Summer is quickly approaching, and with it comes a uniquely American tradition: the road trip. For generations Americans have had wanderlust to explore the land around them. It used to be a horse and covered wagon, now a road trip includes a car and a full tank of gas. There is, however, one more necessary aspect of a trip that cannot be ignored. Finding the right music can make the difference between being annoyed you’re on the road and thoroughly enjoying a road trip.
In honor of the countless number of road trips for the upcoming summer season, here are 10 essential albums for the road, in no particular order.
Live Bullet – Bob Seger
Arguably the best live album of all time, Live Bullet contains the quintessential road song in Turn The Page. Try not feeling every word of that song as you cruise down the road.
Live Anthology – Tom Petty
This might be cheating considering this is actually four discs, but Tom Petty is great road music. This is basically a live greatest hits album including a phenomenal cover of Friend Of The Devil by The Grateful Dead.
The Clarence Greenwood Recordings – Citizen Cope
Never heard of Citizen Cope? A road trip is a great chance to get acquainted with his combination of jazz, blues, and acoustic rock. If you’re driving during a rainy day, this disc of slow songs is perfect.
Garage – Cross Canadian Ragweed
This is for the country lovers out there. Driving guitars and pounding drums create a great song about running in Hammer Down. Try not to speed.
American IV: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash
Gravelly heart-breaking voice? Check. Gritty introspective songs? Check. You don’t have to be a country fan to appreciate Cash’s cover of Hurt by Nine Inch Nails.
Hotel California – The Eagles
This album contains not just one road anthem, but two. In addition to the title track, Life In The Fast Lane is also a great song to blast down the highway to.
Born In The U.S.A. – Bruce Springsteen
The greatest album by possibly the best American artist of all time. Pop it in, lean back, and belt out every line to this song.
Trouble Is… – Kenny Wayne Shepard
Blues music is perfect for the road. Great vocals and even better guitar work make this album necessary for a long road trip.
One More From The Road – Lynyrd Skynyrd
This live album shows how incendiary the original lineup of Lynyrd Skynyrd was. Standout guitar work backs Ronnie Van Zant’s legendary voice. Since many of the band died before their time, this is one of the best works they put out.
Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
This is the most recent of the albums on this list but it has already become an essential road trip album. Mumford & Son’s plays simple folk music that is at once relaxing and inspiring. Perfect for the open road.