No road trip is complete without music. Like the soundtracks to our lives, these are a few of my go to albums.
Traffic – “John Barleycorn Must Die”
If I had a dime for every time I played this album while driving, I’d have enough gas money for the entire trip.
Neil Young – “Harvest”
Much of Harvest is about aging, how life doesn’t always go the way you’d imagined and about how perspectives change as time passes. In terms of relating to the music (and thus Young), it took me a while to understand where Neil was coming from in “Old Man”. I guess I had to taste the inevitable defeats and flat tires life throws at a person before the song made any true sense.
Crosby, Stills and Nash – “Self Titled”
Like three pals on a roadtrip, every song on here is an adventure through life. These three stick together through the mud, storms and ice slicked roads until they reach their destination.
Judas Priest – “British Steel”
No technical savvy here, just straightforward heavy metal blitzkrieg to get you down the highway.
The Band – “Music From Big Pink”
What kind of music is this? It certainly rocks, and it has a solid, funky bottom to it, but you really can’t label it rock, folk, blues or anything. It’s probably better to concede that labeling Music From Big Pink with a genre name, wouldn’t be a successful enterprise, and it’d be better to just let the sweet sounds wash over you as you’re going through the fingernails on a chalkboard drive through South Dakota.
Stevie Wonder – “Songs in the Key of Life”
Stevie gave us a set of songs that I can put on in times when I’m utterly lost for a solution and I can find myself inspired again. Like a roadmap to life, this will get you going in the right direction.
Townes Van Zandt – “Our Mother The Mountain”
Good story telling here to take your mind off of all those miles ahead. “Tecumseh Valley” and “St. John the Gambler” have to be two of the most masterful story-songs out there. Relationships and their attendant complexities are documented quite well also in “Be Here to Love Me,” and “Second Lover’s Song.”
The Eagles – “Greatest Hits”
There’s a song here for every view out of the car window.
Arlo Guthrie – “Hobo’s Lullaby”
Remember that mouse at the tea party in Disneys “Alice in Wonderland?” Whenever somebody says “cat” the mouse gets stressed and has a panic attack – to calm him down they put jam on his nose. If I’m feeling a bit of road rage- this is my jam on the nose album.
Bob Dylan – “Nashville Skyline”
When Dylan and Johnny Cash team up and sing about going to the country fair, you can’t help but feel like you’re driving there to meet them.
Dwight Yoakam – “This Time”
For when you’re a thousand miles from nowhere.
Junior Wells – “Hoodoo Man Blues”
Like the hard, rough landscape and bumpy roads, as you get closer to the Black Hills. Don’t expect a perfect recording on this album, this is very raw and occasionally the vocal recording levels peak into some distortion, but it is one of the most truthful live blues recording out there and one of the best blues albums period.
Nas – “illmatic”
The music equivalent of a 5 hour energy drink, this album helps me get my drive on when I’m tired and I need that extra push to my destination.