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Travers Geoffray

I am learning how to drive all over again. I traded my automatic for a manual transmission. No more cruise control. I am forgetting all of the street names, the fastest routes and the nearest highways. I threw out my GPS. I sold my furniture for gasoline money. I left my girlfriend, but took the dog. I am beholden only to myself.

I came to New Orleans to uncover the mysteries of its music. The song it sings, the keys it plays. As an apprentice, I studied the teachings of the Doctor, the Professor and the Maharajah. I founded Mississippi Rail Company. We played the clubs. We made them dance. On Halloween. On Mardi Gras. Until morning. I rejoiced in the glory of Jazzfest; the coveted prize for every New Orleans performer. I found my place in the majesty of New Orleans.

And then I stopped.

I stopped performing. I wrote. I wrote songs I thought I could never get away with playing in most New Orleans clubs. I accepted that reality. I kept writing. I took my bag of tricks and put them to the side. I used them when I chose to. I discovered a whole new way to approach the piano. My way.

I went to Nashville. I went to Duluth, Minnesota. I came back to New Orleans with a record called Highway Kings. Mississippi Rail Company molted somewhere along the way. This new venture of sound now bears my name alone.

I chose to risk my identity in New Orleans for more freedom. More exploration. Wide open spaces. I am dialing the odometer back to 0 and learning how to drive all over again with an empty map.

Some of you may choose not to ride with me and get off here. For those, I thank you for lending your ears and your applause over the years.

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