Songs For Stops Along The Way

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roadside motel 300
Spencer Platt/Getty Images News

There's no better place to listen to music than in the driver's seat, looking out from behind a Cinemascope windshield. These five songs all feature some variation on driving, reaching a destination and, in some form or another, stopping along the way.

Read and hear more entries in the Road Trip: Songs to Drive By series.

Songs For Stops Along The Way

Jennifer O'Connor art

Exeter, Rhode Island

  • Artist: Jennifer O'Connor
  • Album: Over the Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars
  • Song: Exeter, Rhode Island

Jennifer O'Connor spends a lot of time in her car, driving from gig to gig, and "Exeter, Rhode Island" perfectly captures the soul-searching that goes on while en route. O'Connor's new album, Here With Me, comes out Aug. 19.

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Song
Exeter, Rhode Island
Album
Over the Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars
Artist
Jennifer O'Connor
Label
Matador
Released
2006

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Old Crow Medicine Show art

Wagon Wheel

  • Artist: Old Crow Medicine Show
  • Album: Old Crow Medicine Show
  • Song: Wagon Wheel

Much was made of Old Crow Medicine Show "co-writing" this song with Bob Dylan -- the band derived the chorus from Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid outtakes -- but "Wagon Wheel" gets most of its power from the verses. That said, the song does take license with geography: You wouldn't be "headed west from the Cumberland Gap to Johnson City, Tennessee." Look for a new album, Tennessee Pusher, on Sept. 23.

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Song
Wagon Wheel
Album
Old Crow Medicine Show
Artist
Old Crow Medicine Show
Label
Nettwerk

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John Hiatt art

Drive South

  • Artist: John Hiatt
  • Album: Slow Turning
  • Song: Drive South

Bruce Springsteen's "Thunder Road" may be the definitive song to view road trips as a form of escape. But John Hiatt's "Drive South" marks a natural extension of that song, following its lead into middle age.

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Song
Drive South
Album
Slow Turning
Artist
John Hiatt
Label
Mobile Fidelity
Released
1988

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James McMurtry art

Choctaw Bingo

  • Artist: James McMurtry
  • Album: Saint Mary of the Woods
  • Song: Choctaw Bingo

At eight and a half minutes, James McMurtry's "Choctaw Bingo" runs the perfect length for a good road song. The song's funny, vividly descriptive words may not be appropriate for everyone in the car -- references to drugs and guns abound -- but it does describe a road trip that few have taken. A classic from one of Texas' masters of descriptive musical storytelling.

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Song
Choctaw Bingo
Album
Saint Mary of the Woods
Artist
James McMurtry
Label
Sugar Hill
Released
2002

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Antibalas art

Filibuster XXX

  • Artist: Antibalas
  • Album: Security
  • Song: Filibuster X

The length and linear structure of much African music tends to make it perfect for travel; these are songs sung over the course of long journeys, so their hypnotic nature makes perfect sense. It's easy to get lost in Antibalas' long improvisations while driving: "Filibuster XXX," in particular, features a lot of the band's secret weapon, keyboardist Victor Axelrod.

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Song
Filibuster X
Album
Security
Artist
Antibalas
Label
Anti
Released
2007

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