When the road calls, set aside the GPS, pull out the Road Atlas, and take the long way home. These three mixes are comprised of the tunes I reached for this year when I felt compelled to exit The Interstate and examine my inner-state. And while, admittedly, my road map was not always within arm’s reach, I did find myself clicking the “Avoid Highways” button on my directional gadget, rolling down the windows, and turning up the volume knob. These are tunes for strolling and for rolling, not for reeling, nor for speeding. This is the Carefree Highway.
The Air That I Breathe (Link)
This all came about on an early autumn drive up the coast of Cape Cod. I was listening to a local radio station when Gordon Lightfoot’s “Carefree Highway” came on, and it was all kinds of things. It made the air smell familiar. It made my heart pang for the singer. All at once, it brought me back to high school and flung me forty years into the future. I’m not sure what it is about Gordon Lightfoot’s rock solid voice, his steady tone, his classic imagery, but I find his songs so immensely enjoyable. What follows is a mix of tunes for that mid-morning clip along your favorite road, grassy pastures to one side, coastal waters to the other.
The Circling Sky (Link)
Were the skies telling the truth, you’d be squinting past your wipers. But every once in a while the skies lie. One of my favorite times of day is when the late sun hangs low in front of me, rushing past patches of dark clouds, Westward-bound like a prophet. “It should’ve been raining hours ago,” you think to yourself breathing in the thick air of a nearly missed storm as you slam a fist on the side of the steering wheel, like a hard-driving drum beat underneath the melancholy vocals of a good sad song. Look up, take in that mix of dark and light, and croon with best of them.
Anyway The Wind Blows (Link)
Trip’s ending. The road grows narrow. Your surroundings become more and more familiar. Destination’s breath is in the air. You just want to get there. You’re not quite white-knuckling it, but the thrill of the ride is couching itself with the thrill of arrival. These tunes comprise my favorites from the last year of taking the unbeaten path. Treat them well, and they’ll be in your life forever. I find myself reaching for them, driving or not. I hope you will, too.
Find the whole mix, all six hours’ worth, HERE.
For the full effect, you can find an eleven hour playlist of songs I added to make these mixes, nine months of songs I bookmarked for one reason or another, HERE.