Here at Gadling we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite sounds from the road and giving you a sample of each — maybe you’ll find the same inspiration that we did, but at the very least, hopefully you’ll think that they’re good songs. Got a favorite of your own? Leave it in the comments and we’ll post it at the end of the series.
Folk musicians are very different from pop stars. They earn their living one gig at a time, and are always on tour somewhere, because if they weren’t, they wouldn’t make any money. They write their own music, and they often draw from their vast experiences on the road, which is why folk music makes great travel tunes.
Eddie From Ohio‘s 2001 release, Quick, is among the best of the best. Just so we’re clear, Eddie isn’t a solo artist — but it is the name of the drummer in this band, not from Ohio but from the commonwealth of Virginia. Got it? EFO has been touring America since 1991, and Quick includes a great collection of travel-inspired tracks.
The tone of this album makes it perfect for the first CD of your road trip. The high energy title track will get you grooving behind the wheel before you’re out of your driveway, and put you in the right frame of mind for an adventure.
A fan favorite from this album is “Candido & America,” the story of a Mexican couple coming to the US to make a new life. It’s a hopeful song about starting over in a new place, and finding beauty where you are. This is one of those songs that entire audiences sing along to at Eddie From Ohio’s live shows.
Another highlight from Quick is “Number Six Driver.” Guitarist Robbie Schaefer wrote this song about the band’s trip back home to Virginia from a west coast tour. They’d been gone for a long time and wanted to power their way home, and Robbie got stuck with the night shift behind the wheel of the band’s RV. Somewhere in Wyoming before the light of dawn, he passed a gas station that offered “Free coffee for the #6 driver.” That is, the sixth driver to stop in during the night. I believe the story goes that travel weary Robbie was lucky driver number six, and from one of his most boring nights, a beautiful song was born, with a little help from a free cup of coffee. Listen to EFO perform the song at the 2003 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (I was in that audience!) in the video above.
There are lots of great travel tunes on EFO’s other CD’s as well. I love “30 Second Love Affair,” about the fantasy one driver creates about another driver while stopped next to her at a traffic light, “Fifth of July,” another track about new adventures and starting fresh, and “From Dacca,” a sweet song about culture shock and adjusting. Then there’s every Edhead’s favorite, “Old Dominion,” bassist Michael Clem’s tribute to the band’s home state. It’ll make you wish you lived here, too.
Click here for previous Sounds of Travel.