Planning the Perfect Road Trip Play List

CDs with casesI’ve stocked up on sunscreen, packed the cooler, locked up the house and am ready to embark on our epic summer road trip.

Okay … so we haven’t exactly made all of the preparations for our trip quite yet, but we do know where we’re going and that for a few thousand miles we’ll be car bound. Which means, of course, that in addition to buying snacks, packing camping gear and filling up the gas tank, we also have to put together the perfect road trip play list.

Road trips have the potential to be incredibly long, lonely and boring, but with the right music and company, time passes quickly and memorably. What goes into the perfect play list? For me, the music has to match my mood and the atmosphere, and all of the songs need to complement each other in some way. This year, in addition to simply putting the iPod on shuffle, we’d like to make four specific play lists to pass our time in the car:

>Daytime (fun, upbeat, something we can sing along to)
>Nighttime (chill, easing into the night, what Cory will listen to in the morning before having his first cup of coffee)
>Americana (songs that evoke the best of the United States)
>Canadian (fun music by Canadian musicians and bands)

We’ve thought of a few songs to add to each of our lists but would love your thoughts on what else we should add. Here’s what we’ve got so far:

Upbeat Daytime Driving

Kids (MGMT)
Inner Smile (Texas)
Beautiful Day (U2)
Strawberry Swing (Coldplay)
Hey Jude (The Beatles)

Driving at Dusk

Night Train (Commodores)
Tonight, Tonight (Smashing Pumpkins)
Grey Street (Dave Matthews Band)
Little Lion Man (Mumford and Sons)
Hurt (Johnny Cash)
Glycerine (Bush)

A Slice of Americana

Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
We Built This City (Starship)
America (Neil Diamond)
On the Road Again (Willie Nelson)

A Taste of Canada

The Old Apartment (Barenaked Ladies)
Chemicals Between Us (Bush)
Magic Carpet Ride (Steppenwolf)

What songs would you add to our play lists?

26 Responses to “Planning the Perfect Road Trip Play List”

  1. [email protected]

    Huzzah for an epic summer road trip! For nighttime driving, I love The Church’s “Under the Milky Way,” and for upbeat daytime driving, give “When You Go Away” by The Weepies a whirl.

    • JoAnna

      Thanks for the suggestions, Melanie! We’ll add them to our list!

  2. Authentic Seacoast Resorts

    Here are some of our favourite travelling songs from Nova Scotia:

    Hank Snow “I’m Movin’ On”
    Joel Plaskett “Through & Through & Through”
    Stan Rogers “Fogarty’s Cove”
    Lennie Gallant “Which Way Does the River Run”
    Bruce Guthro “Walk This Road”
    Jimmy Rankin “Morning Bound Train”
    Anne Murray “Snowbird”
    Dave Gunning “These Roads”
    Hank Snow “I’ve Been Everywhere”
    Sons of Maxwell “Oceanside Again”
    Rose Cousins “Lost in the Valley”

    Enjoy your travels.

    Doug at the Authentic Seacoast

    • JoAnna

      We definitely needed more Canadian music, so thanks for chiming in, Doug!

  3. Rebecca Stinson

    The City of New Orleans – Arlo Guthrie (A Slice of Americana)
    Human – The Killers (Upbeat Daytime Driving)
    Jerk It Out – Caesars (Upbeat Daytime Driving)
    Hold On, Hold On- Neko Case (Driving at Dusk)
    Breathe Me – Sia (Driving at Dusk)
    September When It Comes – Rosanne Cash (Driving at Dusk)

    • JoAnna

      Great additions! I’m not familiar with a lot of these, so we’ll definitely check them out and add them on!

  4. Jenna

    Dixie Chicks, “Taking the Long Way.” A country song (Americana? Check) About traveling and taking the high road. It also references the Chicks fall from grace when they denounced President Bush.

    • JoAnna

      Good one, Jenna! Thank you!

  5. Jill

    I know this will “date” me, but for upbeat driving music absolutely nothing beats the entire soundtrack from the movie SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. Great, great songs.

    • JoAnna

      Definitely worth adding ~ thanks!

  6. Alouise

    The Best of The Barenaked Ladies brings back some great road trip memories for me. There are a lot of other Canadian songs I love for road trips.

    – Hard Road by Sam Roberts
    – Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane
    – The Old Black Rum by Great Big Sea
    – No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature by The Guess Who
    – Keep The Car Running by The Arcade Fire
    – Blow At High Dough by The Tragically Hip
    – Monster Hospital by Metric
    – Tornado 87 by Alberta Rural Advantage
    – Sleeping Sickness by City and Colour, and Gord Downie (this is a more mellow song).

    There’s a lot more songs I like. Being Canadian the CRTC mandates that 30% of all radio content is Canadian, so you here a lot of Canadian songs.

    I also really like listening to Radiohead – if you want something more mellow.

    • JoAnna

      More Canadian music ~ thank you! I had no idea that the radio content had to be devoted 30% to Canadian artists. Maybe we should just turn on the radio??

    • JoAnna

      We’ll check out what you compiled, Will. Thanks for the suggestions!

  7. Julie K.

    Love the playlist suggestions. My boyfriend and I are going on a road trip this summer. I told him I’d come up with a perfect road trip CD composed of mostly, if not completely, music that was new to him. You guys have great lists and are making the process of finding new and good music easy. Will keep you posted on what trun out to be his new favorites.

    • JoAnna

      Love the idea of creating a list of completely new-to-you music! Only, I suppose you run the risk of not liking what you’ve got?? Stop by and let me know how your road trip goes. I’d love to hear!

  8. Candice

    I gotta recommend some east coast tunage: try Hey Rosetta! They’re a Newfoundland favourite, and incredibly, incredibly talented. My favourite songs are Yer Spring, Another Pilot, Yes Yes Yes, and Red Heart. Although honestly I love just about anything by them, haha.

    • JoAnna

      Thanks for a few more Canadian tunes. I’m really stoked with that list and can’t wait to try it out!

  9. Deb

    Canadian – Home for a Rest – Spirit of the West (Canadian) I love this song, He’s been gone for a month and been drunk since he left…and now needs home for a rest:)
    American – Graceland – Paul Simon
    Nighttime – Leaving on a Jet Plane (Chantal Kraviazuk version from Armageddon
    Fun – Devil Went Down to Georgia -Charlie Daniels Band. Cover of a Rolling Stone – Dr. Hook

    • JoAnna

      I can’t believe I missed Devil Went Down to Georgia ~ great additions!

  10. Cailin

    Great list! I would also probably throw in some Beyonce or Rihanna songs in there, the kind of songs you know all the words too and can sing at the top of your lungs! 🙂
    Yes I am often a girly girl haha

    • JoAnna

      I’m not so sure the hubby would love excessive Beyonce or Rihanna, but I might sneak a few in there!

  11. kath

    This were on rotation when we crossed the country last
    Omaha – Counting Crows
    Go West – Pet Shop Boys
    Everybody ona move – Michael Franti and Spearhead
    The Priscilla Queen of the Desert Soundtrack
    The Wood Brothers – Ways not to Loose Album
    Burn one Down – Ben Harper
    San Francisco – Brett Dennen
    Bye and Bye – Brett Dennen
    Lie in our Graves – Dave Matthews Band

    • JoAnna

      Thanks kath! I’m definitely taking notes on all of these suggestions!

  12. shannon

    “When the Night Feels My Song” by Bedouin Soundclash (Canadian)

    • JoAnna

      Thanks for the addition! Our Canadian collection just keeps on growing!


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