by Mitch Campbell

Cadillac Ranch outside Amarillo, TX

Most of us can still remember those days when we were young tots (tadpoles!) buckling up for the seven-hour nightmare of a drive with our family and any mysterious body odors they chose to bring along with them.  Sure, road trips can be miserable…  if you want them to.  But that was not the case in my recent criss-crossing of this country from LA to NYC.  I strapped on an optimistic, eager attitude towards some good-ol’-Lewis-and-Clark-style exploration and packed up my VW Jetta (she’s my lil’ Sacagawea) with one personal challenge in mind:  to conquer the southern United States by simply driving through it.  Ambitious, I know, but that’s how old-school explorers operate.  So without further ado, I hereby claim this Tadpole Audio guest mixtape mine in the name of music-loving travelers everywhere!

As we get older, road trips start to turn into something we need.  They become a time of self-reflection and observation that somehow provides more meaning to where we are coming from and going to.  Music plays a crucial role in this experience.  A solid group of songs can set a tone for any visit to foreign environments.  Whether it’s the catchy melody in the background of a late-night Knoxville coffee stop or the graceful composition accompanying a horizon over the golden Texas sunset, the road even has the ability to create it’s own playlist.  While stopping over in Louisiana, I managed to catch a performance of the Rebirth Brass Band, an institution that evolved from the streets of New Orleans in 1983 and now perform in many venues and festivals.  Not only did they live up to the local hype, Rebirth also briefly shared the stage with Chali 2na of Jurassic 5.  Apparently, Chali frequently attends their gigs.  Organic moments like that show added fresh new life to the evolution of my soundtrack.

My song selection is not a “best of” mixtape for life on the road, but rather one that fits my experience.  Beirut perfectly syncs up with a sunset.  Dylan wakes you up on a lonely morning drive.  Springsteen gives a surreal depth to the night.  Hopefully you can take something from it and build your own.  You’ve got plenty of time to waste.  For now, try to block out the painful games of “I Spy” and Tic-Tac-Toe.  We know you have to pee, but you can hold it.  Let’s go road trippin’!

Mitch is that guy you keep seeing at your neighborhood coffee shop,
A regular Jack Kerouac
usually with his head buried in a computer.  After spending the last few years in LA working in television writers’ offices, he currently resides in New York where he hopes to bring his passions of comedy, music, and writing to life.