Get your motor runnin’, head out on the highway and make sure to grab your free Adventure Road: Drivin’ Dreams album for the long drive down I-35 or, as I guess it is now called, Adventure Road.
Brought to you by the Rick Rubins over at the Chickasaw Nation PR office, this ten-track concept album (rock opera?) features I-35 inspired instrumentals by “award-winning Oklahoma guitarist” Don Juntunen and is “specially written to accompany your travels on Adventure Road” because “the sounds of Adventure Road are unique to its particular experience,” whatever that means.
(Editor's Note: We're not making this up.)
Now I don’t know about you, but when I’m cruising down I-35, I’m bored and sleepy and a danger to those around me until I get to Gainesville, so thank God for podcasts that keep me alert and enthused far beyond the barren flat drive where all you have to look forward to are the Arbuckles and a couple of signs for Robertson’s Ham Sandwiches. Can a bitch at least get a QT up in here?
Sorry, but until I get to that first porno shack on the other side of the Red River, there is nothing remotely adventurous about driving down I-35. No otherworldly roadside diners, no six-legged cow sideshows and not even a single serial killing hitchhiker waiting to gut me in the showers of the Love’s Travel Center.
Maybe we can count that rockslide a few months back. Maybe.
That being said, if you’re looking to veer off the road and die in a brutal vehicular fire thanks to the dulcet, sub-Santana sounds of a guitarist you’ve never heard of before gently lulling you into REM-inspired soundscapes, then let the real Adventure begin.
(Feel free to listen along with via the free samples provided here.)
The first track, “Adventure Road,” is said to be inspired by “entering the highway,” but it’s so sleepy that there’s no possible way anyone in the car is worked up for this road-trip. At least gimme a little bit of a “Life is a Highway” vibe here, hoss.
The second track “Eagle Moon,” is the musical equivalent of a t-shirt with wolves baying at the moon, and inside that moon is a dreamcatcher. Woodwinds and flutes and “ethereal vocals” come together to create a fake Native sound, one that is only further driven home in “Ghosts of the Washita,” what I’m presuming is a slide-guitar blues tribute to the spirits of all the dead Natives that refused to be moved for land-rushers or a John Grisham novel.
Now when you think Bricktown, are you like me and you think hard-edged rock guitars and driving hip-hop beats put to a montage of all the area’s different hot-spots and attractions? Maybe something a little more “Life is a Highway” –esque? Well, sorry, because with the tune “Bricktown Nights,” Juntunen has instead opted for the soundtrack behind the 3 a.m. community calendar that airs right before a Guthy-Renker paid advertisement.
I’m pretty sure “Tishomingo Sunrise,” “Let It Ride” and “Midnight Highway” are all part of Don’s 2112 trilogy, to the point where I wish he’d let me write a few lines about wizards, dragons and the snowfallen crests on the icy cliffs of Mordor, maybe a bit of solo rock-flute thrown in for fun.
When we get to track 8, it's sad to realize it is the first “road trip” tune that actually sounds like a “road trip” tune. “Cowboy Slide” is a rockin’ and reelin’ filibuster of a free CD filler that finally gives us, the beleaguered road-tripper, the “Life is a Highway” knock-off we’ve so patiently been prying to our collective St. Christopher visor clips for.
The follow-up “Wildhorse Creek,” happily continues this trend while the tired finale, “Silent Hearts,” which I’m pretty sure is a tribute to that weird scissor-tail thing on I-40, promises that “as the music crescendos, so does your energy.” But only with the help of two Ol' Glorys and a handful of Texas-bought Mini-Thins, let's be honest.
And while I may have sounded a bit overcritical over a free CD that somehow ended up in a gift-bag I was recently given, I will say that it really is the perfect soundtrack to I-35: long and boring and thank God it’s free. And while it isn’t the type of thing that I would want to listen to, give it to anyone over 65 and they will absolutely adore it. I’ve seen some retirees listen to Drivin’ Dreams like it was the lost Smile acetates and God bless ‘em for that.
But until I reach that age, it’s podcasts and fried pies for me.
If life is a highway, I pull over way too much to the side of the road to take naps. Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler.