Sounds, hobo, tin roofs – Welshman in TN blog   Leave a comment


What is it about sounds and noises that can conjure up feelings, emotions and memories. Songs are an obvious example – they remind us of a time in our lives, or people, but what about freight train horns, or a ship’s fog horn? They represent the gypsy in many of us, journeys, adventures even.

I bought my first house when I was eighteen, and it had a wonderful skylight and if you stood on a chair you could see docks down at Cardiff Bay, but netter still, on a foggy night, you could here the ship’s horns, as they left or arrived at, the docks. My grandfather was dock master there during the Second World War and my other grandfather was a Captain in the Swedish Merchant Navy, so perhaps my wanderlust was, and is, unavoidable.

The sound of a freight train’s horn was apparently Johnny Cash’s favorite sound, and is one of mine. I love the stories of the men, hobos, who ride the train across the country. It seems romantic but in reality it is a hard and brutal life, as they fight to survive, moving from area to area in the hope of jobs. This was one of the reason I called the first album, Country Tales and Hobo Trails. I see the trains leave Nashville, some seem to go on for ever, they have so many carriages.


It’s the same with truck drivers; I pass them on the interstate and wonder where they are heading for? Sleeping in their cabs most nights, driving along the highways of this wonderful country.

Planes just don’t seem to have the same romance do they? They are more functional and as much as I don’t mind flying at all, I never look forward to a twelve hour flight, but with trains or trucks, ships or even cars. I’ve done a number of ‘road trips’, here in the States, east to West, (Fort Lauderdale to LA); south to north (Florida to Canada), and in Europe (Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy and French, all in one go, and numerous trips from Wales to the south of France).

Another favorite sound for me, and many others, is the sound of rain on an old tin roof, very Southern. At the back of my bedroom there’s an old tin shed and the sound of the rain on there is wonderful. It’s actually very relaxing, and it’s free! Thank you, Mother Nature.

tin roof

Here are some links:

link to train horns –
link to sound of rain – ten hours long!

link to country tales –


Posted March 5, 2015 by Jon Johanson in Uncategorized

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