Well as this blog has slowly become a depository for my gig reviews and not a lot else, and with it about to become a place where I’ll be leaving my ramblings as I embark on a year or so on the road (more on that later) – this is my half arsed attempt to merge one into the other. So what better way to do that than a list of travel related songs? Yeah yeah, original I know. I’ve not even tried that hard to find songs, they’re all from artists I already know and regularly harass. But anyhow; some are location specific, some are a bit more general and some just seem, well, relevant.
Stu Larsen – San Francisco
Our nomadic Australian friend kicks this one off, which is kind of apt being that he travels so much he’s essentially homeless. In a good way. It was a tough choice for which of his songs to go with here as most of his work could quite easily fall under this category. Indeed, The Mile ran it close, as did This Train – both seen here featuring the wonderful Natsuki Kurai on harmonica. As for the track I went for; aside from the beautifully laid back feel to it that suits San Francisco so well, it just encapsulates that nervous anticipation you only ever feel upon heading to a new place, into what is essentially the unknown.
Passenger – Life’s for the Living
Ignoring the more pertinently titled Travelling Song and the inspirational weariness of Flight of the Crow, I’ve gone for a track off the latest album from our man Mike Rosenberg. It’s about as life affirming as songs get, and I’ve lost count of the number of grey afternoons I’ve sat staring out of a rain splattered office window, listening to this and wishing I was elsewhere. If the bit from around 3 minutes onwards doesn’t want make you want to pack your bags and just go, then nothing will.
You can read my recent gig review of Passenger and Stu Larsen here.
Goodnight Lenin – Wenceslas Square
This one ticks off Europe nicely. The boys from Birmingham take us on a tour of the sights of Prague and Berlin amongst others while also encouraging the listener to “Pick a point on the horizon and close your eyes, we’ll travel there“. Inspiring stuff. This can be found on their absorbingly brilliant EP of the same name, released last year.
Gomez – See the World
Blimey, I thought the song was bad enough for the old traveling bug, but I’ve just seen the video as well – you’ll be thumbing through an atlas within minutes of watching this one. Another life choice conundrum is posed here – Day to day, where do you want to be? – ‘somewhere else’ being the obvious answer. Make it happen.
Frank Turner – Journey of the Magi
The Road would have been a more obvious Frank Turner choice here, granted – with all it’s galavanting here, there and everywhere in search of the horizon. However, this T.S. Eliot inspired tale captures the very essence of travel itself to me – “in the end, the journeys brought joy, that outweighed the pain” – and is Turner’s finest work in my eyes. On top of this, it contains the following lines which have become my favourite travel quote of all time, so I was never going to leave it out really.
Saddle your horse
Shoulder your load
Burst at the seams
Be what you dream
And then take to the road
Tom Petty – It’s Time to Move On
Not much explanation required here – it’s the musical equivalent of itchy feet.
The Pogues – Sunny Side of the Street
As good mood songs go, they don’t come much better than this. I recall sitting on a bus in Vietnam a few years ago, afternoon sun streaming through the window with the world going by outside, when this song came on and quickly spread a huge shit-eating grin across my face. So it gets in purely because of that. Oh, and I’m sure we’ve all met a Shane MacGowan or two on on our travels as well, haven’t we?
The Gaslight Anthem – Backseat
Everything about this song screams ‘roadtrip’ – even better if you don’t where you’re going, there’s a carefree tone to it that suggests it should be that way anyway. As Brian Fallon sweeps us across America you can picture yourself anywhere in the world; roaring off into the sunset, girl in one arm and the steering wheel and a cigarette in the other. Go on, picture it. Cool eh?
Feel free to comment and let me know of any I’ve missed. Please note however, if anyone suggests anything by John Denver then I can’t be held responsible for my actions.