"And the whiskey and women/ in this town are killing me/ if I don't put new boots on I won't get on my feet/ I've been running with the devil/ and it's gonna be hell to pay/ if I don't get to Austin, I swear." - Austin - Jon Randall.

I got my kicks on Highway One in California on the first week of my fourth U.S. tour - because of a pig, a dog and a cat.

The three cute critters are the call signs for listener friendly stations on the Pacific Coast.

The eclectic music format of KPIG - dynamic descendant of legendary seventies station KFAT - lives up to the name of its locale, Freedom, California.

I first listened to it live on the net more than a decade ago in joyous days of Nu Country FM on Beer Can Hill in Northcote.

I was among a vast galaxy of cyber swine who enjoyed the aural joys of the Pig Sty that played Waylon & Willie and Merle Haggard back to back with Aretha Franklin, Asleep At The Wheel and Emmylou Harris.


So it was serendipity that the San Francisco cabbie who drove us to our hire car HQ was hugging the Pig on his car radio on a sultry Saturday.

"That's good music you are playing," my partner and videographer Carol Taylor told the grey haired cabbie.

"Sounds like Robert Earl Keen, I added."

"That's Robert Earl and that's KPIG we've got - 1510 AM - and you can hear it up and down the coast," he advised.

So when we picked up our Dodge Charger space ship we locked our dial to The Pig as we cruised the Napa Valley wine country from Sausalito to San Rafael to Sonoma.

It was refreshing to hear country, swing and bluegrass artists banished from corporate commercial chains in Australia.

And ironic it was our aural soundtrack as we visited the adolescent hunting grounds of Nu Country TV celebrity chef and DJ Mid-Pacific Bob Olson who toils by days as a mathematics lecturer at Northcote High in the Beer Can Hill delta.

But we didn't blame the singing chef for a surrealistic snow job.

The Old Faithful geyser was a one trick pony spluttering with less vertical velocity than a hot sheet motel.

The Sabbath brought a new dawn and a new steed - a Pontiac Grand Prix.

So we hooked up to The Pig again as we headed south across the mountains to the salt and swagger of Santa Cruz.

It was aural nirvana as country morphed into bluegrass, R & B, western swing and back to country until the signal faded.


By then we had picked up the scent of a canine - KDOG 92.7 FM - as we hit Santa Cruz for a pit stop before cruising south to Monterey.

Childhood memories of John Steinbeck surged as we dismounted the Dog and strolled down Cannery Row and beyond.

When dawn broke our day we made Carmel in search of the legacy of former mayor Clint Eastwood.
Photo by Carol Taylor

Another slice of serendipity as we made a right turn and found KRML - the famed radio station featured in Clint's historic movie Play Misty For Me.

The studio of the latter day jazz station was perfectly preserved at the entrance to its CD and vinyl store.

It was there we were assailed by another swine scent - a whiff of The Hog's Breath from the restaurant once owned by the famed actor with a string of country music movies amid his dramas.

We followed our noses to the subterranean steak house where we dined out on cleansing Dirty Harry burgers for the trip down Big Sur.

The Dog's signal faded on the coastal colossus so we checked out new CDS by Texans Bruce Robison and Jon Randall and celebrated peers Ray Scott and Trent Tomlinson.

This was a surreal soundtrack for the majestic beauty of the rugged coastline - a northern hemisphere magnification of the Great Ocean Road to The Shipwreck Coast.

It was only after frequent pit stops on the breathtaking rocky range roof, popularised by Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouac that we descended into the beaches below.


We found squirrels, seals and finally a feline on the radio.

And then it was Cat Country - not the home of the famed Geelong football team but Cat Country 96FM in San Luis Obispo.

We soaked up the cream of the coastal cat, replete with an eclectic twang, as we found food and lodgings for the assault on the smog of L.A.

We also enjoyed the good tidings from membership officer and reviewer Peter O'Keefe that Geelong had thrashed Fremantle in Perth.

But reality struck as L.A loomed in the peak hour smog of Southern California and we reverted to the music of Jon Randall to soothe the driver so she didn't suffer the fate of fellow Texan Guy Clark, long stuck on L.A. Freeways in his classic hit for Jerry Jeff Walker.


"I don't mean to bitch and judge/ but baby I gotta go/ where they still play Merle Haggard/ and the girls love to rock n roll/ and I've been looking for perspective/ between the highway signs/ but all roads lead to Texas/ ya'll look me some time." - Austin - Jon Randall.

Timing is everything in music.

Randall, 37 and survivor of two stillborn albums during a five CD career, was dumped by his new record company Epic as we drove into L.A.

And the name of the excellent new disc - try Walking Among The Living.

The singer, born John Randall Stewart, changed his name to Jon Randall for recording so he wouldn't be mistaken for solo star & former Kingston Trio singer John Stewart, Gary Stewart, Marty Stuart, Larry Stewart and Lisa Stewart who were all recording when he was signed after ascending from Emmylou Harris's Nash Ramblers bluegrass band.

But he didn't changes his name when he became the fourth of five husbands of Nashville chanteuse Lorrie Morgan.

The Morgan-Randall marriage lasted from 1996-9.

But Randall enjoyed a better fate than her second singing spouse Keith Whitley who died of a booze overdose on May 9, 1989 with a .473% blood alcohol reading.

Other husbands were singer Ron Gaddis, Clint Black's bus driver Brad Thompson and controversial Louisiana singer Sammy Kershaw.

Lorrie enjoyed her 47th birthday on June 27 so, for the record, we list all husbands below.

Luckily my chauffeur, unlike Lorrie, didn't dump her petulant passenger.

We survived the manic machinations of truckies, mobile homes, Hummers and other steel stallions because of driving dexterity of chauffeur Carol who learned her trade in Gnotuk - a tiny hamlet west of Camperdown en routé to the Shipwreck Coast.

Next week we head further south to Colorado and Texas to find singing crime novelist Kinky Friedman as he heads into the home straight in his bid to topple Rick Perry as Texan Governor.


LORRIE MORGAN'S husbands are listed below for those with trivia nights in winter.
Loretta Lynn Morgan, daughter of late Grand Ole Opry star George Morgan, returned to the arms of Kershaw after failing to agree on the terms of divorce.

Sammy Kershaw (29 September 2001 - present) (filed for divorce) Jon Randall (16 November 1996 - 1999) (divorced) Brad Thompson (27 October 1991 - 1993) (divorced) Keith Whitley (22 November 1986 - 9 May 1989) (his death) Ron Gaddis (1979 - 1980) (divorced)

Click here to read Dave's On the Road Diary - Part 2

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