10 Great Roadtrip Songs (You’ve Probably Never Heard)

Everyone knows of a good road song. Willie’s “On the Road Again”, Roger Miller’s “King of The Road”, and so many more classics, but I wanted to share with you 10 road/driving songs that I love to blast when taking a long trip by myself. Here we go:

1. Lincoln Durham – Trucker’s Love Song

This slow ballad is perfect for that homesick driving feeling. Durham weaves a tale about his life as a truck driver, mentioning that his significant other is far behind him and that his only friend is a man he speaks to over his CB radio.

2. Midnight River Choir – Mile Marker

The boys from Midnight River Choir bring us this fresh tune. A hand-out-the-window kind of tune that rolls along as smooth as an open highway. With harmonies peppered in and an upbeat guitar riff, Mile Marker is the perfect song for cruising with friends or just chugging down the highway yourself.

3. Casey Donahew Band – Ramblin’ Kind

Another good-time song. Casey Donahew delivers an upbeat, fiddle packed story about life on the road, drinking, and living the dream.

4. Corb Lund (Feat. Hayes Carll) – Bible on the Dash

Two troubadour greats combine on this little number: Canada’s own Corb Lund and Texas grown singer/songwriter, Hayes Carll. The song is a raucous, honky-tonk tune you’d expect to hear in a roadhouse somewhere in east Texas. A twangy take on a jazz style riff dominates the background while Corb and Hayes take turns spatting out stories of their evasion from the law all thanks to “The Good Book” resting on their dashboard.

5. Jason Boland & The Stragglers – Telephone Romeo

Jason Boland definitely has more than just one great song to roll down the road to, but this has always been one of my favorites. Classic country style with Boland’s added Texoma twang. This song is told from the perspective of a man on the road who just wants to get home to his lady.

6. Cross Canadian Ragweed – Anywhere But Here

This song has become a throwback now, but I remember when I first discovered Cross Canadian Ragweed and they reshaped my entire view of the world of music. This song is a defiant, big middle finger to the Nashville music industry and a great song to listen to when you’re pissed off and need to go for a drive to get “anywhere but here.”

7. Casey Donahew Band – One Star Flag

This song is a little more popular and has been getting radio play all over Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma and so on, but I still think it fits in with these songs as a great song for being on the road that still hasn’t gotten the recognition it deserves. This fast paced, honkytonk swinger will get your blood pumping and make you wanna put the hammer down.

8. Turnpike Troubadours – Bossier City

Let’s all be honest, there probably isn’t a Troubadours song that’s bad to drive to. Their songs fit many occasions, but for the sake of keeping the travel/driving theme, I had to go with Bossier City. It’s a great song about a man who steals and sells his girlfriend’s meds for gambling money. Classy guy, right?

9. Stoney LaRue – Closer To You

This slowed down, soft tune brings us the story of a young man finally coming home. As the refrain says, “The further I get down this road, the closer I get to you.”

10. Kevin Welch – Train to Birmingham

A beautiful song about being away from home too long. I have always listened to the Cody Canada cover, but I must give credit to the original writer, Kevin Welch.

So there you have it, 10 new songs to listen to next time you’re on the road. Obviously I could add onto this list, but I just picked ten songs I enjoy that all fit the theme fairly well. These are in no particular order of which ones I think are better, they’re all great songs. Thanks for reading!

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Artist Spotlight: Lincoln Durham

Lincoln Durham is a roving singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas, but there is much more to this raggedly-dressed, white vegetarian than meets the eye. Durham is a deviously eerie, blues wailing, one-man band. During a live show, he will go through everything from playing a cigar-box guitar–which he made himself–to banging on an old ’50s style briefcase that he’s wired an electronic pick-up into. Durham’s style is a simple, yet piercing Robert Johnson impression that will send shivers down your spine and make you wonder if he’s sold his soul to the devil. He has no shortage of knowledge of the basic blues, that is made apparent on songs such as “Living this Hard” and “Mud Puddles” where Durham belts out gravelly bars over a picked out blues beat mixed with slide guitar. Lincoln does have a softer side though, which he lets out on tracks like “Trucker’s Love Song” and “Clementine”. For the most part, his debut album, “The Shovel vs. The Howling Bones”, is exactly what you might expect: a haunting, twisting-turning, tale of loss and anguish mixed with beautifully simple instrumentals using only Durham on guitar/harmonica/god-knows-what, and Rick Richards on the drums. Durham honed his skills under the study of Texas music legend, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Richards was Hubbard’s drummer for many years. Durham opted to hold the album to as simple as possible and even sings in “Living This Hard”, “I don’t need me a little band, Mr. Davis says I’ve got a sportin’ right hand”. Durham will be dropping a new album on October 22nd that is sure to bring as much darkness into your life as his first, so if you haven’t checked out Lincoln Durham be sure to, and check out the album on October 22nd!

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And, a few of my favorites:

Living This Hard – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5QGl8PgUX8

Mud Puddles – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OMa-EOiQZA

How Does the Crow Fly – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mZLXK-9kQk

Ballad of a Prodigal Son – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHp-rCuJjjM

Artist Spotlight: The Dirty River Boys

The Dirty River Boys, or “DRB”, are an acoustic, four piece, jug-band from El Paso, Texas. The boys are now based in Austin, but stay true to their roots. When the band started, they played full electric for a while, but decided it didn’t fit them. They wanted to say something and have people actually listen. Don’t let the acoustic guitars and upright bass fool you though, these boys can flat out rock when they want to. Their live show is one of the most high-energy and emotionally involved that I have ever seen. With the two singers, Marco Gutierrez and Nino Cooper switching off songs and playing rhythm guitar/harmonica and lead guitar/mandolin respectively, all while keeping in perfect harmony with the other members of the band it’s hard not to get swept up in their self-proclaimed “outlaw Americana folk” vibe. In the background, you’ll find Colton James standing tall in cowboy boots and a matching hat, slapping the upright bass or fingering out beautiful rolls on the banjo, while Travis Stearns, a shaggy haired, camo adorned, trucker hat fanatic stomps his snakeskin boots, plays the cajon drum with one hand and beats a tambourine onto a snare drum with the other, banging his head as if he was listening to Pantera the whole time. Don’t get me wrong though, these boys are not limited to one or two instruments. Throughout their live show they switch around showing that they are all well versed in every instrument on the stage. The boys music is as diverse as they are. Covering everything from rock influences in the song “She”, a tale of a women who will suck you in and do you wrong, to traditional folk songs like “Boomtown”, a pioneer tale of heading out west sang with elegant harmonies that sound as rustic as the picture the lyrics paint. These boys are by no means your average folk singers, but they give it an edge that can’t be beat in my opinion. So check out The Dirty River Boys!

As usual, a few of my favorites:

Boomtown – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QnTWMllCFE

My Son – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4gFwD6jPKM

She – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_g-3Lnpi1A (Not the best quality)

Raise Some Hell Tonight – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fJv3UjD7U4

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Artist Spotlight: The Devil Makes Three

This week I want to talk about The Devil Makes Three, a hard-hitting bluegrass band from Santa Cruz, California. This isn’t your grandma’s bluegrass band, though. Covering everything from drinking, murder, and drug abuse, this band manages to give the genre a twisted spin all while holding true to the fundamentals of the music. Cooper McBean, a skinny, bearded, and tattooed back up singer offers banjo rolls over staccato rhythm guitar played by lead vocalist Pete Bernhard and slapped rockabilly basslines thumped out by Lucia Turino. This three piece band provides eerie harmonies and an old time feel, but with lyrics that will rattle your bones. So check out The Devil Makes Three!

Here are a few songs that I enjoy:

Old Number 7 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vedgTokXj04

Aces and Twos – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JQB3—pTg

Gracefully Facedown – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mMHsSjb1Bw

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Artist Spotlight: Corb Lund

     This week’s artist comes to us from our friends up North. Just when you thought Canada could never be forgiven for infecting millions with “Bieber Fever”, they produce a musician like Corb Lund and completely redeem themselves. Corb is a country, cowpunk, folk-singing hippie/cowboy. Listening to one of his albums is almost like listening to all the voices in a schizophrenic’s head all sing their own song. Corb’s latest album, “Cabin Fever”, really shows the diversity and talent he has learned to harness as a musician and songwriter. With everything from Rocky Mountain hideaways to Russian antique pistols, the widespread nature of this album is best displayed in tracks 4-6. “September”, a western ballad about lost love, opens the trio with a haunting falsetto refrain that will leave you as broken-hearted as Corb sounds. As “September” fades out, it transfers right into track 5, “Mein Deutsches Motorrad” or “My German Motorcycle”. This upbeat tune powers through with hints of cowpunk that remind you of a twangy Jack White, which isn’t surprising when you learn that Corb was the founding member and bass player of “The Smalls”, who were basically the Canadian Nirvana. The final song in this trio, “Cows Around”, is an extremely fun western swing song reminiscent of Bob Wills about the love/hate relationship between a rancher and his herd. In just three songs, Lund covers an entire spectrum of genres, but this is not the only strong point of this album. There isn’t a bad song on “Cabin Fever”. My personal favorite from the album and one of Corb’s strongest performances on this album is “Bible on the Dash”, a duet with Hayes Carll about being a traveling band and slipping past law enforcement. Detailed stories like this are where Lund really shines as a singer and songwriter. So, give Corb Lund a shot. He’s got a little something for everyone.Image

Tracks 4-6 from “Cabin Fever”:

4. September – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFvwqgjC7As

5. Mein Deutsches Motorrad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG-UHgfTrU4

6. Cows Around – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IW0qnnlCI0

Some of my other favorites:

Bible on the Dash – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkAeY-OGp9k

Gothest Girl I Can – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTqN2nCHilc

Talkin’ Veterinarian Blues – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JChwFoCxVC8

 

 

Boys from Oklahoma

For my first post it only seemed right to talk about my favorite band of all time, a group of roving songwriters touring under the name of Turnpike Troubadours. The Troubadours are a rag tag crew of down-home, country boys from the small town of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. They have a very roots rock sound with hints of rockabilly, bluegrass, and country/western influences. Evan Felker sings beautifully woven tales of rural living that seem as if they were stolen from a William Faulkner story while Ryan Engleman delivers twangy, yet distorted riffs on lead guitar or harmonies that crescendo from the pedal steel guitar. In the background, Kyle Nix shreds the fiddle like a young Charlie Daniels above R.C. Edwards’s slapped out upright bass-lines and Gabriel Peterson’s “Old Crow”-esque Hi-hat/snare combos. The band’s lyrics ring through the boot-stomping, good-ol’-boy melodies with a sense of realness that reassures you these are real life experiences. This is not a cut-and-paste Nashville group. These are rowdy, southern gentlemen who tell you a story about hard times and heartbreak all while proving they are masters of their instruments. If you haven’t heard them, do yourself a favor and listen to the link below, look them up, and catch the next show you can!

Turnpike Troubadours – 7 & 7