"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Elvis Costello
Road Trip Essentials
Ah, summer. Long days, vacations, and the irrepressible urge to get away. It can all be summed up in two words: road trip! Whether it’s down the coast, into the mountains, or through the desert, the road trip has become an American ritual, but is likely as old as mankind.
Adam: Wow, the weather’s great, the birds are singing, and I just feel like going somewhere.
Eve: I hear there’s an awesome tree clear on the other side of the garden that we should really check out!
Well, maybe it didn’t happen quite that way, but point made. Sometimes we all get the “Urge for Going”, as Joni Mitchell wrote (though in her case for deeper and darker reasons). And, after the question of where to go is decided, the second most important discussion should be what to listen to on the way. After all, you really need to set the right mood. You could get all sciencey and take into account route, age, and personality of participants, type of transport (convertibles are best), or you might just go with what makes you feel good. I prefer the latter, using one of my favorite life philosophies, “Don’t overthink it”. Fortunately, whether you still use CDs, or you’ve gone digital, the library has you covered. Browse in person or look online at our extensive hard copy collection, or find downloadable music for free on Hoopla. Of course, it wouldn't be right to leave you without a few suggestions for artists to get started with, and be sure to sample the playlist below as well. It attempts to answer the question of what Jack Kerouac would listen to if he were on the road today. What, you’ve never wondered?
For joyous belt-it-out sing-alongs, it's hard to beat the Boss. Whether it’s classics like Thunder Road or latter day creations such as Girls in their Summer Clothes, nothing else works on Route 66 quite as well.
Want a little more introspection in your travel tunes, but with all of the glorious pop bombastics left intact? Try Florence and the Machine, Ship to Wreck is one of my favorites.
I once spent a summer weekend blasting around Portland in a classic Mach 1 Mustang, and at some point my cousin popped The Beach Boys Endless Summer into the 8-track (yes, seriously dating myself) player. It was perfect and is one of the reasons I have such fond memories of that particular forty-eight hours.
So go forth and drive to the beat of whatever drummer you choose. Mix it up and get creative. The road, and the music, is calling.
Eric Molinsky selects and purchases music for JCLS. He considers himself a musician, since he once sold a guitar because he needed the money.