22 Hours…

Sharon October 22nd, 2009

On Tuesday night I head to NYC and then Wednesday, I hope on Amtrak for 22 hours each way (and I do it again on Saturday) to Georgia to speak at Mercer University’s “Caring for Creation” conference.  That’s 44 hours on the train.  Some of them, hopefully, will involve sleep, and I’ve got plenty of work to do. 

But I also have my MIL’s donated old ipod to take with me - and that means this journey will have a soundtrack.  Nothing I like more than a musical soundtrack to a long trip - the way the songs from different artists run together and meld with the landscape.

So what should I listen to on my long ride?  I’m lookin’ for some new stuff - the sounds that go with the journey south, with the rattle of train rides, with the moods that shift when you are in a holding pattern between places - but travelling in your head as well as body.

What would you be listening to?  Right now I’m on an Old Crow Medicine Show kick, among other things, so I’ll definitely be playing this song, about escaping northern winters to the south.  Here’s the awesome video - but just to warn you, if you don’t like a slightly stylized raciness, you might not enjoy this, and might want to just find the soundtrack of ”Wagon Wheel”  somwhere.  I actually really love this video’s take on a kind of old-fashioned eroticism - the shot of the boy looking up is priceless.  But YMMV.

Ok, help me make the trip memorable!


46 Responses to “22 Hours…”

  1. MEAon 22 Oct 2023 at 1:27 pm

    Not exactly new, but never than my first thought, which was Steeley Span’s TIME.

    The Train They Call the City of New Orleans.


  2. Nicoleon 22 Oct 2023 at 1:36 pm

    I just happened to have OCMS playing right now.

    Hmmm, you could give Jerry Garcia and David Grisman’s album “Shady Grove” a try and maybe check out the Avett Brothers. Iron and Wine is great too…

  3. Liseon 22 Oct 2023 at 2:01 pm

    I always have to have “Get Out the Map” by the Indigo Girls.

  4. heathenmomon 22 Oct 2023 at 2:05 pm

    Gods, how we love LCMS at our house. If you EVER have the chance to see them live, GO.

    Sorry, but you cannot ride a train through the south without the song “Hey, Porter.” It’s a law.

    Hey porter! Hey porter!
    It’s getting light outside.
    This old train is puffin’ smoke,
    and I have to strain my eyes.
    But ask that engineer if he will
    blow his whistle please.
    Cause I smell frost on cotton leaves
    and I feel that Southern breeze.

    I’ve made that train trip a few times myself; have fun! I wish I could be there for your conference, but it doesn’t look like it’s in the cards. :(


  5. Beccaon 22 Oct 2023 at 2:06 pm

    If you like OCMS, you should check out the Felice Brothers. They are a good time, for sure. And for dozing on the train-Iron and Wine. Gorgeous.

  6. heathenmomon 22 Oct 2023 at 2:06 pm

    Typos!! *O*CMS (and I tried to correct it TWICE before I submitted the comment).

  7. Sindeeon 22 Oct 2023 at 2:09 pm

    if you can audio capture some Kill County, it’s the perfect music for all (not sure if it’s downloadable, I don’t have flash to see)


  8. Sindeeon 22 Oct 2023 at 2:09 pm

    meant to say “for fall” not all. :)

  9. mariaon 22 Oct 2023 at 2:14 pm

    i’ve been loving the wailin’ jennys recently. they’re canadian and sound like it, if that makes any sense.

    also, check out hem’s album rabbit songs. wailin’ jennys and hem are both available on amazon download or itunes.

    i love taking the train! have a great trip!

  10. Susan in NJon 22 Oct 2023 at 2:23 pm

    Steve Goodman’s City of New Orleans is my favorite train ride soundtrack, either his version or the more famous Arlo’s (but tons of folks have covered this in many languages).

    On a somewhat newer front, I also strongly recommend Josh Ritter’s “Harrisburg” which contains this great line “Me I believe that the Garden of Eden Was burned to make way for a train” among others.

    And since you are going South, Joan Baez doing the Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.

    Since you are going down to Athens, you might throw in some R.E.M.

    Plus, Woody Guthrie doing The Rock Island Line, and I’d want Leadbelly doing The Midnight Special.

    We just went to a concert featuring Po’ Girl and Girlyman. Girlyman’s last album was recorded in Atlanta. Po’ Girl is Canadian. Strong similarties soundwise, harmonious vocals.

    And anything by the late Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer (Dave and Tracy).

    If you like hot electric guitar, try Simon McBride.

  11. FarmerAmberon 22 Oct 2023 at 2:38 pm

    I’m afraid that travelling in the south always says anything by Alabama to me. I know that country isn’t everyone’s thing and I don’t listen to it often, but long trips are one time. Besides, you’re going to the SOUTH! You gotta get in the spirit! :-)

  12. Kate@LivingTheFrugalLifeon 22 Oct 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Paul Simon’s Graceland is a great traveling album. I also like David Byrne’s Rei Momo when I have to drive long distances (rarely, I’m happy to say), so maybe it’ll get your energy up when you need to work on the train. Natalie Merchan’ts Ophelia has some sweet, contemplative songs, but I think Gillian Welch’s Time the Revelator would be essential listening for a train ride that follows the Appalachian Mountains down to the south (or back up north for that matter). And there’s always the soundtrack for O, Brother, Where Art Thou? for that old timey southern flavor.

  13. Debon 22 Oct 2023 at 3:35 pm

    We always had a Hank Williams Sr CD playing in the car when the kids were small. They loved him and would sing along.

    Thankfully, those days are over. Now it’s Dixie Chicks, Steve Earle, Merle Haggard and, yes, John Denver-just to irritate the husband. ;o)

    I’d enjoy the silence and solitude and knit-socks are great traveling work, especially when you get tired of looking at things.

    Deb in Wisconsin, just back from a 2 day drive to Texas and an nearly endless drive home.

  14. agwhon 22 Oct 2023 at 3:58 pm


    My favorite train song is “Freight Train” by Elizabeth Cotten. My understanding is that she wrote it when she was just about eleven years old. On youtube, there’s a video of Elizabeth Cotten singing her song with Pete Seeger.

    Even if you can’t find a version in time to put it on your ipod, it’s worth a listen.

    See you in Macon!

    -Amy, NW of Atlanta

  15. sglon 22 Oct 2023 at 4:08 pm

    personally, partial to broadway musicals here:

    les miserables
    (10th anniversary edition is really good)
    “do you hear the people sing” might be fitting for these times:

    encore with 17 different international singers:

    also, Rent (modern update of “la boheme”) is another good story of the downtrodden.
    “living in america” is pretty descriptive of the era: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7sD1K1xuNM


  16. Brookeon 22 Oct 2023 at 4:11 pm

    Definitely have to agree that if you ever have a chance to see OCMS live you don’t want to miss it. Super fun. Right now I like to listen to Bob Marley in the car - especially Three Little Birds. The kids love the B is for Bob cd. Anything by Big Head Todd is great for traveling also. That’s another Live show you wouldn’t want to miss.

  17. Lorion 22 Oct 2023 at 4:17 pm

    For travelings both within and without, I would be carrying these along in my carpet bag:

    Bonnie Raitt’s Streetlights - all of it, but especially “That Song about the Midway,” “Streetlights” and her version of “Angel from Montgomery”

    Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis”

    Journey’s “Midnight Train,”

    Pat Metheney Group: “Last Train Home”

    Leesha Harvey: “Coal Train” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VItmtAuWz0w&feature=PlayList&p=D41BA313B40F7970&index=0
    As long as you’re there…check out or Leesha’s powerful “Runyararo - A Song for Zimbabwe.”

    And my favorite, The Traveling Wilberry’s “The End of the Line”

    If you’ve never seen but have a chance to watch the video, recorded on a moving train, the images can accompany you as you listen later. There’s an especially poignant shot of an empty rocking chair with (the late) Roy Orbison’s guitar in it, while his voice fills the air.

    Va Com Deus!

  18. Kerrickon 22 Oct 2023 at 4:47 pm

    If you are the receiving music by email kind, I could email you a few tracks I enjoy. Do you have any Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer?

  19. Teganon 22 Oct 2023 at 5:28 pm

    Although most anything is good (and I heartily second Paul Simon’s Graceland!) the songs that mean travel to me are:

    America by Simon and Garfunkel
    Sweet Baby James by James Taylor.

    America just evokes that longing to go, just go anywhere and find what’s out there, and as I usually travel west on I-90 from Boston to Albany to go home, listening to James Taylor talk about the MassPike just gives a sigh of contentment.

  20. Janet Murphyon 22 Oct 2023 at 7:40 pm


    How about some Mississippi Fred McDowell, Mississippi John Hurt, or Robert Johnson?

    I’d also recommend Joe Ely and Joel Guzman.

  21. Judyon 22 Oct 2023 at 9:02 pm

    Hmm, lets see, the Wailin’ Jennys were a great suggestion. Some of my suggestions would be Adrienne Young (Room to Grow or Plow to the End of the Row) Carrie Newcomer or Dar Williams. A bit off the beaten path but well worth it.

  22. Brad K.on 22 Oct 2023 at 9:41 pm

    The whole _59th Street Bridge Song_ album, Simon and Garfunkel, is pretty easy listening.

    For really high energy, a surprise I stumbled over was “The Unforgettable Glenn Miller”.

    After watching _Love Actually_, I got interested in Kelly Clarkson. Her work may be dated now (compared to Glenn Miller?!), but I still like many of her recordings.

    I have a 5-CD collection of The Seekers. There were some great surprises for me. _You’re My Spirit_, _All I can Remember_, and _I am Australian_ come to mind first off.

    Someone at work, some years ago, introduced me to the _A Teens_, specifically their Abba reprise. Amazing fidelity to Abba standards. And good to listen to.

    I like the the David Duchovny, Minnie Driver movie _Return to Me_, with it’s heavy doses of Louis Prima (Oh, Marie!, Buona Sera), Dean Martin (Return To Me), and Frank Sinatra (Long Last Love). Now I have a couple Louis Prima albums, with additional treasures. Dean Martin’s Greatest Hits (late 1950’s) is nostalgic, but also really good music.

    Moody Blues, some of The Who, and other ballad type music.

    I picked up _Totally 80’s_, a Razor 2-CD set, and _Absolute Torch and Twang_ by K.D. Lang and the Reclines. I picked these up because I heard them at work, and have enjoyed them for about 18 years now. They aren’t new releases. Another collection from the same time is _Good Times_, another contemporary collection, this one of mellower music: _Bette Davis Eyes_, _Funkytown_, _Lay Down Sally_, _Sailing_, _I Love The Rainy Night_.

    John Tesh has a radio program, playing some Clarkson and other easier listening, contemporary music. You might check his web site, or the playlist for stations that carry his program.

    Listening to Beth and Bill in the Morning, on K-EZ in Phoenix (1994-99), I found Sophie B. Hawkins’ _Whaler_ album. At least half of the jazz pieces are easy and fun to listen to. Includes “As I Lay Me Down To Sleep” (This I pray, that you would hold me dear.)

    Watching _So I Married An Axe Murderer . ._ with Nancy Travis and Mike Myers, I fell in love with Sixpence None The Richer. Their _Kiss Me_ and _There She Goes_ cuts made several stations I listen to.

    Woody (or Arlo?) Guthrie wrote _City of New Orleans_. I like the covers Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash did. Each bring something special to the imagery. (Note - each have their own recordings; they didn’t gang up for one combined song.)

    Otherwise I tend to enjoy the novelty songs. For years I listened to the Dr. Demento (Funny songs for fun people) radio program. A long time favorite was Ogen Edsel’s _Dead Puppies_ (Aren’t Much Fun, No, No, No.) The NSFW Iver Biggun comedies, _Bras On 45_ and _Halfway Up Virginia_ take a certain pawkish and bawdy sense of humor to appreciate.

    In addition to my Weird Al Yankovic (Running with Scissors album includes _Truck Driving Song_ “I’m driving my truck/with my high heels on.”) and Dr. Demento collections, I have a three CD _Sioux City Sue_ collection of WWII songs. Bing Crosby sings the title song, and the rest include Patsy Cline, Gene Autrey, and others. Songs range from _Pistol Packin’ Mama_ to _Bonaparte Retreat_, from _There’s A New Moon Over My Shoulder_ to _Smoke, Smoke, Smoke_ (That Cigarette, Tex Ritter).

    I also stumbled onto Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Bob Wills (passed away in 1976) is considered “the king of Texas Swing.” Signature songs include _San Antonio Rose_, _Across The Alley From The Alamo_, _Tater Pie_, Rolly Poly_, _Cherokee Maiden_, and many more. While browsing Texas music, there is a *lot* - don’t miss _La Grange_, ZZ Top. This is the opening music to Tommy Lee Jones’ movie _Man of the House_, and many commercials.

    Carly Simon’s _Let the River Run_ from the Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith movie _Working Girl_, and _Anticipation_ are good to listen to.

    Music recorded years ago still has the ability to stir and entertain. The cute Recorder exercise “The Harp That Once” was an Irish rabble-rousing politically charged song. I bought my copy of the Lutheran Hymnal “Blue Book” in 1981. The notes are still easy to read, the songs good to play and enjoy, and just as enriching as when it was new.

    And I still prefer Bing Crosby’s “Sioux City Sue” to the excellent cover Willie Nelson recorded 30 years later.

    I think I would be more concerned to have a couple good novels to re-read than a music plan. The music might be nice, but the experience I build from the story that a good novel provides is much richer, for me. Even though I just finished re-reading, again, _A Brother’s Price_, _Conflict of Honors_, Scout’s Progress_, _Balance of Trade_, and and starting back through Patricia Brigg’s _Moon Called_ series. Any story worth hearing or reading is worth re-reading or hearing again. Why we teach our children that that is not so, is a wonderment to me. No one says, “Oh, I heard that song once. I don’t need to hear it again.” The RIAA would spasm over that!

  23. Kelsieon 22 Oct 2023 at 10:12 pm

    I see two others have already suggested it-but I can’t go on any long journey without Iron & Wine-particularly a journey southwards.

    I heartily recommend all of their albums, including the newest, which is definitely different from their other stuff, but wonderful nonetheless.

  24. Collon 22 Oct 2023 at 11:20 pm

    May I suggest a new band called Miss Quincy and the Ramblers. They are Canadian and their CD accompanied my husband and I on a trip this year and I never got tired of them. Good traveling music Gordon Lightfoot, KD Lang especiallly Ingenue, Sarah McLachlan, Blue Rodeo and the Travelling Wilburys(sp?). Hope you have a wonderful trip. Thanks for the great blog. I read it often.

  25. ceceliaon 23 Oct 2023 at 12:40 am

    If you listen to Night They Drove Old Dixie Down - listen to the origfinal by The Band - from your neck of the woods - Levon Helm griowls his way through the song - try the whole CD “Big Pink” - guaranteed to tap your feet

  26. Massagranon 23 Oct 2023 at 1:34 am

    I suggest some good ‘old 30s-40s gypsy swing (or manouche music)…
    melodies that make me dream of other times, give goose bumps … and have something atemporal to them …


    Django Reinhardt, Bireli Lagrene, Gary Potter, Biel Ballester … enjoy the trip.

  27. aaronon 23 Oct 2023 at 6:56 am

    go to sleep

  28. Calum McFarlaneon 23 Oct 2023 at 7:06 am

    Hi Sharon

    The particular song I’m thinking of is “Hazy Jane II” by Nick Drake, an English singer / songwriter whom you can learn more about at http://www.brytermusic.com/ and http://www.nickdrake.com/index.html

    “And what will happen in the morning when the world it gets so crowded that you can’t look out the window in the morning?

    And all the friends that you once knew are left behind they kept you safe and so secure amongst the books and all the records of your lifetime?”

    His oeuvre is pretty small but almost all absolute class. The sadness and melancholy, tinged with humour, beauty and humility seems particularly appropriate to these interesting times we live.

    Good travelling,

  29. Susan in NJon 23 Oct 2023 at 7:20 am

    Brad K. — Steve Goodman wrote the City of New Orleans. Arlo made it famous after Steve played the song for him at a Chicago club.

  30. Sarah Headon 23 Oct 2023 at 7:45 am

    If you’re up for some English folk try Show of Hands - beautiful tunes, excellent musicianship and thoughtful social commentary, some haunting and some great fun.http://www.showofhands.co.uk/#

  31. Caseyon 23 Oct 2023 at 7:50 am

    I spent the summer of 1994 in Russia and Ukraine. I brought my cassette walkman and only one tape: Sting’s, Ten Summoner’s Tales. I still see the Russian landscape whenever I hear one of those songs. I spent many hours on the Trans Siberian railroad, and one trip stretched 36 hours from Moscow to Odessa, Ukraine. We passed miles and miles of sunflower fields. I had never seen anything like that before and havent seen anything like it since. It was breathtaking! I know sting wrote Fields of Gold about barley, but for me, it will always be sunflowers!
    Enjoy your trip, Sharon!
    Just bought two of your books, read them both in less than a week. Thanks for the great information. I look forward to your blog posts. I feels like getting letter from a good friend.
    ” )

  32. YiddisheMamaon 23 Oct 2023 at 7:51 am

    Met this nice Jewish girl from Baltimore in a gay bar in Atlana. (sounds like the begining of a joke) Super great person!


    Her music has evolved over the years from the 90’s when Sonia and her sister began to now but it’s still good. the link above lets you sample my favorite song “who’s so scared” the whole “live at the down home” album is good, even if a couple of the songs are dated (Washington work song).

    I like the live version of “2 eggs over easy” but here’s a link

    And just to get you prepared for being a Jew in the south repeat after me:
    Shalom Ya’ll
    (I’m not kidding people really say it)

  33. Calon 23 Oct 2023 at 7:53 am

    Anything by Alabama 3 (their song was used for the Sopranos theme tune). Despite their name, they’re British, so maybe I’m biased ;-)

  34. MEAon 23 Oct 2023 at 7:57 am

    Oh, oh, oh, The Devil went down to Georgia.

    “Fire on the mountian,
    run, boys, run,
    the devil’s in the house of the rising sun.
    Chicken’s in the breadpan picking out dough.
    Granny, does your dog bite?
    No, child, no.”

  35. Mike Cagleon 23 Oct 2023 at 8:33 am

    Sharon, That’s a really cute video.

    I love long train trips. I’ve been across the country, through the Southwest (Chicago-LA or back) a few times, which is a neat trip. Never been through the South though. Hope it’s fun! And that the event you’re going to is worthwhile and rewarding.

    I second a lot of these music suggestions, although, Nicole, Shady Grove is creepy! Yes, they’re great musicians, but it’s creepy and gloomy. Just my opinion. ;-)

    Carrie Newcomer! Yeah! She’s from my town! He’s less well-known, but so is my pal Tom Roznowski ( http://www.tomroznowski.net ) — I love his stuff, I bet you would like it too. Check out his “Hometown” project too. Great radio series.
    ( http://wfiu.org/hometown/menu.htm )

    Sharon, have you heard the album “Wonder Wheel” by the Klezmatics? It’s previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie songs done in Klezmer style. Great stuff! The song “Mermaid Avenue” is on it.

    And I recommend Nellie MacKay. I think she’s wonderful.

    The new Steve Martin bluegrass banjo album “The Crow” is very nice.

    Who here has heard of Neil Innes? He’s great. His “Hero of the Motorway” is a good road trip song. His main claim to fame is that he wrote the music for most of Monty Python’s songs, but he’s done much more than that.

    And I’d bring Tom Lehrer too — I think it would be funny to listen to “Who’s Next” in the South — “we’ll try to stay serene and calm, when Alabama gets the bomb!”

    Have a good trip!

  36. Mike Cagleon 23 Oct 2023 at 8:37 am


    Eliza Gilkyson!

    Vienna Teng!

    The Mammals!

    Lucinda Williams!

    Leon Redbone!

    Junior Brown!

  37. Mike Cagleon 23 Oct 2023 at 8:39 am

    Correction: Nellie McKay. Sorry about that.

  38. Shannonon 23 Oct 2023 at 9:49 am

    Ooh, try the CD “How to Be a Cannonball” by Alex McMurray. It has a number of train songs, and he sounds like a cross between Tom Waits, Randy Newman and Louis Armstrong, with a bit of New Orleans thrown in. He’s fabulous and some of his songs are wonderfully irreverant and a bit wicked!


    “Ol’ 55″ from Tom Waits’ album “Closing Time”.

    “Unknown Legend” from Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” album.

    (Cal - I LOVE A-3, especially the album “La Peste”!)

  39. Marilynon 23 Oct 2023 at 10:01 am


    Got to have the consumate Southern boogie band, the Allman Brothers Band, A Decade of hits 1969-1979 has several good ones on it: Midnight Rider, Southbound, and my favorite, Melissa.

    Mix in a little bluegrass: The Alison Krauss “I’ve Got That Old Feeling” CD has “Steel Rails” on it. It’s one of her earlier CD’s so you get more bluegrass flavor than her later stuff.

    For a folksy/country sound, I like Kate Campbell’s CD “Songs from the Levee.” There’s a couple of beautiful songs on it, Lanterns On The Levee and Bury Me in Bluegrass.

    The last time I took a road trip, I listened to the “Wonder Boys” CD. You get everything from Dylan’s “Things Have Changed” to Van Morrison’s “Philosoper’s Stone.”

    Enjoy your trip!

  40. Mike Cagleon 23 Oct 2023 at 10:19 am

    hmm, why is my first comment “awaiting moderation”???

  41. Sharonon 23 Oct 2023 at 10:28 am

    It isn’t personal - wordpress automatically sends any comment with 3 or more links in it to moderation to prevent spam.


  42. Mike Cagleon 23 Oct 2023 at 12:10 pm

    Good to know. Although it looks like it might be “two or more links.”

  43. Edward Bryanton 23 Oct 2023 at 12:36 pm

    CC Adcock Either the 1994 or 2004 albums. Four songs off the True Blood soundtrack are really good too.

  44. Laurelon 24 Oct 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Iris Dement!!

  45. Ellen Andersonon 25 Oct 2023 at 5:08 pm

    I don’t know whether you are still reading comments, but I see that no one has suggested reading some books. There are at least two full readings of Moby Dick on Audible.com. You can listen to each one to see which one you prefer.
    I always listen to at least some of Moby Dick on a long trip. You can also listen to lengthy mysteries - old ones like Wilkie Collins ‘Moonstone” or new ones like Daemon.
    I spend time working outside, milking goats, walking dogs, weeding, etc as well as inside doing dishes. I have read all sorts of books that I would never have had time for because I download them from Audible.
    Also, I spend lots of time staring at a computer screen so my eyes are often too tired to read.

  46. Consumeron 29 Oct 2022 at 11:20 pm

    Some of my favorite current bands:

    Yonder Mountain String Band

    Trampled By Turtles

    But let’s be honest, I’d probably just be listening to alot of Dead.

    Can’t go wrong with Allison Kraus either.

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