No, even though i have been talkin’ a little about books lately, this post is not about the Cormac McCarthy novel. There are countless songs that have been written about/inspired by that mixture of gravel, cement, and tar we like to call The Road.
Rather than save it for last, i’m gonna start with the song that inspired this post. It could be construed as too literal, but Jerry Jeff was best at being blunt.
mp3: Jerry Jeff Walker – Life on the Road
buy Scamp (1996)
Since the introduction of the automobile, Americans have long had an affinity for The Highway. Whether it represents the distance between a man and his lover, the treacherous path taken while transporting precious cargo, or a mythical place where the good go to be bad, the highway has always possessed transcendental qualities.
mp3: Owen Temple – Tennessee Highway
buy General Store (2002)
mp3: The Everybodyfields – Out On The Highway
buy Nothing Is Okay (2007)
mp3: Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (alt take)
buy No Direction Home – The Bootleg Series, Vol. 7 (1995)
There’s something special about the feeling you get from being on The Road. Whether you’re a traveling musician or not, there’s a calming effect that comes from the mixture of the soft hum of your tires on the blacktop, the wind in your face, and the surrounding scenery. The long stretches with nothing to do except bounce stuff around in your head have no doubt spawned some of your favorite songs from your favorite artists.
mp3: Hayes Carll – Down The Road Tonight
buy Little Rock (2005)
mp3: Bruce Robison – Driving All Night Long
buy Long Way Home From Anywhere (1999)
mp3: Patty Griffin – Long Ride Home
Of course, the best part about a road-trip of any kind is that there is no TV and no movies – that leaves one of two things: Good Conversation or Good Music. i’m the type of person that will always find time to listen to music, but so many people only give themselves the chance when they’re in the car. One of my favorite things to do is use the time during a drive to subject anyone in the car (willing or not) to a little music schoolin’. And the right music will always lead to good conversation.
If i know there’s a road-trip in my future, i make sure i stock my toolbox o’ music with some Max Stalling. As of yet, i haven’t said much about Max, but he’s a got a knack for conversational songs (the topic of a forthcoming post) as well as drivin’ music. i can’t quite pinpoint what it is about his sound, but it will take your mind off of the road and make your destination seem that much closer.
for more Max Stalling drivin’ music, check out I-35, Runnin’ Buddy, Travelin’ Lite, Dime Box TX, Probably Corsicana, and Green Lights. Jeez…… i could have made this post with only his songs.
mp3: Blake Powers – Old Blevins Road
from Old Blevins Road (2001)
mp3: Bleu Edmondson – What I Left Behind
buy Southland (2001)
mp3: Brandon Rhyder – Back Roadsbuy Conviction (2005)
Often portrayed as a metaphor for life itself, The Road takes on deeper responsibility when it determines the destination and not simply the gettin’ there.
mp3: The Avett Brothers – Salina
buy Emotionalism (2007)
mp3: Reckless Kelly – Desolation Angels
buy Under The Table & Above The Sun (2003)
mp3: Walt Wilkins – I Chose This Road
buy Mustang Island (2005)
i’ll leave you with some gems from Townes……
“it’s a hard road you’re travelin’/you can’t walk it alone/find a big man to stand beside you”
“mother thinks the road is long and lonely/
little brother thinks the road is straight and fine/
little darling thinks the road is soft and lovely/
i’m thankful that old road is a friend of mine”
“there’s lots of things along the road i’d surely like to see/
i’d like to lean into the wind and tell myself i’m free/
but your softest whisper’s louder than the highway’s call to me/
close your eyes, i’ll be here in the mornin’/
close your eyes, i’ll be here for a while”