Maybe, as the saying goes, "you can't go home again," but you can take a little bit of home with you wherever you roam. "Rambling" Steve Gardner does; a Mississippi roots and bluesman based in Tokyo, Gardner travels the world making music and giving seminars about musical history.

The irony of the contrast between his small-town Southern background and global perspective doesn't escape him, but with a good-natured grin, he savors the contradiction.

"Coming to Japan in the 1980s as a foreigner, I felt, early on, that sudden awareness of my own country as an outsider, and I felt a little shameful, growing up in Mississippi and looking at the hard and dark record of race relations my state has," he says. "You carry with you a genuine stigma, if you are at all aware of things. But my trump card as a musician in Japan was the very fact that I was from Mississippi."