Kindle.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.