The Paste staff is slowly trickling back into the office after our holiday trips, and I think I can safely speak for everyone when I say that, if we're not completely happy to be home, then at least we're thrilled to be off the roads for a bit. Not that Atlanta traffic is much better, but hey, better the snarled, congested, crazy-making concrete devil you know, right? In tribute to coming home from the holidays, and in celebration of all the travels 2009 will bring, here are nine great songs about roads. Listen to them all on the last page, and leave your own favorites in the comments.
"Gulf Coast Highway" - Nanci Griffith
Apparently there's no real road called "Gulf Coast Highway" (at least not one that Google knows of), though all the times I heard Nanci Griffith's version of this Emmylou Harris song when I was growing up certainly led me to believe otherwise. It may be along Highway 90, also mentioned in the lyrics, where this wistful, beautiful duet finds its setting.
"40 East" - The Avett Brothers
The road traveled-- but not mentioned by name-- in this sweet song cuts a swath through the Avett Brother's hometown of North Carolina, terminating at the coast in Wilmington, and it's the only song on the list I've listened to while on the road itself.
"California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade" - The Decemberists
The first half of one of the band's earliest extended suites heaves with accordion and pedal steel up the left coast on California's famous Pacific Coast Highway. Take a long drive, indeed: It stretches 655 miles North to South, from Leggett to San Juan Capistrano.
"Penny Lane" - The Beatles
Even if you've never set foot in Liverpool, England, and even if you're still not sure what a "finger pie" is, you can likely share in the nostalgia trip called up by this celebration of a now-famous street in John Lennon and Paul McCartney's home town.