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Music for summer road trips!

June 12, 2016

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road…

— Walt Whitman, "Song of the Open Road"

Whitman had it right: Few experiences in human existence match the freedom, joy and unencumbered madness that a road trip offers. Regardless of a destination (if you have one), the journey from home to wherever “there” is can be fun, enlightening, maybe frustrating too, but it should never be boring. Winding up the engine on the highway, warm air gushing through open windows, music blasting from the speakers? It’s downright American! Our forefathers and foremothers built those highways out there, and every once in a while you have to honor their labor and head down the road apiece.

Along with a decent set of wheels and a decent supply of snacks, every road trip needs music. Some of us older library staff used to spend hours creating mixtapes for our road trips, carefully arranging just the right songs within the confines of a 60- or 90-minute cassette tape – something that can now be accomplished in minutes by loading playlists onto an mp3 player or smartphone.

Whether you're looking to create a playlist or need an all-killer/no-filler full album to pop in as the miles tick past, the Marathon County Public Library can help. We have thousands of CDs available for the next time you hit the road, both within the MCPL system and by request from other libraries in the Wisconsin Valley Library Service network.

We surveyed our staff and put together a list recommendations in no particular order. (Click on the album title to check availability.) Do you have some favorite tunes for road trips? Let us know in the comments!

We hope you’ll take us up on some of these soundtrack suggestions, and please let us know what you think. Stay safe out there and have fun!

Photo Credit: Lynn Goldsmith

Travel Music