Free-spirited bluegrass musician remembers days riding the rails before his incarceration | KALW

Free-spirited bluegrass musician remembers days riding the rails before his incarceration

Sep 12, 2018

From the series Uncuffed:

Joe Kirk is known for his quiet ways, and commitment to the arts. He’s a musician, a singer, and an actor. Before he came to prison, he used to ride the rails, going from town to town and playing music. I spoke to Joe about the life he left behind.

I lived in Barstow California across the sticker-bush field from the railyard. Often I encountered hobos under the railroad bridge on my way to and from school. I dreamed of filling a knapsack with soda crackers and sardines, and hitting the rails to nowhere. I had dabbled at hopping freight trains short distances to and from little league baseball practices, but never any long trips, so when I met Joe Kirk, who had long rode the rails, I had to interview him on the art of hoboing.

"I just decided to take my last paycheck from my job, went to Walmart, bought a bunch of gear, hopped a train and headed down to Miami, Florida."