Travel book: More Miles Than Money: Journeys through American music

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More Miles Than Money: Journeys through American music, by Garth Cartwright. Photo / Supplied
More Miles Than Money: Journeys through American music, by Garth Cartwright. Photo / Supplied

A sort of musical quest through the southern US to see if they're still producing the fresh, exciting, untamed roots music - blues, country, folk and soul - which once inspired the world... and New Zealander Garth Cartwright.

Travelling mainly by Greyhound bus - with the occasional car ride from kindred musical spirits - Cartwright meets ancient blues singers and outlaw poets, explores festivals which have become painfully trendy and backstreet bars which are dangerously tough, canoes down the muddy Mississippi and wanders sadly through the remnants of old Hollywood.

It's not necessary to know all the music or musicians he writes about - I certainly didn't - to find this a fascinating account of a grassroots music scene struggling against the homogenisation of global culture, and a slice of America bowed down by inequality, division and drugs.

* More Miles Than Money: Journeys through American music, by Garth Cartwright. Allen & Unwin, $39.99.

- NZ Herald

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