The next step on the blues road was an indirect one, when I met my girlfriend Jill.
I had been continuing to explore some new sounds via emusic.com, as well as going to the odd gig by the likes of The Black Keys and The Heavy, and paddling around in the shallow end of some of the blues-oriented rock I'd previously encountered over the years. But when Jill I first came across each other it quickly became apparent that we shared an enthusiasm for music. In early exchanges we namechecked favourite songs - 'Thunder Road' on my part, Van Morrison's 'Precious Time' on hers.
Jill has more musical skills that I don't. In her schooldays she played the oboe, and when we met she was learning to play Scottish traditional music on the fiddle. Unsurprisingly then, she likes folk music, but her tastes are eclectic enough to encompass blues alongside country and Americana. She was in the habit of taking in a few Celtic Connections gigs in Glasgow each January, so we were soon off to see a Gerry Rafferty tribute at the Royal Concert Hall, as well as the likes of Foy Vance and Rock, Salt and Nails at Oran Mor.
Jill is also a holiday fiend, and when we'd been going out for a year or more she was pondering possibilities for a big holiday in the summer of 2013, to celebrate completing her Masters degree. So when I mentioned that I had the notion of travelling down the Mississippi Delta, vaguely hoping to get some sense of the home of the blues, she leapt at the idea. And so it was that we set about arranging a trip that was to take in Nashville, Memphis, Clarksdale and New Orleans - a journey which will be recounted in the forthcoming series, 'Adventures in the South'.