OA Rock Cesario Column June 26, 2009

Wealth of electronics gadgets will make long road trip easier

It’s past time for an extended road trip, and the one I’m planning will have a substantial amount of windshield time.

The last time we had a long road trip vacation was in 1998. We purchased our first cell phone just for the excursion. We had a CD/cassette player in the car so we had a selection of tapes and discs.

Flash forward 11 years, and thanks to the help of our teenage son, Matt, we now have two iPods, an iPod dock with a CD player, a radio, an alarm, a remote, two digital cameras, two cell phones and a GPS.

It looks like we will need a separate storage bin just for all of the electronics.

Oh yeah, and the car also has a cassette/CD player.

One of the things about the iPod is that you fill it up with songs of your own choosing, so theoretically, you can put it on random select, and you will always hear a great song. Don’t forget, though, that everyone may not agree with your choice, especially your spouse.

Most of the time, my wife, Kenda, and I agree on the choice of music, and when we don’t, the driver gets to make the choice.

Kenda’s iPod has a lot of Paul McCartney, Elton John, Tom Petty, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Michael Murphey and the like.

Mine is divided by playlists and they have titles such as acoustic Sunday, Americana, blues, jazz, workout and driving songs.

We are more likely to disagree on the volume.

Normally, the driver makes the call on that one, too, and you don’t have to let the kids vote.

This is because if there are any children on the trip over the age of 8, they are usually listening to their own music, or playing an electronic game with headphones on.

Now you can add text messaging to the equation as a distraction. Thankfully, I still haven’t learned how to do that yet.

With 11 hours drive time on the first day and nine hours on the second, I will have plenty of time to read the owner’s manuals to all of this high tech stuff we are taking, providing I don’t forget to take my reading glasses.

In fact, I should probably take two pair of those.

When it comes to choosing CDs for the trip, we can stick to new music because we have the iPods for the older music.

There is definitely a lot of new music to choose from, and these are some of what we are going to be listening to on this trip.

1. Eilen Jewell’s “Sea of Tears” is a mix of rockabilly, 1960s-era chess blues and Bakersfield country in 12 songs. Jewell’s voice reminds me of Lucinda Williams, Norah Jones and Natalie Merchant.

2. John Doe and the Sadies “Country Club” is a refreshing listen featuring a younger group of artists covering some classic country songs from the early 1960s and treating them with well-deserved respect.

3. “Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women” is one of the best CDs of the year and featuring Alvin and seven women meticulously moving through 12 well-chosen songs with incredible musicianship.

4. Dave Alvin’s tribute to Chris Gafney in “Man Of Somebody’s Dreams” is a fitting tribute to a terrific but underrated singer/songwriter.

Next week’s column will be about some of the record stores we find on our trip. So stay tuned.

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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