Drawn in by lure of classic blues, we began in the city where guitar players wander off the stage and into the road, the pavements where students snapchat alongside families and blocks upon blocks of bars showcase local talent. Austin, Texas, the self-proclaimed 'live music capital of the world'.
Death metal with screaming soloists, big band blues with grooving horn players who feel the rythym through their whole being, classical guitarists who sit in a spotlit room playing their hearts. Groups wandering through the streets improvising a groove on a plastic bucket, guitar soloists who hand their instrument over to a grinning member of the crowd before wandering back on stage to finish his cigarette and ripping out Jimi Hendrix gold.
This is Austin.
This is the Austin we found. This is the Austin we had hoped for.
Architecturally it's a very industrial city, combining and an unusual mix of gleaming skyscrapers trying to keep up with demand, extensive green parks and further out suburban family homes that keep pygmy goats the tethered in the yard.
Evenings are when the city begins to jive, no matter the weather. 6th Street is the best know for a stretch of bars that spill out into the cordoned off roads (to keep bar hopping drinkers safe) but there seemed to be music on every single corner not to mention in the perpendicular roads.
And it wasn't even the time of Austin City Limits or South by SouthWest, the big music festivals that put this city on the international music map.
Skynyrd is played as often as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Monday nights are busier that Picadilly Circus - wandering along on a Sunday night feels like a rave and ginormous pizza slices are nibbled by everyone. We wandered into bars drawn to the amazing music and stayed for the chatty bar staff.
And this was only just the beginning...