Category Archives: Travel

This country is HUGE! “Callaghan Across America Tour” (Part2)

The Painted Desert, Utah

The Painted Desert, Utah

This country is huge!

It’s something I’ve always known, but never is the sheer scale of the US more apparent when driving through the West of it. I’ve heard many people mention how America is a young country and doesn’t have history that goes back a long way, which is true in some ways, but driving through the painted desert in Utah feels like looking back into prehistoric times.
The landscape looks so untouched and colossal, you can almost see the dinosaurs walking around on the hot sand.

The feeling of being overwhelmed by my surroundings has continued from the moment we drove across Texas, heading West. As someone who normally passes the hours of a long journey by sleeping, I haven’t been able to keep my eyes closed, worrying that we’ll drive round a corner and see an even more breath taking sight.

painted desert

The painted desert will be one of my favorite sights from this coast to coast trip, one favorite of many. Visiting the Grand Canyon was also something I’d always wanted to do, and it definitely didn’t disappoint. And the list of memorable experiences seems to be endless on this trip – meeting some Navajo Indians in Utah, riding the NY NY roller coaster in Vegas, seeing Celine Dion perform at Caesars Palace, seeing the elephant seals on a California beach on Highway 1, electrocuting some pickles in Austin TX (we were staying with a scientist, and who hasn’t wondered what an electrocuted pickle might look like?! Note of warning – don’t eat the pickle at the end), and reaching the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco which completed our coast to coast adventure.

"Callaghan Across America" reaches the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

“Callaghan Across America” reaches the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

elephant seals, california

The Elephant Seals on the beach on Highway 1

The "Pickleator"!

The “Pickleator”!

Tonight ill be in Denver Colorado for two shows this weekend before heading back home to Nashville.

Although this tour isn’t even over yet, I’ve already been looking at the map for next year. This country is so huge, there are lots more places yet to visit!

To see all the photos from the tour, head over to www.facebook.com/callaghanmusic

While I was driving today, I got a call to say that the “Callaghan Across America” Tour is featured in this week’s Billboard magazine. Please check it out!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recipes from the road – Mexican chili chocolate chewy cookies

mexican chocolate chewie cookies

Mexican Chocolate Chewies – delicious and gluten free too!

 

The “Callaghan Across America” tour continues to make its way West across the country. Since my last blog we have been to Clarkston MI, Frankfort IL, Chicago IL, Louisville KY, Nashville TN, Columbia MO, Lawrence KS, Manhattan KS, Bentonville AR, Eureka Springs AR, Dallas TX, Austin TX, Houston TX, – then a seriously long drive across 3 states to get to Tucson AZ, and last night in Las Vegas NV!

You can see lots of fun photos from the road over on my Callaghan Across America album on Facebook.

The shows have been going great and we’ve been seeing many weird and wonderful things on the road.

One of the great things about touring this way, i’ve discovered, is the food! Usually at regular shows we end up eating a lot of fried and quite unhealthy food, but the house shows are full of delicious home cooked food. I thought id share a couple of my favourites from the tour so far. Because I have such a sweet tooth, naturally I had to start with a dessert!


Mexican Chocolate Chewies 

This recipe was given to me by the host of the concert in Austin TX. They are made with deliciously dark cocoa powder and no flour so they are surprisingly light, gluten free, and completely irresistible!

 

Ingredients:

2 cups pecans, roughly chopped

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (King Arthur’s Black Cocoa powder works really well to give a deep chocolatey flavour)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp chipotle chile powder (we used 1/2 tsp and it tasted very good!)

1/4 tsp kosher salt

3 large egg whites

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

king arthur black cocoa

King Arthur Black Cocoa


Steps:

Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

While the oven is heating, arrange the chopped pecans in a skillet (frying pan) or on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until they’ve turned darker brown (but not black) and smell fragrant.

Mix roasted pecans with the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle chile powder and salt.

Stir the egg whites (no need to whisk them first) into the dry mixture until the batter is well mixed. Stir in the vanilla extract and chocolate chips.

Drop tablespoons of the batter on the baking sheet an inch apart, as the cookies will spread while baking. Bake for 15 minutes or until you see cracks on the surface.

Remove sheet from oven, lift parchment paper with the cookies still on it, off the baking sheet and cool on a rack. Allow cookies to cool for 20 minutes before removing from the paper as they’re very delicate.

They will keep for a few days in an airtight container.

Original recipe taken from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain

homesick texan cookbook

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Callaghan Across America” House Concert Tour (Part 1)

Callaghan Across America - Philadelphia PA

Callaghan Across America – Philadelphia PA

I’m just over a week into my “Callaghan Across America” tour and so far have travelled about 4,000 miles.

I have sampled some of New England’s finest fish and chips in Boston, enjoyed a sea air-filled run along the harbour, ridden the Mount Washington incline in Pittsburgh, enjoyed some Cinco De Mayo cocktails, taken a very chilly boat ride on the Chicago river, run up the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia and tasted a very interesting popcorn flavoured cream dessert in Cleveland.

Callaghan Across America - Enjoying some Boston Fish n Chips!

Callaghan Across America – Enjoying some Boston Fish n Chips!

Callaghan Across America - An early morning run in the NE sunshine

Callaghan Across America – An early morning run in the NE sunshine

So far I have pledged my support for a range of sports teams including the Redsox, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Cleveland Indians, Ohio state, Michigan, The Cubs, and Perdue! I’m sure there are no rivals in amongst those…right?!

Callaghan Across America - with the Terrible Towel in Pittsburgh!

Callaghan Across America – with the Terrible Towel in Pittsburgh!

And all along the way I have performed house concerts in people’s homes. I have done 9 of the 26 on the tour so far and have absolutely loved each one. Although each host does things a little differently the common theme running through all is a room full of music loving people eager to hear some original songs and sing along to a few familiar covers. I’m finding that not only have a lot of people never been to a house concert before, but have never really heard about them either.

It’s true that before I moved to the US I hadn’t come across the house concert format, and since moving here I’d only done the odd one slotted in amongst regular public shows. So this tour, doing exclusively house concerts coast to coast, is also a first for me. I keep wondering why I’d never thought to do it before, and whether, in this age where unsigned independent artists are finding it ever harder to use traditional routes of promotion like TV and radio, house concerts will become the number one way of spreading the word about new music.

Callaghan Across America - A typical house concert

Callaghan Across America – A typical house concert

To me house concerts are the oldest form of social networking. Nothing means more than a friend telling another friend about a new artist they have discovered. It goes even further than lending someone a CD, by saying “come to my house this weekend and hear the artist perform up close for yourself”!

Strong connections are made between the audience and the performer at the shows, and they become the best individual marketing and PR ambassadors that you could wish for!

4,000 miles in, the next stops will take me out West to some places I’ve never visited before and some I’m really excited to see again including Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Arizona, California, and Vegas!

If you’d like to see more photos and updates from the Callaghan Across America Tour, head over to www.facebook.com/callaghanmusic

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Day 1 of “Callaghan Across America” Tour, and another live record preview!

Image

After many months of planning and talking about it, the “Callaghan Across America” Tour  has finally begun!

The last 3 days have been spent driving from my home in Nashville to the start of the tour in Boston. Tonight will be the first show, and then there will be 25 more that will take me all across the country to San Francisco. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of cool people, seeing new places and playing some new songs I’ve been working on.

Here is a video for a song from my upcoming live record, to be released on July 1. This song was recorded live in a stud in Nashville and is a foot-stomping, hand-clapping anthem all about leaving someone!

I hope you all enjoy it, and have a great weekend!

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Callaghan Across America

callaghan across america

I’ve decided to set myself a challenge for the Spring.

A road trip like no other.

Starting in Boston on May 3, I’m going to make my way across the USA playing a house show each night, traveling from sea-to-shining-sea! The tour will wind its way across the USA to reach Berkeley California by June 2. What the route will be between those two destinations will depend on who hosts a show!

The tour’s called Callaghan Across America.

I’ve been doing house concerts since moving to America. They were an innovation to me, something I had not come across on the other side of the pond, but once I had done a couple I was hooked.

So, for a couple of years now, as well as playing in clubs and public venues all over the USA, I’ve also been setting up my PA system in people’s living rooms and  playing live for them and their friends.

More and more people are opening up their homes to live music and inviting their friends to hear artists they love. For listeners, house shows offer a relaxed and intimate way to hear live music. For independent artists like me they offer a fantastic way to reach new fans, make new friends and stay on the road making music.

This tour is going to be a great challenge, and also a celebration of this growing grassroots movement in live music. We’ll see if house shows alone can take Callaghan Across America!

On the way I’ll be stopping at interesting sites and sampling local food from each place, so I’ll definitely be looking for some great recommendations on which direction to go!

If you might be interested in hosting a house concert – even if you’ve never done one before – head over to my website that has information about what’s involved: www.callaghansongs.com/houseconcerts

To let me know that you might like to host a show please email callaghanmusic@me.com

Tagged , , , , , ,

Let’s ‘Ave a Proper Brew!

My favourite tea..."Let's Have a Proper Brew!"

Yorkshire Tea – my favourite to make the perfect cuppa’



For the past few weeks I’ve been back in England. And despite the cold and wintery weather I have been enjoying a few home favorites.

Through all the glorious pints of Guinness, Fish and Chips and much missed chocolate bars I’ve been re-acquainting myself with, I wonder how I managed to live here all those years without putting on 20 pounds a week! Although there’s nothing like not knowing when you’re going to get to eat a particular food again to make you go a bit crazy – I think it might be time to get back on the juice diet when I return to Nashville!

It’s usually at this point in my trip that I’m considering buying extra suitcases to fill with tins of Heinz Baked Beans, tubs of Birds Custard powder and boxes of Yorkshire Tea, but I have so far managed to resist.

Here are some pictures from my travels which remind me of some of the reasons I love coming home…

There's nothing like traditional fish n' chips!

There’s nothing like traditional fish ‘n’ chips!

The slightly odd combination of tea and giant strawberry meringue!

The slightly odd combination of tea and giant strawberry meringue!

 

Giant meringue

It tasted good though…!


It's surprising the things you miss from home! Some of my favorite flavours of crisps

It’s surprising the things you miss from home! Some of my favorite flavours of crisps

Bacon

You can’t go wrong with a bacon sandwich, covered in Heinz Ketchup!

No birthday party is complete without...Jelly and icecream!

No birthday party is complete without…Jelly and icecream!

If you were living in another country, what would be the one food you’d miss the most??


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Joys of Turning Two

Jelly and Ice-cream, chocolate cake with Cadbury’s chocolate buttons, numerous books and videos of Noddy’s adventures, and a super cool wooden car complete with hippy-looking driver. These are just a few things that go into making up the perfect two-year old’s birthday party.

The birthday boy in question this time was my gorgeous nephew, Noah.
Having just flown in from Nashville a couple of hours earlier, I was so pleased to be able to celebrate the day with him. I’m not sure how much he understood of the concept of birthdays – indicated by the fact that when my sister asked him who had brought all of his lovely presents his reply was “Santa”. Oh well.

But he certainly looked like he had fun with them, and nothing summed up the pure joy in the eyes of a two year old as when his giant chocolate cake was placed in front of him.

Priceless!

Turning two with birthday cake

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Sun, Sea, Sand, Great Music and a few Painkillers (the alcoholic kind!)

There’s nothing better to make the cold early months of the year more bearable than a trip to some tropical Caribbean islands.

This year I was lucky enough to be booked on Cayamo; a music cruise that sails every year from Miami to the Caribbean and for 7 days is home to around 40 artists and 2,000 guests.

Each artist performs three shows during the week as well as collaborating with each other and joining in with some impromptu jam sessions that spring up all over the boat.

onboard Cayamo Music Cruise

I had a fantastic time at all my shows and met some amazing people, got to perform with Shawn Mullins, Erick Baker, and Michelle Malone, and saw some fantastic shows of artists such as Joan Osborne, Dawes, and Delta Rae.

The week is made up of days at sea, and trips to some islands. This year the ship docked in San Juan, Antigua and Tortola.

Tortola was my favorite, with its white sandy beaches and clear blue water. And despite my perhaps over-active fear of sharks, I even dared to take a swim and survived to tell the tale!

One of Tortola’s highlights for me was a special local cocktail called a “Painkiller” that was made from rum, orange juice and coconut, with a little fresh nutmeg added at the end. They were totally delicious and dangerously more-ish!

painkiller recipe from british virgin islands

To share a bit of Cayamo’s magic, I have made a photo-video using some of my photos and some sent to me by friends.

I hope you enjoy it!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Top Ten Christmas Gift Ideas For The Person Who Has Everything…Including More Money Than Sense!

It’s that time of year again.

When the colorful lights decorate homes and city streets, store fronts are invitingly decked out with festive cheer, the cold nights draw in tempting you to indulge in some guilt free consumption of comfort food and warming alcohol, and for some reason, it’s the time of year when people start buying the craziest of things.

People who may have been, for the previous 11 months, totally normal now make it their mission to find and purchase items for friends, family members and co-workers, spending their hard earned dollars or pounds on useless and unwanted gifts that will be relocated to a basement, utility room or dusty drawer come December 26th.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a scrooge. In fact, I am one of the biggest suckers out there for anything that seems vaguely Christmassy – my tree goes up in November! But what happened to “it’s the thought that counts”? It seems that nowadays the stores bombard us with so many items and pressure to buy that any gift is better than no gift at all, despite the fact that we probably all reached the point of not really needing anything a long time ago.

I was reminded of this fact when the Christmas Catalogues started pouring into my mail box. I started flicking through some of them and was absolutely amazed – and pretty entertained – by some of the gift ideas on offer. Here are a few of my favourites. And remember, someone somewhere was paid to go to work, sit at their desk, and invent these products in the hope of getting them under your tree this Christmas…

 

1. Snowball/ Snow Block Maker Set

Snowball maker

For only $14.95 you can take the fun completely out of snowball fights with this useful gadget.

No more frozen hands preparing your icy weapons, this handy kit also shaves valuable hours off constructing the snow blocks for your Christmas ice house. I’m currently splitting my time between Nashville and Atlanta so this would be really good for all those snowy days!

 

2. Cell Phone Sanitizer

Cell phone sanitizer

Christmas is a time for catching up with family, friends and loved ones.

Don’t let it also be a time for catching germs.

This battery-powered sanitizer is a carefree way of erasing the memory of the unimaginably unsanitary places your cell phone and bluetooth devices have been in the last 11 months.

3. Her Majesty’s Umbrella

Her Majesty's Umbrella

Want to give a gift of royal quality?

Look no further than this genuine HRH Queen Elizabeth-approved plastic umbrella.

Featuring “easy opening and closing, and black regal trim”, this gift will bring a touch of class to your festivities this year.

It’s not quite as good as Mary Poppins’ umbrella which allows you to fly, but those are out of stock!

(Please note: regal looking senior citizen not included)

 

4.  The Light Show Music Player

The Light Show Music Player

Who needs fancy stereo sound systems, or expensive firework extravaganzas, when all your party is waiting for is this state of the art music player.

Your guests will be high on party atmosphere as they experience the “dazzling light show”, and measuring in at “no larger than a box of tissues” you know you’re going to get the sound quality your Christmas event deserves.

No one gets left out at this party – The Light Show Music Player comes fully equipped with a remote control so you can DJ from the dance floor. Or just switch to the built in AM/FM function and let someone else do the work while you dance the night away.

 

5. The Hands Free Wine Aerator

The Hands Free Wine Aerator

The Holidays can be such a stressful time – people visiting day and night, and a huge pressure to be the perfect host.

The Hands Free Wine Aerator takes the hassle out of entertaining for the host that wants to get hammered with their guests while still enjoying the subtle bouquet of aerated wine.

No longer will you have to worry about being sober enough to hold your favorite bottle of wine vertically upright, this hands free decanter does all the work, leaving you more time for what’s really important at Christmas – drinking yourself horizontal.

 

6. The iPhone Controlled Ball Dropping Bomber

The iPhone Controlled Ball Dropping Bomber

Ever feel weighed down by excess bills in your wallet or get that bloated feeling in your bank account?

Get instant relief and feel $129.95 lighter when you purchase the iPhone Controlled Ball Dropping Bomber. This christmas you can drop ball bombs on your nearest and dearest.

(this does actually look like fun!)

 

7. The Direct To iPhone/iPod Scanner

The Direct To iPhone/iPod Scanner

In this digital age everyone agrees that those magical moments are best viewed on a 3 x 2 inch screen. But don’t stop at photos taken with your iPhone only – this Direct To iPhone/iPod Scanner allows you to take any picture and scan it into your phone, cleverly reducing the size and quality of the photo.

And how about all those recipes you’ve been collecting that are piling up, or the unmanageable number of business cards we all have to organize? Now those too can easily take care of all your iPhone’s spare storage. In fact, you can scan anything so long as it’s no bigger than 4×6.

This handy extra-bag-required-sized accessory is the perfect gift for the person in your life who loves those “impromptu scanning sessions” and let’s face it, it’s not a party till you scan something!

 

8. The Backpack Vacuum

The Backpack Vacuum

Surprise someone you love this Christmas with the gadget all home-makers have been waiting for.

No longer will you have to drag around the heavy and bulky plastic container of filth collected from your home, you can strap all the dirt, grime, toe nail clippings etc onto your back!

Why rely on the wheels of a regular vacuum cleaner when your own back can take the strain?

(might be quite good for playing Ghostbusters!)

 

9. The Talking 30 Language Translator

The Talking 30 Language Translator

Learning a new language can be overly time consuming. The modern global jet-setter simply doesn’t have time to be rifling through phrase books every time they’re in a new country.

Now you don’t have to with The Talking 30 Language Translator.

Unlike its $3.99 iPhone app competitors, which unhelpfully also translate photographed words, this sleek 1985-styled device can be the envy of your fellow travelers for only $249.95.

When you pull this out in some exotic location, the first question you receive may translate as ‘don’t they have the internet where you’re from?’

 

10. The Two Story Inflatable Reindeer

The Two Story Inflatable Reindeer 

No home is complete without some Christmas decoration, and what could be more impressive than this tasteful Two Story Inflatable Reindeer?

For under $400 you can make your home the talk of the street. Or surprise the recipient of this gift, and let their holiday guests enjoy literally seconds of amusement.

(I really want one of these! Or at least a house with a garden big enough to host him!)

And remember not to forget your furry friend this holiday season…

The Only Outdoor Heated Cat Shelter

The Only Outdoor Heated Cat Shelter

Make your cat feel loved this year by buying its own outdoor heated shelter. Even better than allowing ‘Fluffy’ indoors on a cold wintry day, the Outdoor Heated Cat Shelter gives your cat a feeling of independence whilst protecting it in all weather conditions.

If you enjoyed reading about these Top 10 Christmas Gift Items and would like to know where you can buy any of them from, it might be time to have a long hard think about things!

I hope you and yours have a happy, fun and wonderful Christmas!

Tagged , , , , ,

Weird And Wonderful Moments From The Road

As another leg of touring ends and I head back for some time off the road in Nashville, I thought I would share some of the moments I’ve experienced during my 2 1/2 years of touring in the US.

To date I have visited 30 states and performed in about 25. That still leaves plenty of places on my list to visit! Along the way I have met some truly wonderful people at shows, house concerts and out and about and had  so many laughs with the amazing artists I have had the good fortune to share the stage with including Shawn Mullins, Matthew Sweet, Erick Baker, Griffin House, Matthew Perrryman-Jones, and Steve Forbert.

Here are some photos which capture some favourite moments from the road, as well as some amusing or downright bizarre sights. One moment that still sticks in my mind was whilst touring with Shawn Mullins. We were all doing laundry in Dover, New Hampshire (laundry is part of the glamour of touring!) and saw a man walking his pet goat along the road, just like walking a dog! Unfortunately I couldn’t find a photo of that, but that is the beauty of touring – you never know what you’re going to see next! From sea to shining sea, over 100,000 miles, I have seen some crazy, beautiful and exciting things, here are a few of them…

At a gas station in Kentucky….
We took a photo of their restroom sign, apparently they were filming us!

This donut and coffee store in Austin TX has an open door policy for Monkeys…I waited and waited, but none came in.

This Ohio truck stop offers Boneless Bananas – suitable for vegetarians

You know your gig is in a good part of town when the store next door sells this!

Enjoying a colourful wind farm in Asheville North Carolina

On the Freeway…The new super-hyper-mega walmart has a new mega-cart

Flying back from Portland OR – quite a view!

You’ve heard of Hank’s Lost Highway? The GPS has lost this road under the ocean!

Callaghan fan- club in Atlanta GA, with amazing posters

Wild Gators near a gas station in Alabama. I didn’t realize there was any other kind!

Who needs protecting from who here…?

Down on the gulf coast…these fellas must be driving to that Coffee shop!

A local band playing on one of the islands visited by the Cayamo music cruise.

An beautiful bright sun on 30A highway, Florida – check out the 30A songwriter’s festival in January!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: