I drove to and from Las Vegas in a 24 hour period. It was worth the trip, but the drive was brutal since I made the trip alone. I had a great time at the Clark County Big Read Book Festival. I stayed with my college roommate and her husband in their lovely home, was treated to the most fabulous homemade enchiladas this side of Chiapas, and met some wonderful people at the book festival.
But the drive home was a killer.
For the first two hours of the return journey, my radio held tight to a Vegas rock station by the call letters KOMP – Rock 92.3. But somewhere around Cedar City I lost the signal, and I still had a good four hours left of my drive. The good news was I had my iPod with me. The bad news was, I didn’t have the adapter. I stopped for gas in Cedar and checked my CD player. There were three CDs in my car: something one of my kids had recorded stuff onto, Tom Petty’s Highway Companion, and Stone Sour’s Come What (ever) May. I put the two I recognized (both of which I had purchased for myself) into the player, and hit the road for the last leg of my journey.
The sun was beginning to set, but I could still see glimpses of red and orange wild flowers along the side of the road. They struck and interesting contrast to the thrashing guitars and drums of Stone Sour. But my blood was pumping, and the sleepiness that had threatened to force me off the road disipated. I’m a big fan of metal music (I know, my kids can’t believe it either), especially if it shows any intellect what so ever. You gotta love a band that uses the word malestrom properly in their lyrics. That, and the bass line. The bass player in Stone Sour drives that bass line like a run-away freight train. The whole album is solid, and it kicked me in the brain cells while I cruised along behind tractor trailors and VWs. Scars may be one of my favorite songs from recent years. It’s well-crafted, drives hard, and had me bouncing around in the driver’s seat as I drove. I’m eagerly awaiting the next Stone Sour CD, and hoping they show up in Utah on tour.
Then the CD switched to Tom Petty. I believe Petty is one of America’s finest musical story tellers. He takes all the great aspects of the Blues and cranks them up a notch without losing any of that lyrical quality. Saving Grace is one that I could listen to over and over without ever growing tired of it. The words create such vivid images in my mind that I create an entire movie in my head when I listen to this song. Back in high school I was on the dance team and I used to choreograph to a lot of songs. Though I haven’t danced in years (except when I go out with my husband, but that’s different), I have an entire piece choreographed to this song, and to Turn This Car Around. Maybe when my kids aren’t home for a few hours, I’ll dance around the living room for myself. And I’ll sing, too. I used to sing a lot, and it was great fun to belt it out to both discs while I drove along. I think one of my great dreams would be to sing back up to Tom Petty on just one song. I’d pay good money for that opportunity.
I listened to each CD two times through and made it home, barely noticing the miles ticking by. I was grateful for the company, even if they didn’t know they were providing it. I know it’s an odd pairing, but it was the perfect pairing for me at that time. It was my own private concert tour. I don’t like traveling alone, and I was terribly afraid of getting drowsy as I traveled. So, my public thanks to both Tom Petty and Stone Sour for keeping me awake and alive. I’m very grateful for what you didn’t even know you did.