Whenever we embark on one of our road trips, one of the most important considerations is the music that will accompany us on our journey. Over the years, we have come to recognize the true importance of this non-human companion, in terms of creating mood, anticipation and pleasure for our journey.
Early on, we experimented with books on tape. While some swear by those, we found they were likely to lull our poor driver, most often my husband Terry, who is an awesome driver, but not such a terrific passenger, to sleep. Even the likes of a Grisham mystery, being read over the car speakers, will soon have heads nodding. So we stick with music for our on-the-road entertainment.
We also developed several criteria for just the right accompaniment. It must be upbeat and lively (so as to avoid those nods), it must be something all of us enjoy (or can at least tolerate—my daughter said one thing that impressed her future husband was that she knew the words to all of the songs on the Eagles’ Greatest Hits album—and that we had even travelled to “Standing on the Corner Park” in Winslow, Arizona when we had been enroute to the Grand Canyon one year) and, finally, that most of the songs were easy to sing along to.
So, here is our list:
- Virtually anything by the Eagles—for obvious reasons
- Nearly anything by Emmylou Harris—great songs, beautiful voice, thoughtful lyrics.
- Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Greatest Hits—Great singalong tunes.
- Many of the numerous CDs by Michael Martin Murphey—he is an artist, originally from Wisconsin, now making his home in Taos, NM and Texas, so we often put his music on when we are headed out TO Taos to help get us in the cowboy spirit. You have to be careful, however, as some of his songs can be a bit melancholic and you want to avoid an entire carload of depressed occupants. We LOVED his Cowboy Songs III for some great tunes that meet our criteria and enthusiastically purchased Cowboy Songs IV, but we have ceased bringing along as it tended to depress.
- Movie soundtracks can be a terrific addition to your traveling music. Some of our favorites include: Chicago, Broken Bridges, Crazy Heart (great sing-alongs!) and Walk the Line (we are still impressed with Joaquin Phoenix’ learning to sing and play the guitar for the role, and pulling off the recording of “I Walk the Line” with its 5 key changes in just one take!),
- But for some unknown reason, the one CD that has become known to our family as our “Traveling Music” is the soundtrack from the first Shrek Movie. I think it happened because the movie came out about the time our kids were first starting to get involved in choosing the music we listened to on the road and that CD, with its peppy, upbeat tunes that were easy to sing along to was something that all of us enjoyed. To this day, even when Terry and I are traveling alone, we put in our “Traveling Music” and reminisce about when about when all five of us travelled here or there. And if you mention traveling music to any of our children, that’s what comes to mind. A nice tradition!
Over the last year, we finally bought ourselves an IPOD and I have been painstakingly loading all of our favorite tunes on it. This year when we travel, we will be taking all of our traveling music, and then some, without having to mess with bulky CDs or changing discs. It will be different…but definitely an improvement.
But we are always open for new options. So if any of you have any new suggestions, please send them our way!
Read more about camping and RV travel on Woodall’s site under camping articles.