“Listening to music when I run keeps my mind from wandering. It keeps me motivated and helps me keep a pace so I can sweat out whatever evil I got into the night before.” – Kendell Marvel
“Running on Empty” – Jackson Browne
Those days when I don’t really feel like going for a run, all I have to do is put on this tune to get moving. That classic ‘70s feel and the lyric to this song are pure motivation. Hell, look what it did for Forrest Gump.
“Against The Wind” – Bob Seger
There isn’t any other song that feels more open-road than this song. Bob Seger may be the greatest songwriter of our time. This song paints a perfect picture of the wind in your face. It just feels like freedom.
“It Ain’t My Fault” – Brothers Osborne
Not only does this song have the stomp, but the guitar riffs, the B3 and the hand claps! Combined, they all make this the perfect tune to kick it up a notch. The first time I heard this ditty I was sitting around the fire in Lake Creek, Alaska, with John and TJ and they played it acoustic. It blew me away.
“Life in the Fast Lane” – Eagles
From the opening riff of “Life in the Fast Lane” it is pure adrenaline. Southern California ‘70s rock ‘n’ roll had it all. From the great melodies to the even greater lyrics, these guys were head and shoulders above any other bands of that era. Except Petty, of course.
“Wrong Side Of Memphis” – Trisha Yearwood
“Wrong Side Of Memphis,” was written by Matraca Berg and Gary Harrison and sung by the great Trisha Yearwood in the early ‘90s. It has that swampy, gritty feel that fires me up. It’s the perfect mid-tempo for an early morning run.
“Boots On” – Randy Houser
This tune by my buddy Randy Houser is the perfect in your face, barn burner country song to work up a sweat to. His vocals are stellar on everything, but this one is exceptionally good. Not many people can sing like that cat.
“Hippies and Cowboys” – Cody Jinks
This one’s my cooldown tune. After a good 4- or 5-mile run, Jinks’ laid-back retro sound brings the heart rate back down. Badass vocal by a badass dude.
“Fast as You” – Dwight Yoakam
Dwight Yoakam is the king of cool and this song from the get-go gets me going. Pete Anderson’s guitar work and production on this song [make it] everything an uptempo song should be.
“Cocaine Country Dancing” – Paul Cauthen
Good Lord, this song! It’s new to my playlist, but all I gotta do is push play and imagine wild man Paul Cauthen runnin’ up behind me. Immediately I knock a minute off my next mile.
“La Grange” – ZZ Top
“La Grange” is dripping with angst. It either make me wanna fight or run. Since I’m a little older now I better stick to runnin’ with this Little Ol’ Band from Texas blaring in my AirPods.
“I Ain’t Living Long Like This” – Waylon Jennings
The title of this Waylon tune, written by Rodney Crowell, pretty well sums up my reason for running every day. A musician’s lifestyle ain’t always the healthiest lifestyle. So I figure if I wanna hang around this world for a while I better stay in half-assed shape, so this title alone is motivation. Plus, this song just feels so good.
“Mowin’ Down the Roses” – Jamey Johnson
I think Jamey Johnson is a modern-day Willie Nelson. This song has so much grit and cockiness it’s hard not to run with a little swagger when it’s on.
“Runnin’ Down a Dream” – Tom Petty
Well, I saved this one for last because who do you play after Petty? Nobody! “Runnin Down a Dream” is the perfect rock ‘n’ roll song as far as I’m concerned. It’s reckless, it’s rockin’, it’s brilliant, and it makes me feel young. How else do you wanna feel when you’re on a run?
Photo credit: Alysse Gafkjen