Rooting for the farmers

The United States is enormous. It goes on forever. And ever. I’ve driven across our vast landscape before. A few years ago my family drove from DC to California and back. We spent 6 weeks in our trusty mini-van with the kids in the back. This country is spectacular. The diversity of scenery, the mountains, the plains, the Great Lakes, east, west. It’s massive.

For this blues  journey we’re on a road mission. From DC north to Wisconsin, then down to the gulf coast in a van filled with gear, dress shirts, merchandise, and few comforts from home. The boys teased me for bringing my pillow on the first day. Today Jose bought himself a neck pillow. Any little comfort you can add while sitting in a beast of a van speeding down Eisenhower’s highways is appreciated. Riding in a van with three talented artists is like compressing years of music lessons into a few weeks. We’ve been taking turns playing DJ. We’ve all traveled down different musical paths to get to our current collaboration. We’re listening to Stevie Wonder at the moment. Last hour we focused on Mandrill. We’ve gone down the Cuban rabbit hole, talked about salsa, discovered old soul tunes and sang along with the classic crooners. I’ve shared my love of Groove Collective, roots/rock reggae, and a few quirky pop groups like Cake and Beck. It’s fun spending time with like minded musicians. As much as I’ve loved jazz since my dad introduced me to Monk as a child, I’m inspired by all forms of music and I love it when new paths are opened up for me.

When I’m not behind the wheel I’m mesmerized by the changing scenery. We’re driving through Florida at the moment, so the fauna has changed and the air is thick. Today the clouds are white and puffy, occasionally shading us from the hot sun. It’s hot. Africa hot. Last week we were in cool Madison, Wisconsin. I’ll confess that’s more my speed. I don’t like melting.

The inspiration for today’s musing comes from our drive from Omaha to Kansas City a few days ago. When we were in Fremont, Nebraska, someone told me that their town was completely surrounded by water earlier this year. He said folks who were driving from Omaha to Fremont were not able to return home. Global warming’s a bitch. It was hard to comprehend Fremont’s struggles with flooding, but then we were on the highway leaving Omaha. For nearly 2 hours speeding down the pencil straight highway we were surrounded by water. Fields upon fields were covered in water. They looked like rice paddies. Occasionally we’d see remnants of rows of corn or soybean, but as far as the eye could see there was flooding.

I come from a family of farmers. I’ve lived most of my life as a suburbanite, but my heart is rooted with the land of my grandparents in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When I see this kind of crop damage, I can’t help but think of my family sitting around the kitchen table trying to figure out how to make it through another natural challenge. I don’t know how these farmers will survive this struggle. Compounded by unprecedented tariffs, they’re sure to be struggling for decades to come because of the current situation. For all our sakes, I’m rooting for the family farmers.

Jose is driving at the moment and we’re cranking Johnny “Guitar” Watson. We just kissed a strong thunderstorm to the west. To the east there are blue skies, and to the west it looks like Voldemort is returning. We’ll be in Boca soon and even though we only slept four hours last night in Atlanta, we’re all excited to play at the Funky Biscuit tonight. I’ve been told the Hammond at the club is sweet, and I rarely get to play on the real thing. We’ll be in Florida for the rest of this week. And then we start the long drive north with a stop at home before we head to Maine. Talk about a climate swing! This trip has been a blast.

Bronson Hoover