There’s a soundtrack to traveling
Whatever you listen to while on the road is your own personal soundtrack. Of course there’s other music that’s actually really made for the road. Often, it’s the kind of music that subtly finds its way into film. You may not even notice it — unless it’s gone.
You see, music in movies or television shows is often conspicuous by its absence, but people really don’t pay attention. Maybe that’s a good thing. Perhaps it’s doing its job by not stealing the thunder from what’s playing out on screen, but instead complimenting it. Understand, we’re not talking about popular songs that are placed into movies to punch up a scene. We’re talking about the incidental music, the underscore that creates tension or release, joy or awe.
By now you’re asking, just what the heck does this have to do with Airstream, or Americana for that matter? A lot actually. Forty-one years ago, the Pat Metheny Group released their second album, called “American Garage.” Front and center on the album’s cover (remember album covers?) are classic silver, chrome Airstream travel trailers. Metheny was born in Lee’s Summit, Missouri — in the heartland of the Midwest — and it shows. His virtuosic guitar playing is matched by his ability to compose music that tugs at the heartstrings with a sound that is truly American. For decades, he’s fused rock with Americana, world music and jazz. Sit back and let the song, Airstream, play out on your next trek across Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Montana, the Dakotas, or wherever your favorite endless horizon happens to be.
Metheny undoubtedly traveled old Route 66 where roadside gas stations and diners had a character all their own. These monuments frozen in time clearly remain an inspiration to him as they show up in his music, not with lyrics, but with sound. Sadly, most of these out of the way places have vanished from the landscape. The few relics that have survived are a testament to those who care to remember, and preserve.
Maybe you’ll find his music perfect for the road — the soundtrack you’ve been looking for to fit the very landscape you’re looking at right now. “American Garage” captures the Midwest in a way only Metheny and his bandmates can — it’s rustic, rural, dotted with vestiges of decades past, and of course, there’s the Airstreams — lots of Airstreams.