Two Lane Tunes

If you're a gearhead, chances are you enjoy a good road trip on two lane blacktop. You also may enjoy doing that in an old muscle car, hot rod or family car. With the summer on its way out (boo, hiss) and chilly autumn weather on the way, I figured now would be my last chance this season to get out a few recommendations for crusin' tunes. If you're into making up your own road trip playlists, feel free to snag a few of these and throw them into rotation before you put the car cover on the Sting Ray for its winter nap. There's a little something from the 1950's through today to try out.

Roy Orbison- Trying to Get to You (1956)

Roy Orbison did a lot of familiar chart-toppers in the 1960's, but earlier tunes recorded on the Sun Records label are often overlooked. Here's a honey of a cover that he did of a tune penned by Rose Marie McCoy and Charles Singleton. Its the story of a man driving all night to get back to his baby.

Perfect Accompaniment: 1957 Ford Fairlane 500

Wes Montgomery- OGD "The Road Song" (1966)

Jazz Guitarist Wes Montgomery lived in Indianapolis, Indiana. I remember reading years ago that he had a fear of flying, so when he booked gigs in Chicago, New York or L.A., he would load up his guitar and amp and drive there. While on the road, he had plenty of time to write new tunes and improvisations. That's probably why his music lends itself so well to the open road. Many of his live smooth jams carry on for 7 or 8 minutes, which is just enough time to get up to speed and set the cruise control.

Perfect Accompaniment: 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix.

Outlaws- Green Grass & High Tides (1975)

My Dad's love of Southern Rock rubbed off on me. This one works up to a nice fast paced barn burner...with some killer guitar work. Oh, its also damn near 10 minutes long. 

Perfect Accompaniment: 1974 Pontiac Trans Am Super Duty

Bruce Hornsby and the Range-The Valley Road (1988)

Synthesized drums aside, this tune evokes motion from the first bar. A moving beat, some great piano runs and strong vocals from Bruce. The album this piece comes from "Scenes from the Southside" was a common choice for our family's trips to Florida. At 65mph, the highway lines pass by with the same beat as the drums. That's nerd stuff. Its surprising that we didn't wear out the cassette.

Perfect Accompaniment: 1987 GMC High Sierra 4x4

 Cracker- Loser (1993)

This cover of a Grateful Dead tune is done up a little rougher than the original, and it works well. More reverb, more pain in the vocals, and a little more bass. The result is a song that puts you in the middle of the desert with no money, no friends and no soul. 

Perfect Accompaniment: 1992 Lincoln Town Car

Beta Band- Dry The Rain (1999)

Scotland is famous for creating delicious booze and great music. This is some of that great music. The Beta Band was always good for toe-tapping jams that lent themselves well to mix tape. Pop in side A and hit play. Twist the key and drive slow. 

Perfect Accompaniment: 2000 Ford Contour SVT  

Boards of Canada- New Seeds (2013)


Another Scottish import craft-made to soothe the soul. See the sunset on the album cover? When you're driving West after work and you're stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and staring out the window wondering just where you fit in the grand scheme of things...this is what your internal soundtrack is. The freeway of your life is nothing more than a crumbling mid-century pipe dream.

Perfect Accompaniment: 2013 Hyundai Veloster



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