Road trips are an American pastime. Many people have memories of piling into the family car and taking off for new and unexplored places. Sometimes it was hard to pass the time in the car, but there were hundreds of games to play and things to see.
The build-up to these road trips usually included a checkup of the car's mechanical functions and a quick glance at the average annual car mileage before taking off. The most important element of road trip preparation, however, was creating a playlist of great music to help pass the time.
Music can be a touchy subject, but you cannot go wrong with some classic country. From Haggard and Cash to Willie and Waylon, classic country music is unquestionably great. Here's a list of the 10 best classic country songs to put on a playlist for your trip below the Mason-Dixon.
Johnny Cash is one of the most iconic country singers. His songs were often filled with sadness and sorrow, but Cash did pen some upbeat and road-trip ready songs too. One of those is the 1962 classic "I've Been Everywhere."
This song follows a man who hitches a ride with a big-rig truck driver heading to Winnemucca, Nevada. During their ride together, the new passenger shares his road trip adventures and gives a long list of places he has been. It includes a list of many U.S. cities but highlights quite a few Southern must-sees. It's a great song to start off any Southern road trip.
Merle Haggard is another pillar of the classic country genre. He is known for his dozens of chart-topping hits and wide-reaching influence. Many of his songs are based on his own upbringing in the Great Depression and hard living. Part of his upbringing and music career included long road trips.
Haggard's 1968 hit "White Line Fever" is another must have for a Southern road trip. This song explains that deeply ingrained need to ride the open road. It describes the "sickness born within a soul" and the vastness of the country. This song is a great playlist addition for people who find themselves on the road over and over again.
John Denver began his music career in the 1960s as a member of various folk groups. He broke from all group music in the 1970s and started his solo career. Denver found almost immediate success in his solo ventures. He became one of the most popular acoustic artists, releasing almost 300 songs and 33 albums.
Denver's 1971 song "Take Me Home (Country Roads)" is one that is well known. The song is a love letter to the open roads that move through West Virginia. The singer is captivated by the beauty of this area of the country., but is ready to get home to the place he belongs. Add this to your road trip playlist to play on your way home after seeing the beauty of those Southern cities.
Waylon Jennings was an outlaw, but not a "highway robbery" outlaw. Jennings started playing and performing at a young age, assembling his first band at just 12 years old. He is best known as one of the founders of "outlaw music." This subgenre of country music blends elements of rock and folk music to create a raw and introspective genre characteristic of Jennings' own style.
Jennings wrote and produced over 80 albums in his long career. Many of his songs would be great additions to any playlist, but his 1974 hit "I'm a Ramblin' Man" is perfect for the open road. This song lists cities the singer has visited and the trail of broken hearts he has left in every one. The singer is a traveler, "a ramblin' man", one who just keeps moving forward.
Willie Nelson is classic country through and through. He joins Waylon Jennings as a prominent member of the "outlaw music" movement and continues his career today. He is known as the most recognizable country music artist.
One of Nelson's greatest hits is "On the Road Again," released in 1980. This song talks about his love for being on the road with his friends and bandmates, traveling all over the country seeing new and exciting places. It's a great song to have blasting through your speakers as you adventure across the great Southern states.
George Strait, or "the King of Country," is a singer/songwriter from the 1980s. Strait is known as the country artist who brought country music back to its roots. Before his influence, many country music listeners believed country music was trending toward a heavy infusion of pop music. Strait used his classic country tunes and cowboy appearance to bring the genre back to the "good ol' days."
Many of Strait's songs focus on his life and upbringing in Texas. His hit song "Amarillo by Morning" is no different. Strait sings of his love for his home state and the power it has to heal all wounds. The song talks about the hardships of losing everything, but still being in Texas. It's a bit more melancholy, but it still deserves a spot on that road trip playlist.
Garth Brooks is a well-known country music singer who blends elements of country, rock, and pop to create a unique sound and style. He has released 30 albums and has received many awards throughout his musical career. Brooks' storied career is filled with many milestones, too many to list. His career continues and he continues to rack up more historic moments.
"Callin' Baton Rouge" was released in 1993 and showcases Brooks' classic style.This song is an upbeat love song following the adventures of a man traveling the open road without his love. At each stop, the man has to put a collect call through to his lover who is still in Baton Rouge. This is one of those songs you want to roll the windows down, turn the stereo up, and sing right along.
Florida Georgia Line is a bit different than the other singer/songwriters listed above. Florida Georgia Line is a country music duo with a heavy dose of pop and hip-hop music. This duo is a bit more new wave and attracts a wider audience than some of the other artists. They are still very much a part of the country genre and were quick to make themselves staples for the avid country listener. They are still very active. Check out one of Florida Georgia Line's new releases.
One of Florida Georgia Line's first releases was "Cruise" in 2012. This song describes love as a song that makes you "want to roll your windows down and cruise". It's a great peppy addition to any road trip playlist.
With a great start to this country-inspired road trip playlist, it's time to think about the miles and miles you'll be driving. Road trips are great, but each one adds miles to your odometer. Those added miles have the potential to increase your insurance costs.
Individuals who keep their odometer reading lower are eligible for a low-mileage discount, but that shouldn't discourage anyone from taking those memory-laden roadtrips. Before your next road trip, take a second to look up the average miles you should be adding to your car every year. Then it's time to pick your next road trip destination.
Laura is an auto insurance expert who writes and researches for the car insurance comparison site, MyCarInsurance123.com. She is an avid listener of classic country and taker of long road trips.