Cary Morin photo from his website
Americana Highways’ Key to the Highway series
Fans always clamor to learn more about their favorite, most beloved musicians and those who travel with them. There’s such an allure to the road, with its serendipity, inevitable surprises, and sometimes unexpected discomforts. This interview series is a set of questions we are asking some of our favorite roots rock Americana artists to get to know more about them and what they’ve learned and experienced on the road for music. We are sure they have key insights to share and stories to tell. Here’s one from Cary Morin.
Americana Highways: How do you like your coffee or other morning wake-up beverage?
Cary Morin: Dark roast with cream and sugar and a side of Golden Doodle puppies, in bed…
We travel in an RV with a French press and prefer to make our own coffee. If we don’t have electricity, we just turn on the generator to boil the water.
AH: What’s the most interesting or strangest motel/hotel or place you have stayed (while on the road for music?)
CM: When lodging is included in a gig, we typically stay in the parking lot of said lodging in our RV with the puppies. We use the room to shower…
Sealy Flats in San Angelo, TX was one of the more interesting places we played and stayed. It was a blues hotel with each room honoring an historic blues musician. The greenroom décor was all musical instruments – a drum chandelier, a piano kitchen sink, a trumpet shower head, and more.
AH: If one CD is stuck in the player in the van for the entire tour, what do you hope it is? And why?
CM: I used to have a Professor Longhair cassette tape that I played over and over. I bought it at a garage sale in the late 1980s. At that time, I wasn’t completely familiar with Professor Longhair, and I really liked the whole New Orleans style piano riffs and his whistling was so spot on. I’ve spent some time trying to learn those piano riffs on guitar.
I picked up a CD in a shop in Fargo, ND once. It had such an interesting cover that I thought that it could be a good listen. It turns out, that it stayed in heavy rotation for years. It was called “Big Noise: A Mambo Inn Compilation.” It features various Afro-Cuban artists. I think this would be the one…
AH: What’s one personal item you must have with you on your road trip?
CM: My earphones. I have to listen to podcasts to get to sleep, otherwise my brain won’t wind down, and I can’t get to sleep.
AH: What is your relationship with food? How do you handle this on the road, and what’s your favorite dish on the road, (or restaurant, and what do you order there)?
CM: I used to go all day without eating because of time, mostly… That’s changed over the years. I’m fortunate to have a refrigerator in my tour vehicle, so I can stock food that I like – cheese, crackers, pastrami, ice tea, bubbly water, etc. Celeste (my wife & manager) can make a meal or snack while we are driving down the road.
We don’t have a favorite chain restaurant, which is what you mostly see along the highways these days. Thai food and Poke are probably the ones we seek out the most. It typically requires getting off the highway and driving through a town to find them.
AH: If you could pause your life for a few weeks and spend some time living in a place you only have passed through, which would you choose, and why?
CM: There are a few that come to mind. I like Port Townsend, WA a lot for U.S. towns. Main street is nice with lovely restaurants, and I like the port area. I like playing guitar in the old bunkers at Fort Worden and visiting with a few friends that live there.
We have Italian friends who have a lovely restaurant in the quaint town of Malcesine in Northern Italy on Lake Garda. We have a standing invitation to stay in the apartment atop their restaurant. I cannot begin to describe just how beautiful this area is. It’s where The Dolomite Mountains meet The Italian Alps. There are many little villages all around the lake.
Also, I like the area around Cayucos, CA. I recently played there and it seems like a mellow and beautiful place to hang out for a bit.
AH: What quote or piece of advice have you gotten from someone on the road that has really stuck with you?
CM: From a recording engineer friend of mine, “Pay close attention to each line that you sing. Make every line/word very intentional. Articulate each word carefully.” This is something I hadn’t really thought about carefully before she said this. It makes a big difference, especially over time. As I sing my songs over and over, lines can lose meaning and intention if I am not intentionally articulate.
Find more information and tour dates for the Cary Morin here: https://www.carymorin.com/ or Venmo him as a tip here: @carymorinmusic
See other Key to the Highway interviews here: https://americanahighways.org/category/interviews/key-to-the-highway-series/ (click here for: Vince Herman Jimmy Smith Ben Nichols Bruce Cockburn Charlie Musselwhite Nicki Bluhm Jim White Danny Barnes Patterson Hood Jerry Joseph BJ Barham Rodney Crowell Todd Snider Elizabeth Cook Tommy Womack Eric Ambel, Dan Baird, Robbie Fulks, Malcolm Holcombe Jon Langford Steve Poltz, Lilly Hiatt Sarah Shook & the Disarmers Sadler Vaden )
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