Monday, April 15, 2024

Down Under Round Two


 lee and George
Heading back to Australia for a second time was another dream come true to say the least! I was heading  for a tour of South Australia to perform at some new Venues and see some old friends. I left Chicago on March 11th and went to check in only to find out I didn't have my ETA ready. ( Electronic Transfer Authorization) Luckily a travel agent worked with me and we got it taken care of just in time.The first flight was a jam packed 757 to LAX.I got off the plane and took a pass on a $26 Hamburger and boarded the flight to Melbourne and waited for a mechanical problem to be fixed. It was exciting to find out a woman Captain was flying us over.Thats a big 787 Dreamliner  and she took good care of us. The only thing is when She said flight attendants please check it was  a little unnerving. We landed in Melbourne, made it through customs and was soon  on a Quantas flight to Aedelade. My friends Dean and David were waiting for me at the gate. They still let you inside the Airport there.Our first stop was at the house of the  the great Australian blues guitarist " Chris Finnen" to pick up some gear that I would be using.Chris was on the way to Tasmania but would be joining me on his return. I was greeted at the door by Queenie ,a wonderful Dauschund  that I had met before. I was really beat and we headed back to Dean's in Victor Harbor and I slept for 15 hours. My first show was at the Semaphore Workingmans club with the Harmonica Player Bobby Blues and Guitarist Stuart Knowles.Greg Naulty is the manager and was excited to have me back.We had a great night and I headed back to Bobby Blues in beautiful Walkerville( A suburb of Aedelade).The next day I was treated to a fishing expedition on the Indian Ocean with Bobby.We caught a variety of local fish and had a feast later that night. Dean was playing at Finn Mcool's in Norwood for St.Patricks day and I was the special guest. The place was mobbed and Dean covered all the great Irish standards.We headed back to Victor Harbor to enjoy the area for a few days before my next run of shows.I spent a whole day fishing with my new mate Guitar George and we had a blast on the pierhead having lunch, drinking and hooking massive stingrays and mullet. It was back
Chris Finnen


to Memphis Slims in Aedelade  the next day for a jam packed show.The club is in the basement and is one of the top venues. We had the total blues experience  including dancing Australian  blues women.Well a great Harp player" Mark Snoady" came by and we all headed back to Bobby's for a late nightcap.Those Aussies can live it up. Next up was the famous Gov Room for another great show with an amazing young guitarist   named Tyler.He is the Derrick Trucks of Australia. The next day was a venture to Bobby's Beach house in Aldinga.Some people have quite the life.His wife Trish was there and put out a great deli tray and drinks.Bobby took me on a Kangaroo hike and pointed out all the local birdlife.Not only is he a great Harmonica player but a wildlife enthusiast as well.We went to the Big Easy Radio club with some great friends and put on an unannounced concert. Well the next day I joined Dean at the Farmers Market in Victor Harbor with Dean for a fun outdoor show.We were promoting  the big final show at the Grovernors Hotel in Victor.The Grovernor Hotel is a legendary Venue and Rick and Louis are excellent hosts. This day  was the return of Chris Finnen along with Geoff Miller on Bass and John Steven's on Drums. It was a beautiful afternoon and we had a near sell out crowd.With Rocky on sound the show went off as smooth as can be and Dean,and his wife Linda and I enjoyed drinks and 6 orders of fresh oysters courtesy of Rick and Louis.Well the next morning I went on a reel Australian fishing adventure to the Mouth of the Murray River with my friend George and Lee who provided the four wheel vehicle. It's 10 kilometers up the beach in Goolwa with deep sand and gutters that we went flying over in the dark.We arrived at the mouth and pitched out chunks of mullet on big surf rods in hopes of catching a Mullaway.George had the only bite with his rod making a beeline to the ocean.It was back at noon to meet up with Dean and Linda to take me to the Airport for a late night of sleeping  on a bench. I had a 6 am flight to Sydney and wanted to be on time. Sydney  Airport was a treat and my flight back to the states was cricky as they say Down Under,Until next time,Keith
Bobby and Mark

Monday, April 3, 2023

Down Under for Reel and Good Day Mate!!

Paul Giles,Dean

Lynda Bird

Tristen Bird

The Band

 Dreaming of Kamgaroos and Koalas and all things Australian,I finally made the trek due to my great friendship with Dean Bird who I met in Ireland in 2019.Dean is a well respected musician in Australia and we started planning for 2020 but the powers wouldn't  let us be until 2023.Dean went to work on setting up a wonderful tour schedule and one cold November Day in my hotel room in Buelah,Mi. ,I made the final arrangements. With your regular awful Michigan winter nagging on me ,I could only pray everyday for March 14th and my departure from O'Hare field.The usual travel nightmare ensued and I barely made my connecting flight to Melbourne, a quick 15 hours it was over the vast sea. Of course I couldn't sleep even though the plane was quite empty. Landing in Melbourne the next day I realized they drive just like in Europe on the wrong side of the road. Thanks to Richard Branson I jumped on my Virgin Australia connection to Adelaide with no further delays.Dean was waiting in the terminal and I knew I was in a great country when you are still allowed to greet guests inside the terminal. We got my bags and set off with his friend Woody to his beautiful home in Victor Harbor. It looked just like Southern,California .passing beaches and hills and the vastness of the Indian Ocean. I greeted Dean's wife Lynda and settled into my room for a long sleep.I was playing great venues almost every night and doing Radio interviews everyday but we managed time for sightseeing, and Kangaroo and Koala  sightings .Most of my gigs were with a world renowned Blues Guitarist  named Chris Finnen He is revered in Australia  and it was an honor  to work with him.What I like about Chris was that he had a wonderful  Dauschund named Queenie plus at least 300 guitars which he let me pick out  whichever ones i wanted to use .We packed them in at the Wheatsheaf Hotel,Murray Delta Juke Joint and Semaphors Working Man's Club where Tank cooked delicious Yabbies( Crawfish)
Dean opened up all the shows and gave a wonderful introduction each night . Another highlight was finally meeting Dean's son Tristen Bird .Tristen is an awesome musician and owns Palamino Recording in Myponga .During the day the Boss,Lynda Bird a poet in her own right cooked incredible meals for us including Prawns, Chicken and Lamb.I was living the life of Reily walking to the beach everyday ,watching the Surfers and meeting a fishing legend named George. He became the theme of the trip and Finally took me fishing as well. It just so happened he was an excellent musician and attended one of my concerts as well. Adelaide  is an exciting city and it was great to perform at Memphis Slims House of Blues with the great Paul Giles on harp.
Chris Finnen
.I found out the Beatles had drew 300,000 people in 1964 in Adelaide and a drummer named Jimmy Nicol had filled in for Ringo there. One of the trip highlights was riding the Historic Cockle Train to Goolwa and going to the Murray Mouth on Hindmarsh Island. The Murray is Australia's biggest river. Every night when we drove home from the concerts I had the honor of being on Kangaroo watch. They are really sweet animals but I heard then can deliver a massive punch if you get too close.With the trip winding down,I said a final goodbye to George and had a wonderful Vietamese dinner with Dean,Chris,and Lynda.They dropped me off with an emotional  goodbye and I got ready for my early flight to Sydney. It is a massive airport and it was quite the trek to get through customs but I made it and had time for a quick stop at the gift shop before the 13 hour full flight to San Francisco. This time I decided to watch Jaws as we crossed the Pacific to enhance the journey.Hope to return Down Under sooner than later, As they say in Australia " Good Day Mate"   

Dean Bird
Bobby Blues
Australian Salmon
                    Semaphore Beach


Friday, August 19, 2022

Alaskan Dreams Come True 2022

 I was touring in Alaska for the second time but this was going to be an encompassing journey covering the South East and Canada. It was the old Planes,Ferries and Automobiles to make the journey interesting to say the least. I had my guitar in tow and my 2 Helios Orvis favorites. The travel schedule did not allow for fishing until a few shows were in the bag.I started at the Chilkahoot River in Haines to a big zero landed .( The Sockeye were late and the Bears were as well  ).There was an attempt at Grayling and Lake Trout in The Yukon that failed and then finally a Dolly in Skagway from Pullen Pond.I am not complaining! The scenery,food and people were fantastic .It was not until I contacted Mike at Alaskan Fly Fishing goods in Juneau for a hot tip that I had success and it was a welcome relief.I did not want to have to explain to the Fishing community that I went to Alaska and was skunked. It is true that you still have to work for success at least in my case!! Tight Lines and as we say on our overfished Trout Streams  Tighter

Lips !! Keith 

Monday, June 20, 2022

Michigan Rules

 When you spend years chasing fish all over It's nice to get it done in your home territory.So far this year I've had some luck with Steelhead, Great Pike and Smallie action and lost a Giant Muskie on the Fly!!! It all came together  at night with the Hex to top it all off. Enjoy the photos and adventure and will see you soon the River or Stage!!! Speaking of the stage I spent a recent evening with Michigan Blues Legend" Larry Mccray"and Blues Star "Tab Benoit"( Both great