A few years ago I walked into a thrift store in Asheville NC and saw a very cute suitcase from across the room. It was a small blue 70's era train case sitting on a dusty shelf. I walked straight to it and opened it up. It smelled like my mom. I knew I had to have it. The inside smelled like the powder she sometimes wore and that sat in a forbidden box with her jewelry on her dresser. The suitcase was a bit worn and I liked to imagine that it had traveled far and wide and had been on many adventures. Now this case was part of my traveling show and I took it on the road with me. Some time later I found myself in the middle of a few blizzards on the east coast, driving long hours over the course of days, through bad weather to make gigs. After about a week of that, I still had one more trip to make before heading back to my home in Tennessee. I was to make the drive from Virginia through the mountains into my native homeland of West Virginia for a family birthday. I wanted desperately to go but I was not looking forward to another knuckle-clenching trip. There was one more snowstorm in the forecast, 8-12 inches, and by then I was more than a little weary of another long day behind the wheel. I found myself thinking about how much time I spent traveling. It is a life I had chosen happily and willingly but this day the shine was a bit dimmed.
In the early blue light and crushing cold of dawn, I loaded up my van. It was still and silent, just the hint of flakes starting to tumble through the air. I felt tired and worn. The air felt heavy and I wanted to go back to bed, to just rest, to not drive, to not push, to just sit. The last thing to go inside my van was that little blue suitcase. I reached down to pick it up and for some reason and for the very first time (it seemed) I actually read the words on the handle. It read, Royal Traveller. I just stopped and stared at it. The words landed in my soul. They landed in my heart. They landed on my tired legs and on my aching arms. I thought, "Royal Traveller", "I AM a Royal Traveller!" "I AM A ROYAL TRAVELLER!".
I was suddenly energized and almost emboldened to head into the storm. Scenes of my life, places I've traveled, people's faces that I loved, all started flowing through my head much like the snowflakes I was driving through. I studied the landscape as it passed by me on that mountain road that day and knew it was speaking to me in a way that I'd never heard before.
We are all travellers. Whether we ever leave our hometowns or not. We're all finding our way through every day. We are all traveling through the good, the bad, and the in between. And there is definitely something very royal about that. There is something royal about getting through our stuff and getting up the next day and doing it again.
"Royal Traveller" is the title cut to my latest album and I wrote this song with my friend and mentor, Ed Snodderly. This album was produced by Alison Brown and is probably the most personal cd I've ever made.
"Allegheny Town" from Royal Traveller on Compass Records
"Swept Away" from Royal Traveller on Compass Records
Darlin Pal(s) of Mine from Royal Traveller on Compass Records https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDYiq-x4eN8