“Overnight drives are the lifeblood of developing into a touring band. Leaving the comfort of street lights and neighborhoods and going into the void to get to the next town in time for soundcheck is as thrilling and mysterious as it is exhausting and daunting. It’s a ritual we share with bands all over the country and it teaches us to identify as the road dogs we are. It’s a powerful sympathy that unites us with others like us. Looking out at the nothingness and knowing there are many hours left without comfort is isolating and forces us to look inward.
“After conversation about the show earlier that night or what we miss back home diminishes, we’re left with the stars, the dashboard, and the radio to keep us company as we try to stay awake through the hypnotic rhythm of yellow lines passing beneath us. These are some of the songs that keep us going as we pass through the voids in between towns, we hope you enjoy.” — Jared & the Mill
Gregory Alan Isakov – “Stable Song”
The sonic qualities of this song are absolutely perfect for lonely nights away from home, and the lyrics inspire wanderlust just enough that I forget my homesickness and reinvigorate my excitement for adventure. It’s a godsend on long overnight drives.
James Taylor – “Sweet Baby James”
I was raised on ‘60s/’70s singer-songwriter music for a lot of my childhood, and this song brought my worlds together when I realized its subject matter covers the spirit of chasing a dream away from home and into the void. I come from a cowboying family and really love the idea of the traveling musician being the last of the cowboys.
–Jared Kolesar (vocals, acoustic guitar)
Feist – “Graveyard”
Feist’s “Graveyard” is a slow build that’s always worth it. Lyrically I feel like it dances around the topic of death, the dead, our memories, and our relation to our past, and our past relatives. Great for a long pondering drive. What a wonderful and beautiful chance it is, to be alive and experiencing anything.
Ennio Morricone – “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Main Title”
If this song doesn’t make you want to trip back to your previous life, strap on your shooting irons, and gallop down a dry arroyo to avenge your lovers death, then I don’t know what will.
–Michael Carter (banjo, mandolin)
Glen Campbell – “Wichita Lineman”
Glen is an amazing guitarist and the glittery arrangement of this great Jimmy Webb song always makes me long for home.
Jackson Browne – “These Days”
Sometimes thoughts of regret can creep in on those late-night drives. This song has an awesome way of acknowledging past mistakes while moving on from them.
–Larry Gast III (electric guitar)
The Wallflowers – “One Headlight”
Pretty sure this song that was scientifically created to make you feel like you’re in a driving montage in a movie. Maybe one of the best rhythm section grooves in the history of Americana to boot.
Kacey Musgraves – “Space Cowboy”
Kacey makes a stronger case for modern country music with every record she puts out. This is a perfect song for looking out the van window into the darkness of night and wondering why you are the way that you are.
–Chuck Morriss III (bass)
Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”
Lots of times on overnight drives you wonder if you have chosen the right path, or if a standard 9-5 could be more fulfilling. This song is a good way to consider the possibilities of that life, while the driving acoustic guitar keeps you alert at the wheel after an arduous day.
Robert Ellis – “Elephant”
I love the intricate plucking rhythms in this song, while the lyrics tackle relationship complications of being in a touring band.
Josh Morin (drums)
Photo credit: Cole Cameron