Sundays are made for listening to music…be it while doing work around the house, or cruising around on an epic day roadtrip. And so in that spirit we’re going for the simple Sunday post.

A bit of explaining: When I was on the road I had playlists for everything. For states and cities and moments. The whole idea was to give the trip a different flavor. Aside from scent, sound is the next most powerful memory sense. You will always remember a moment by the song playing in the background, and conversely you’ll always associate a moment with a song. My mission was to draw correlations between moments, places and songs. You can hear top 40 anywhere in the world…so if travel is about discovery, then music is as big a part of that discovery as food.

Here’s the way the playlists worked. I would put up songs about a place or songs inspired by a place. And then I would build songs written and performed by artists from that place. These playlists are by no means comprehensive, I only had so much time to play music while my groups were on the coach. And there’s a distinct possibility that some of the entries are wrong. I think I’ve vetted out the vast majority of the mistakes through the years, but there’s still a chance.

And the last caveat has to do with how I’m sharing these lists. I’m using a Spotify embed…so if you don’t have Spotify you won’t be able to play the list. I’m using Spotify because they have the most comprehensive library and a nice and easy plugin. But even their library misses some big artists. For example in the Arizona playlist below there are some missing songs from Tool and Paul McCartney…they are not in the Spotify catalogue. Whenever that happens I’ll try to make a point of mentioning the missing. But speaking of those two artists, they are great examples of something else when it comes to the playlist: connectivity. Tool is decidedly not from Arizona, nor do they sing about the Grand Canyon State. Buy Maynard owns a ranch/vineyard outside of Sedona. Including them in the playlist allowed me to talk about the celebrity draw of a place like Sedona (and it gave me an excuse to play Tool). McCartney spent time living in Arizona while he was married to Linda. See how it works?

I’ll try to push these posts through on most Sundays…if I forget, forgive me;)


This was the Arizona playlist.

It starts fabulously with a guitar riff that takes me right to the top of the Mogollon Rim, the flat high desert leading to the rim of the Grand Canyon. The cinder cones of long extinct volcanoes rising in pale comparison to Humphreys Peak towering above Flagstaff. Depending on the itinerary, this would be a playlist humming along in the background as we drove along the South Rim of the Canyon and then finally up towards Monument Valley. That’s the route this playlist is built for.


Tags : ArizonaGin BlossomsKings of LeonplaylistSpotifyWilco
Kris Ankarlo

The author Kris Ankarlo

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