It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was summer in Missouri. The sweltering humidity, the races at a 3/8 mile high banked asphalt oval. The river and the bruises and scraps from the time you dared utilize the rope swing whilst a little too inebriated. The city pool, the concrete so hot it scars the pads of your feet. And the road cruise.
The art of the road cruise is something wholly Midwestern to me. There is no need for speed and the use of your car’s air conditioner is forbidden when you’ve got windows, a sunroof, and the breeze we were blessed with to cool down. A road cruise requires little planning and passengers above the 4th are just gonna have to wait for the next go ’round, unless they’re fine with riding in the pickup bed. The perfect road cruise mix is a concoction of tunes, both old and new. You intersperse and weave them into each other, just as you wind from this patch of gravel to that, avoiding major highways and bi-ways as much as possible. Your goal here is to groove while getting a respectable buzz on before judging that it’s time to stop on that creek bank just around the bend up there for the night. Leave the mix blasting out the truck windows while you build a fire and restock the cooler. Await the crowd. Don’t worry, they’ll hear the tunes and they’ll see the burning embers rising into the dark sky above the night trees. They’ll show up.
A road cruise mixtape is a slightly delicate affair — if I’m going to be in the vehicle with my brother or my sister, if I’m going to pile in with resident’s of this fair town, the queued up jams are going to have to be just as much backwoods as they are indie rock or bluegrass or folk. Keep that in mind when listening folks and govern yourself accordingly when it comes to skipping that Kentucky Headhunters jam…
Trampled by Turtles :: Victory [mp3]
I’ve mentioned that this song has been on repeat up in here; I featured it earlier this week even. But as my TBT obsession grows, there was no chance this jam was not mixtape bound.
The Band :: Up On Cripple Creek [mp3]
I don’t need to say shit about this. It’s The Band, man. Turn it on and shut the hell up.
BUY The Band
Matthew & The Atlas :: I Will Remain [mp3]
Handclaps and boot stomps are essential on a roadie. Crowd participation, yo.
Bob Seger :: Fire Lake [mp3]
I’ve loved Seger since I was young, even considered gifting my child with that surname as his first. ‘Fire Lake’ epitomizes the sound of the road, the sound of our woods and our get togethers at creeks. To me, it is the Midwest.
BUY Against the Wind
The Avett Brothers :: Murder In The City [mp3]
Typically our road cruises involve family, either my younger sister or brother. And what better jam to remind us that, though we bicker and snipe at each other occasionally, though we overly involve ourselves in each other’s lives uneccesarily sometimes, that at the heart of it all we are family and that shit is forever. Always remember there is nothing worth sharing like the love that let us share our name.
Reggie Watts :: Fuck Shit Stack [mp3]
WHERE MY GERUNDS AT? Yes, this track seems out of place. But frankly, I do what I want. Also, cusswords are fun! You know what else is fun? Watching your redneck brother and boyfriend sing, “Cause I’m a ladies man.”
Yarn Owl :: Dark Air [mp3]
Yet another previously featured on Folk Hive track, but if that opening guitar riff ain’t summer, then I just don’t know what is.
Willie Nelson :: Time of the Preacher [mp3]
By far, Willie’s Red Headed Stranger is my favorite of his albums. In fact, that accompanying movie is so dear to my heart I’d say it would certainly make it onto a Top Five Favorite Western Movies list, where I ever to concoct one. It’s slow, yes, and while it might calm your passengers a little too much, mixtape moments like these are perfect for following up with the next jam…
Kings of Leon :: Back Down South [mp3]
Do you know why this jam wins a spot on this mix, despite the fact that it’s a KoL jam? In all honestly, it really is perfect for cruising down a gravel road. You know why else? Because it was the centerpiece of the Kramer Family DVD detailing my little brother’s racing season this year. Seriously.
J Roddy Walston & The Business :: Jesus Gonna Do His Best [mp3]
Let’s get serious here for a minute. Walston & his Business are pretty much made for gravel. END OF FUCKING STORY.
Delta Spirit :: The Devil Knows You’re Dead [mp3]
One of the best jams to listen to while traveling 15 miles an hour on a bumpy gravel road, head slightly out the window, eyes admiring the scenery. No shit.
Cadillac Sky :: Ballad of Restored Confidence [mp3]
This gets included because my little brother’s girlfriend is a bitch. That is all.
Glossary :: Save Your Money For The Weekend [mp3]
The throw back old rock sounds of Glossary are absolutely at home on a country back road, not to mention my fucking heart. I’m slowly falling in love with this band. Get on that train, ya’ll.
Kentucky Headhunters :: Dumas Walker [stream]
When we were younger there was a handful of movies that played in constant rotation on like, TBS, that we kids watched EVERY GODDAMN TIME we caught them. ‘Overboard’ is one of those films. We still quote it (“I can’t stop itching!”), we still love it, and Dumas Walker was first introduced to us through that scene down at the bar where everyone’s gettin’ drunk and acting like they’re not grown-ups living in total poverty with too many annoying dogs. ‘Dumas Walker’ always brings back a good memory. Further, in our land, ‘Dumas Walker’ is a verb. You pull up next to a car, blast the jam, throw up a rock sign, and peel out. Do that to your friends.
Immigrant Union :: Oregon [mp3]
When you wanna country dance it up on a gravel bar, this is your jam.
Silver Creek :: Heartbroken Girl [mp3]
I’ve not read much about this band but I bet The Black Crowes comparisons abound. Shit, I should have included more Black Crowes in this mix. Aw, hell. However, since I haven’t heard anything of real worth from that band in a while, Silver Creek will fill that void. Way to go, bros.
Ozark Mountain Daredevils :: Homemade Wine [mp3]
Let’s close this bitch out on a high note, shall we? The Daredevils are legend in my family — not just because they are a band that hails from the same Ozark Mountains as we, but also because they are one of the most underrated bands of the 70s and we still find them incredibly fucking awesome and relevant today. I grew up twirling to this music in the living room and it still makes frequent appearances on mixtapes I make for my mother and father. The fucking Daredevils, man.
Folk Hive Road Cruise Mix // Summer 2011 .zip