I grew up in western Montana where getting from anywhere to somewhere means a long drive. It means stretches of freeway where the speed limit is a suggestion. Two lane highways that take you through reservations, eye blink towns with one traffic light swaying from a wire tether, a church, and a bar. Bigger towns might have a feed store and a Dairy Queen. Dirt and gravel forest service roads lead into the wilderness, dead ends and secret passages. Snow-capped mountain ranges touch the sky, peaks slow dance with clouds. Glacial lakes, roaring rivers and crystalline creeks wind into the promise of jump in summers.
A Montanan’s DNA includes the need for wide open spaces and the urge to move. A family outing meant loading into the station wagon with a picnic lunch to visit cousins, hike a new trail, pick wildflowers or pitch a tent. It meant peeing in the trees because there were no rest stops. It meant spotting wildlife, irritating siblings, and endless rounds of rock, paper, scissors. It meant singing along to the radio.
It made sense that the person I would settle down with would be from Montana too. I’ve been in the same relationship for 26 years. There is nothing that we like better than exploring new places. Our courtship was in the front of my pickup on highways and back roads listening to music and getting to know each other. The soundtrack to our life together is comprised of love songs, winding wheels and wind through rolled down windows.
You can’t be with someone for that long without question. Life requires balance. The good times can’t be held to the light without the shadow of trouble. When we get tired and even gas station coffee and snacks don’t take the edge off, the song we turn to is “Pretty Mess.”
Trigger Hippy falls into the category of lesser gods of super groups. The first lineup included Steve Gorman, Guthrie Trapp and Nick Govrik from the Black Crowes, Jimmy Herring from Widespread Panic, Joan Osborne and Jackie Greene. Their 2014 self-titled album still finds its way to regular rotation in our home. It’s bluesy Americana, sexy and sad. Osborne and Greene are featured on “Pretty Mess” a duet about mad, frustrating and beautiful love that you can’t leave behind.
Turn the key, press the pedal and go. Stick your hand out the window, let the fresh air lift and carry, add this tune to your road trip playlist and turn it up.
(Song recommendation by Erin L. Cork)