Traveling With Guitar Gabriel

inUncategorizedon December 10, 2013

Tim and Guitar Gabriel during their travels.

Tim and Guitar Gabriel during their travels.

We know this is the biggest travel season of the year – and so, in the spirit of the season we continue with our series of posts reminiscing about our 20 year history of traveling to gigs around the world, helping elderly Roots musicians share their talents.


In March of 1991 I met bluesman Guitar Gabriel on the streets of Winston-Salem, NC. In just a short time we became partners, produced an album and were performing at clubs and festivals. To our delight we were invited to perform at a festival in Holland – but Gabe needed a passport. After much research we found his birth certificate; however, it was totally illegible and the passport agency would not accept it. We appealed to our Congressman who introduced us to the Clerk of Court in Winston-Salem. After examining the document, the Clerk determined that whoever filled out the form was illiterate and misspelled everything including his name, illegible scrawl which she declared “No Name.” She instructed us on how to legally change this to Robert L Jones – his real name. The passport followed, and we were on our way.

When I went to pick up Gabe to go to the airport, his wife Dot was very mad at us for leaving her and would not let us check the suitcase to make sure Gabe had suits for the performance. Gabe and I gave up and headed out. Arriving in Utrecht, Gabe was ready to change into his pajamas and turn in. Opening his suitcase he found only dirty socks and underwear. Luckily, I ran into the legendary bluesman Guitar Shorty in the hallway and this story tickled him to no end. He lent Gabe a suit for the show the next day. This memorable trip had many twists and turns that would take pages to write. The good news was we made our shows, and the plane back home.

We arrived in LaGuardia on Thanksgiving Day in the early evening. It was eerie, there were no people in the airport, I guess everyone had made it home. Gabe and I found a small cafe, ordered up hamburger and fries, and Gabe said a blessing. I was thankful to be heading back home and for that whirlwind of a year when I began my journey with the blues.

Happy Holidays from all of us, you’ve made this journey possible.

– Tim

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