► Take to the Highway. Not this year but many years (and certainly for more than a few when I was growing up), my family would travel to my grandmother’s house to spend the Thanksgiving holiday. Which is to say that we would make our way to the tiny little corner of the southwestern Virginia mountains where she lives right off the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail.
There is a veritable cornucopia of songs about traveling–driving, being on the road, going on the lam, leaving home and coming back, but the songs in this playlist are a bit old-school, with a singer-songwriter bent and a twinge of country. They are songs that remind me of all those trips to my grandmother’s house–you know, over the river and through the woods, winding up country roads and counting out-of-state license plates.
► In order of play:
8 • Take the Highway • The Marshall Tucker Band ► Unless traffic is at a standstill. Then you should definitely look for a back road or an alternate route of some kind.
7 • Ramblin’ Man • The Allman Brothers ► This song raises an interesting question worthy of at least a moment of serious reflection (perhaps during the outro guitar solo): Just what do the Delta women think of you?
6 • Take Me Home, Country Roads • John Denver ► To a place where I belong.
5 • Country Road • James Taylor ► Taylor never specifies exactly what “it” is that he feels out there on a country road (which may be why his mother doesn’t understand), but I think I feel it too. Whatever it is.
4 • Golden Slumbers / Carry That Weight / The End • The Beatles ► In the middle of the celebration, I break down. Um, yeah, let’s not do that this Thanksgiving.
3 • The Weight • The Band ► Take a load off. For free.
2 • Homeward Bound • Simon & Garfunkel ► The simple melody and rich vocal harmony is enough to make anyone wish he (or she) was a poet and a one-man band.
1 • Wagon Wheel • Old Crow Medicine Show ► The towns mentioned in this song are basically like a road map to my grandmother’s house–Raleigh to Johnson City to the Cumberland Gap. And given the locale, it seems fitting that this tune was a bootleg for quite a while. ■
► Bonus Tracks » 18 Wheels & a Dozen Roses • Kathy Mattea ► This song is a closer for rounding the home stretch. ■
Safe travels, happy trails, and a very fine Thanksgiving to you!
unless otherwise noted * graphics, photographs, text © 2016 hilary hall
► In the queue » Songs with Girls’ Names → Part I •