Wonder South

Surplus & Sight

Dispatch 03: On the road with Clay Parker & Jodi James


Photo by  Michael Tucker


"How many stars have burned out?

How many worlds have turned?

How much can I take?

Am I forsaken alone, or will you be here...

after the smoke clears?" 


Those are words sung in tender harmony on Clay Parker & Jodi James' debut record, and what follows are James' photographs and her recollections with Parker from the road as a hard-working Louisiana folk duo. These anecdotes and images were originally released as an Instagram takeover of @wondersouth. For more on their music and tour dates, visit Clay Parker & Jodi James' official site.

Hey y'all, Clay Parker and Jodi James here! We'll be taking over W.S. for the next week by sharing scenes from our life on the road. This photo was taken near Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. We found this wild turkey feather, and it has since become a permanent fixture behind the van windshield. Travel inspires and informs art, and we are happy to share some of the places that have inspired us the most and informed our songwriting.

We were heading from Johnson City, Tennessee, across the mountains into North Carolina after a night of picking bluegrass tunes with some local students. Just before we hit the state line along Hwy 321, we spied this shining lake of blue and green washing along these seemingly orange sandbars. It was Watauga Lake, and we had to stop and feel the water.

Our favorite ghost town in the morning light: Terlingua, Texas.

Though the lifestyle of a touring musician is one steered by schedules and destinations, it's the moments between destinations that provide the necessary wonder to continue a life of self-expression.

A rare fortuitous double-booking incident in Colorado Springs allowed for some much needed respite from the road. After being granted the evening off and well compensated for the inconvenience, we made it to Garden Of the Gods just in time to catch the sunset.

A Great Smoky Mountain picnic.


Somewhere, Tennessee - When time allows, we take the scenic route. Cheers to the road and all of its "somewheres" out there.

Photo by  Joey Bordelon

Photo by Joey Bordelon

Thanks for letting us takeover Wonder South. We'll see you all down the road! - Clay & Jodi