Inspired by last week’s post about educator and dulcimer musician, Steve Hudson, I’ve been thinking a lot about music and the soundtracks we compile for road trips in the U.S. and adventures over seas. After The Doors self-titled album kept my father and I awake late at night as we drove across the dark and desolate Utah desert, I’ve also begun to contemplate how particular music should be played at particular times.
Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue,” doesn’t quite belong at the end of a trip, for me, it’s an opener. Willie Neson’s “On the Road Again,” is best saved until the second or third day of a long drive, reminding us of how great it really can be to travel the open highways, making new friends and relaxing with old and familiar faces.
And as with timing, music lends itself to particular locations. The mountains feel ripe for bluegrass, folk, and folk rock, while the desert seems to call for classical orchestrations and modern day techno-trance funk. Coastal drives beckon for jazz, whereas city freeways ask for contemporary pop (no, really, everybody needs a Brittney Spears comeback album in their car), or heavier classic rock. And Bob Dylan or Led Zeppelin or the Grateful Dead seem to work in any of these settings, at almost any time, especially Highway 61 Revisited and Houses of Holy and American Beauty, respectively.
So there is clearly a bit of nostalgia at play here. These are my tastes, my musical persuasions. What are yours? What music do you listen to when traveling? And where do you press play? And why?