Songs about Place and Space

It has quit raining, and my spring wanderlust has settled in again.  The daffodils are beginning to straighten their backs after being beaten by the past week’s constant precipitation, and the creeping phlox has begun its inevitable spread along the rock retaining walls around here as it has ever so slowly gotten warmer. All this movement, of one kind and another, along with a recent reading of Doreen Massey’s journal article, “A Global Sense of Place” (first published in ’94) has got me thinking about folk music that has to do with traveling and the definition of “home,” what makes up one’s sense of place and space with today’s mobile lifestyle.

In talking of her own hometown of Kilburn (near London, England), Massey writes,

 ” People’s routes through the place,  their favourite haunts within it, the connections the make (physically, or by phone or  post, or in memory and imagination) between here and the rest of the world vary enormously. If it is now recognized that people have multiple identities then the same point can be made in relation to places.” (p. 6)

In music, travel and one’s sense of belonging (or not belonging) are key points that have been strummed, plucked, wailed and whispered since time immemorial. Think about it…

from Billie Holiday’s “Travelin’ all Alone”  http://www.last.fm/music/Billie+Holiday/_/Travelin’+All+Alone
 to Doris Day’s “Sentimental Journey” http://www.imeem.com/people/kACzd8/music/K5Ay7mSq/doris-day-sentimental-journey/
 The Eagles’ “Take it Easy” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScG0ilS0dgI
The Box Tops “The Letter,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD9mCp8SifM ,
Michael Buble’s “Home,” http://www.imeem.com/kanasaikuat/music/-tCVlTqz/michael-buble-home/ 
U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name,” http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2e04u_u2-where-the-streets-have-no-name-l_music 
or even Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam,” http://www.last.fm/music/Metallica/_/Wherever+I+May+Roamhttp://www.last.fm/music/Metallica/_/Wherever+I+May+Roam

Music has a way of getting around. In the words of Johnny Cash, “I’ve been everywhere, man.”

So, I’m going to leave it pretty open-ended…do you have a favorite song about travel or about home? Later, I’ll post a list of my favorite folk rock gems (think Damien Jurado, Rocky Votolato, the list could very well be endless…) for you to consider. If you want another list of assorted goodies, check out Brave New Traveler’s post “30 Songs That Capture the Spirit of Travel” at http://www.bravenewtraveler.com/2008/05/02/30-songs-that-capture-the-spirit-of-travel/

Safe Travels and Happy Trails!

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