Summer means travel time, but not before organizing your tunes

Summer is the time of the year for road trips and outdoor concerts, camping, hiking, fishing and many more great activities.

Thanks to modern technology, it is easier to take your music with you for these summer activities than it has ever been.

So with an upcoming road trip that includes a visit to the collegiate mountain range to see in-laws and finishes with the Joe Cocker and Tom Petty concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, it is time to put together some driving music. And I have a 2,000-song iPod to fill up.

As I have said in this column before, it is easy to fall back on the classics when doing this sort of thing, but in my mind, a lot of those great songs have simply been overplayed.

You know, the Steppenwolf songs, the songs by the Beach Boys, ZZ Top, Jan and Dean, Eagles, Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Bob Seger, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, The Cars and, well, you know what I mean.

Most of those songs are great, which speaks to their strength. But I want newer songs for this trip.

One of the more enjoyable parts of putting together newer driving music is to select some newer music for my wife, and to keep it interesting. If not, the trip could become part of that age-old struggle for the volume control of the stereo.

Let me add that we will be taking some of Cocker and Petty’s more recent recordings. That will include the two new songs downloaded from to serve as concert “primers” and to listen to the day after the show. Having pre- and post-concert music has been my tradition ever since going to a Grand Funk concert in 1975 with three former high school classmates.

But back to my current effort with newer songs.

These newer traveling and/or driving songs are going to include song such as James McMurtry’s “Valley Road,” “Vague Directions” and “Freeway View.” McMurtry writes a lot of hard-edged songs and those three are some of his best.

Another singer/songwriter with edgy songs that I like is Joe Ely. His contributions will include “95 South,” “I’m On the Run Again,” “Streets of Sin” and “Roll Again.”

One of my favorite rock bands is the Bottle Rockets. That band writes some of the best driving songs I have ever heard, and from them I chose “Indianapolis,” “Dohack Joe,” “Perfect Far Away,” “Nothing But A Driver,” “The Wrong Way” and “Give Me Room.”

My wife suggested some songs from Peter Wolf’s “Midnight Souvenirs,” Mark Knopfler’s “Get Lucky” and Timothy B. Schmit’s “Expando” so some of those will definitely be on our playlist because then I can turn the sound up.

From Dave Alvin I like “Ashgrove,” “Out Of Control,” “Blue Blvd,” “New Highway,” “Out in California” and “So Long Baby Goodbye” from his “Interstate City” live album.

Tom Russell is another artist whose music will accompany us on this trip. “Down the Rio Grande,” “Tonight We Ride,” “Next Thing Smokin’,” “Haley’s Comet” and “Let it Go” will all be there.

There also will be songs from John Hiatt, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett and Shawn Mullins on this trip.

Wow! This is going to be a great mix of music. I can’t wait to get on the road.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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