Brussels, Belgium

Welcome to this year's All The Roadrunning Tour and notes from the road. If this is your first visit, I hope you will find something in these ramblings of interest and will check back often. The notes will be an on-going series of entries while on tour with Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris, its contents revolving around my observations of events ranging from the spectacular to mundane, great restaurants, musty record shops, tourist traps, tattoo parlours and godknowswhat. Now and again I might even write about the shows. Having kept a private tour diary since 1996, I took the plunge last year and posted an online, six month version of our comings and goings and was encouraged to do so again. This tour will be much shorter, just 24 shows over 5 weeks, 15 in Europe and 9 in the States. The entries will appear on show days and generally not on days off. Let's get started.

Last week we completed a short and intense period of rehearsals in London. There will be loads of new music for this tour, material from the new album as well as many other surprises from Emmylou and Mark. Just about the time I'd adjusted my inner clock to shake hands with this first round of jet lag, I returned home to Nashville for two days to attend my son's graduation from high school then turned right around and flew into Brussels today for a full production rehearsal at the venue! I no longer know what day it is and jet lag has given way to global shock. I expect to be keeping some very strange hours this coming week, odder than normal.

Many of our beloved crew on last years Shangri-La tour have returned for more punishment, including our five star caterer Darin Wey. On arrival at the venue, old habits fell right into place; dump your bag in the dressing room and beat a path to catering. One of the three entrees on tonight's menu was bangers and mash (grilled sausages with dark brown gravy over mashed potatoes). Don't knock it 'til you've tried it. Various salads were available to counterbalance the damage done by the b&m. Dessert was a stunning caramelised apple upside down cake with a pitcher of hot custard nearby, various fresh fruits were presented to counterbalance the damage of the cake. All things in moderation. Or not.

We're all very excited about this little outing, can't wait to take the boards tomorrow night for our first show and I think there'll be some good nervous energy crackling in the air. In addition to Emmylou gracing our stage, we have a new band member for this tour, our friend Stuart Duncan. Stuart's a brilliant fiddle and mandolin player and has been on several of Mark's recordings including the current duet album with Emmy. He's one of the busiest musician's around Nashville and has appeared on thousands of records. He's also congenitally late, but that's another story.

More to follow, 'til then,

So long,