CarTunes: Paul Simon, “America” and Lucinda Williams, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”

I thought hard during the last presidential campaign if I had ever seen a political ad that appealed to me more in substance and presentation than this wonderful Bernie Sanders ad which features the ridiculously beautiful Paul Simon penned song, America.

It is just a 1:00 minute splash, but so effective, somewhat because the editing feeds right into Simon’s composition, which is indeed such beautiful poetry,  the whole thing just sort of transcends the words of almost any other song/ad I can think of.

The whole tune came on my shuffle the other day as I was heading off the golf links and America is also a great car tune; that is, a song that is great to listen to while driving, so I decided to drop a new category for songs that are a great listen on a road trip.

I guess it goes without saying that arguably the greatest of the “Car Tunes” is Roadrunner by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, a song that has been featured here before, but another great reflection of travel and riding and life and the open road is Lucinda’s Williams fantastic painting of a tune, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road from the album of the same name.

As it was, Car Wheels popped onto my shuffle right after America the other morning making this whole mess fall together in some kind of prophetic way, but make no mistake, Williams words are just as beautiful and evocative as Simon’s, which is indeed saying something.

So, what else kills in the car on that long ride? Radar LoveDon’t Fear the Reaper? You tell me.

One thought on “CarTunes: Paul Simon, “America” and Lucinda Williams, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”

  1. It’s shameful to like Simon & Garfunkel but I do quite like some of their songs. They’re like the Moody Blues in their occasional real purty melodies. Simon’s records were always exquisetly produced; he especially likes loud echoey drums at crucial moments. Me too.
    But again, when I was coming up pop music was all the same thing, the only distinctions for me were like and don’t like. I do remember seeing the term “folk rock” and saying yeah, I get that. Except that it was used to describe The Byrds, The Turtles (It Ain’t Me, Babe), Sonny & Cher as well as S&G. This next song is Simon at his best, and it really resonates with me sentimentally because when I first heard it I was living on the streets at age 16 and my good friend Dollar Bill Cullen said “this song is about you.” How could I forget that?

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