Day 6 Geelong, Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia. Still no sign of kangaroos or kookaburras, but acclimating to the environment quite easily, thanks to the unparalleled congeniality of the natives. We arrived on Tuesday the 17th of March 2015 after an arduous three day journey made longer by the total absence of February 16th.
(presumably our Captain on the SS Qantas)
Upon arriving in Melbourne we were taken to the mansion of the nation’s president Dobe Newton (president of not only the Australian Country Music Association, but also the Fitzroy Bowl’s Club, The legendary Bushwackers, and probably a number of secret societies that we don’t know about.).
(In addition to his presidential duties, Dobe Newton paints life-size 3 dimensional landscapes)
We boarded a marvelous moving contraption called a tram to make our way to Newport to meet with the rest of our crew, murderous expatriate Rick Plant and fiendish fiddler Sarah Busuttil. Pete and I, while bleary-eyed from our upside down schedule, were blown away by these antipodean pirates. (Well, we knew Rick would be good, having played and travelled with him in Nashville Before he emigrated to Australia with his wife, the wondrous Sherry Rich, and their offspring. But Sarah? Yikes!)
Our second day was spent acclimating ourselves to the mysterious world of the antipodes. We ventured down to the Merri Creek to forage for food and familiarize ourselves with the avian population, coming upon some ancient petroglyphs, which we plan to have interpreted by the natives.
Merri Creek Petroglyphs
We then boarded a land-going vessel called a “tram” (we must get those in Nashville!) and made our way to the city center of Melbourne, sampling local Hungarian fare and procuring a new suitcase for Pete, his having been mysteriously damaged by the crew of the HMS Qantas. Upon arriving at the sutler we were delighted to find ourselves across the street from the legendary Queen Victoria Market, the city’s largest provider of fresh fruit and vegetables, and whatever other culinary treats one might desire! With mouth-watering joy we wound our way through the empty stalls, our spirits only slightly dampened by the fact that the market is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays. From there we procured a land schooner to be sailed throughout our time on this mighty island, and we sped off into the crowded streets of Melbourne, both of us trying hard to remember which side of the lane was left, which direction on the roundabouts was clockwise, and exactly how to respond to the Australian well-wishers shaking their fists at us and encouraging us with their colorful colloquialisms.
On day three after procuring drums and a sound system we made our way to the Fitzroy Bowls Club with President Dobe Newton, the legendary singer of the Bushwackers who we credit with enabling us to get here in the first place. (And here the Australians are free to substitute “credit” with “blame”.) In addition to being the president of the Fitzroy Bowls Club, Dobe is the president of the Country Music Association of Australia. With such an eye for talent, we were excited to perform for the president, but after a few tosses across the green, President Newton declared that I appeared to have not a bit of natural aptitude for the sport of lawn bowling.
After a bit of “tucker” (food), Dobe hit the stage accompanied by Sarah Busuttil (Bushwacker # 92 and Blue Buccaneer # 28) and Tony O’Neill (Bushwacker # 47). They did a rousing set that included a dance lesson from their Australian Bush Dance record and the anthem “I Am Australian”, now a staple of school anthologies. (An aside: my introduction to Australia was the “Kookaburra” song in grammar school.What a treat to have them laugh at me in person years later!)
Sarah, Dobe, and Tony O'Neill
We then hit the stage, and at points were lucky enough to be joined by both Bill Jackson and Marisa Yeaman, two wonderful songwriters I’d had the pleasure of meeting during their sojourns to the other new world.
Fitzroy Bowls Club sing-along, with Marisa Yeaman and Bill Jackson
ARRRR!! We had a wonderful time at Tall Ships Races Fredrikstad 2014 in Norway! The British Blue Buccaneers (Pete McLeod and Tracey Bearmore) and I arrived on Friday 11 July on the island if Isegran and were greeted by our new friends Bård and Tora from Norgesexpo, where we stayed in an historic house nestled in the grounds of Isegran’s fort built in the 13th century.
On Saturday evening we played our first concert, in the city center. With piratical tactics we coerced the Swedish Sea Shanty group Gråskägg (Grey Beard) to join us for the second half of our show. They were wonderful! Per played guitar on demand, and I forced Kai to follow me with a mic for my trombone solo. (Perhaps better unamplified!) We’re hoping footage shows up soon, most likely so we can destroy the evidence. After the show we all returned to the house to sing into the wee hours.
On Sunday and Monday evening we played at a tent on Isegran, and after Monday’s show we caught a ferry to board the English Tall Ship Tenacious, a turn of the century vessel refitted to allow for handicapped and blind crew, where we gave an acoustic concert at the invite of our new friends Nick and Sue, who were crewing on the leg to Bergen Tall Ships. A grand time and a wonderful tour of the ship! As midnight approached I hurried back to Isegran, where an orchestra was performing a live accompaniment to fireworks at 12, right over our house. Beautiful!
On Tuesday we watched the Tall Ships leaving for Bergen, and in the evening played at a party for the volunteers at the festival, which was great fun. The volunteers, staff, and sound-people at this festival were absolutely wonderful, and It’s a pity that the next Tall Ships race doesn’t go there again for another 4 years.
On Wednesday morning we arose with the sunset on a much quieter Isegran, greeted by a deer and a fox, and I drove the Pete and Tracey to Oslo to return to England until we reconvene in August.
Once again we had a roaring time at the big Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival in Fort Walton Beach Florida. We had a conga line and some great sing-alongs, and the weather was perfect!
The wonderful crew that organize the festival asked us to return in 2015 for our fourth year, and we can't wait! Along the way we saw many of our old hearties including Captain Davy Duvall.
We had a most successful raid on the Pirates of the Carrabellean Festival, AKA the Carrabelle Riverfront festival. So successful, in fact, the mayor gave us the key to the city! (Rumor has it the locks were changed immediately!)
Pete hauled away or heaved to or something…
We sailed into Carrabelle on the historic schooner the Governor Stone (propelled magically without its sails), and upon arriving Maria played a rousing version of "Morrison's Jig".
The local grocer even adjusted their sign for the pirate festival:
Alo Over the weekend we witnessed the Fishy Fashion Show, the spring collection using fabrics and materials that sprung from the seas and the beaches near Carrabelle. We also had plenty of pirates singing with us.
Day one. I arrived on the island of St Thomas in the Lesser Antilles with a new crew. I have not breathed a word to them of my past misadventures, or the crew who so ruthlessly marooned me here last year, leaving me to subsist on whatever coconuts and feral mongooses I was able to catch before being rescued by a blues band from Bismarck who were sailing by. At this juncture it would seem I have no cause for suspicion. The quartermaster is a Czech named Pulkrabek who speaks not a word of English but is able to sing in his soon to be adopted tongue; the bosun is an Italian named Kowalski: her looks betray her skills on the violin, leading me to believe that she is not in her mid twenties as she appears and claims, but is actually in possession of the knowledge of the whereabouts of the fountain of youth, which would come in handy right now; (I mistook said fountain for a Pissoir some years ago.); the gunner is a Scottish calligrapher who was chosen for the voyage strictly by virtue of his name: Thorneycroft. We've secured a vessel and purchased provisions at a local sutler named kmart and are seeking out additional crew at Magen's Bay for Wednesday night's raid on Latitude 18 near the village of Red Hook. We will undoubtedly splice the main brace in honor of young Thorneycroft's birthday and reconnect with the dread brethren pirates of Red Hook, chief among them Barefoot Davis and Captain Rick.
Day two. After spending the night in a swamp of mangroves first mate Pulkrabek and I have secured passage in a vessel to St. John captained by master Senterfitt. Tonight we return to Tickles at the Crown Bay Marina on St Thomas. If my memory serves me well (it usually gets the order wrong) Tickles is named after St Thomas' ruthless executioner Bartholomew Tickles. (I'll try to verify that.) Tickles sits at the ferry dock for the Water Island ferry which carries dozens of residents and visitors to Water Island daily, across the peculiar liquid the island is named for.
Day three. After a most successful engagement at Tickles Dockside Bar we scoured the island of St Thomas seeking lodging in the dead of night. We were told to look for a makeshift tavern at a dock nestled in a mangrove swamp where a benevolent barkeep named Nancy would meet us to provide us with a room in her home for the night. Within an hour of shutting our eyes a storm started, a topical symphony of rain and wind, and made me grateful to be sheltered here among the mangroves.
Waking up the next morning on yet another strange plank to the singing and cooing of the birds who dwell amongst the mangroves, I find myself on the anniversary of my birth, another year passed, filled with gratitude to the crew who have without complaint gone on the account with me, foregoing the luxuries of home for unpredictable levels of comfort (and often discomfort) and questionable outcomes, joyfully embracing lives of mysterious adventure, and I feel grateful to the crews who came on earlier raids, without whose pillaging skills I would never have returned to these waters. (It is in this light that I came to realize that what I thought had been an act of marooning last year by a mutinous crew was actually the result of a sort of nautical sleepwalking on my part.)
Today we leave St Thomas for the island of St. John, where we will with luck celebrate the birthdays of myself and Master Thorneycroft by seeking out a feast of raw fish. Should we be unsuccessful in our search, we will placate our appetites by donning underwater swimming glasses and staring at fishes that are still alive. This evening we will play a quieter set (sensitive pirates!) at the Inn at Tamarind Court, the villa where we'll be lodged for the night.
(Photo Jeff Lange)
Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers are getting shipshape for a wonderful 2014! We're booking festivals through the year, including a two month tour of the United Kingdom and Europe lasting from mid-June to mid-August. Check our calendar frequently for updates, and if you want us to come play where you are, let us know! In February we're doing out annual tour of the Virgin Islands, and in March we'll start recording our new CD.
Here's a Happy New Year video of "A Good Year to You":
And here's a Happy Birthday version, complete with lyrics:
Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers had a wonderful time playing A Pirate's Christmas, at the greatest of venues, The Cumberland Caverns in Tennessee, as part of the monthly Bluegrass Underground series. We played songs from "A Pirate's Christmas" and "A Slide Guitar Christmas", had a fantastic crowd, and were even joined by a roly-poly captain from the North Pole. Photos coming soon to the journal.
Talk Like a Pirate Day 2013
We have just released a new video, in time for International Talk Like a Pirate Day! It was directed by Ryan Newman, shot by Ryan and Tommy Wilson, and edited by Chad Davis, and stars plenty some Blue Buccaneers and fetching lasses! The single is available at CDBaby.com and at
Fire away, me hearties, fire away!!
We Have a new Holiday CD available this year, "A Pirate's Christmas"!! To hear samples go to the "Music" page, and to purchase go to the "Buy" page.
The new CD "The Blue Buccaneer- Songs Inspired by the Golden Age of Pirates" is here! The treasures have arrived and are ready to be plundered! Order them now, that's an order!
Our latest single and video, "Yo Ho Ho (Pirate's Christmas)":
The CD "Alchemy" is temporarily out of stock, but downloads of the songs are available at CDBaby.com and
iTunes. We'll be reprinting the CD's in 2013. Because making a CD is an expensive proposition, we're also putting out what we're calling a "Virtual Tip Jar", a chance for you to help offset the costs and allow us to keep doing what we do. Any amount will help. Thanks!
We're creating a whole new e-mail list, so please sign up, whether you're been getting our e-mails or not!
We had the greatest time playing at the Brixham Pirate Festival in Brixham, Devon, on the southwest coast of England. The weather was perfect, the festival was filled with fine looking pirates, and the crowds sang our songs with gusto!
In my continuing search for a tool shed for my Shelby Park Estate I came across this fixer-upper in Kilkenny on the banks of the River Nore in Ireland. granted, it may be a little spacious for the lawnmower and hoes, but I'm thinking my dog Errol could use a slightly bigger doghouse.
While in Ireland I'm researching designs for a toolshed, somewhere to keep my lawnmower, bicycles, and weed-whacker in East Nashville. Here are two possibilities. The first is a nice little norman number in Ballyhack in County Wexford, perhaps a bit more practical due to it's squareness. The second is Ireland's oldest civic structure, Reginald's Tower in Waterford, built in the early 13th century. I was hoping to just move it over, but am having a difficult time getting in touch with this Reginald bloke.
What is this strange place? Why has my crew marooned me here with only a musket and a fishhook? Will I ever see The village of French Lick again?
Day 8. Still no sign of other humans. Wasted only bullet on hallucination of reindeer. Diet of salt water, cactus leaves, and conch. Grasp of reality growing more and more tenuous. Slowly slipping into madness.
Day 12... Still no sign of other humans... keeping company with a strange dragon-like creature. Hallucinations persisting. If no food soon, may have to resort to eating my new friend.
Day 14... A skull washed up on shore... Alas poor Yorick... I knew him... He hath borne me on his back a thousand times...
Day 16. "Rescued". Was taken in a flying ship to the land of Puerto Rico, and quarantined in a structure with unnatural looking inns that have names like Cinnabon and Margaritaville. I am more terrified than I was after being marooned on that island. They are warning me of an impending journey to a strange place called Texas and then on to Nashborough.
February 16, 2013
It has been five days since I arrived in the leeward islands with the Blue Buccaneers, and so far the journey has been tremendous. The dread pirate Blueballs (born Mark Miller) and I stowed away in a southbound galleon headed for the settlement of Miami, where we convened with the dread pirates Joe Bloe (born Joe Luoma) and Mr. Eel (born Ric Lee). There we managed to secure passage on a brigantine headed for the port of Charlotte Amalie on the island of St Thomas, in the Lesser Antilles. Upon arrival we managed to procure a wagon for the eleven days we’d be in St Thomas and St John, and meandered our way to a rooming house in Tillett Gardens. There we were shown our lodgings by the beautiful Panamanian Jessica and the equally beautiful Carolinian Abigail, and soon met the duke Eric Tillett, the tattoo artist Chill, and other fine upstanding residents of the area.
Soon after our arrival the fair Jessica charmed Robyn, the restaurateur of Bistro 4560 at Tillett Gardens, into hiring us for a concert on our night off. After casting off our duffles we took the wagon to a pub called Latitude 18 to meet up with our confidant and provocateur Barefoot Davis, who advised us on upcoming raids and warned us of an eventual gathering of the brethren of pirates.
Tuesday we found what ragged equipment there was available to us hidden in a storeroom at Hull Bay Hideaway and made our way to Magen’s Bay, an inlet peopled with tourists of all levels of inebriation, and had a fine swim to wash off what remained of the parasites that attack the northern climates. That evening we performed at Sugar Bay and connected with a few comrades, and then prepared for our performance at Tillett Gardens Wednesday night.
Wednesday morning I awoke early to the sonorous sounds of the native avifauna of the island, roosters. Oh what a sweet melody that created, in what seemed to be choirs in a wonderful stereophonic counterpart to the melodies of the local Canis lupus familiaris (dogs), who had a delightful song of call and response. Quartermaster Joe was entertained through the night by these lovely creatures, who seem to revel in the ever rising suns created by the all-night trading posts that cater to the nighthawks of the island.
I forged a trail to a large emporium of provisions with the name Plaza Extra, next door to an even larger emporium called “Big K”, and was able to purchase fresh eggs (no doubt from the families of our local songbirds!) bread and vegetables, and large sacks of citrus to ward off scurvy. After a lovely repast with Kelli Kocapelli, a lovely sojourner at the guesthouse, we made our way to the port of Red Hook for some
(At this point the rest of the text seems to have been lost at sea. Visual accounts of the two week voyage remained, however, and in the coming years we will do our best to reconstruct the events that occurred.)