Compiling the Ultimate Roadtrip for a Cross-Canada Drive

This popped into my mailbox yesterday:

Hey there Alan! I need the advice of a Professional Music Geek.

I have some iTunes money as a going away present from my music students at the high school where I teach. I have a 7-day road trip across Canada starting in 2 weeks.

I want to put together a road trip playlist for the ages. My preference is for entire albums, not just the odd single and the more Canadian content the better (I’m not with the CRTC, just a patriot). I’m wondering what you may recommend to kill the boredom in that stretch between Winnipeg and civilization (this is my first time driving across Canada, but I’ve heard that’s the worst leg of the journey).



I feel for Matt.  That 20+ hour trip over the top of Lake Superior to the ‘Peg can be a killer.  If you don’t fall asleep from boredom, you might end up hitting a moose somewhere west of Wawa.  

I figure he’ll need about 30 albums to get through just that.  If he’s heading all the way to the west coast, he’ll need a total of 75 or so minimum.

Let’s crowdsource this bitch.  What do you recommend for Matt’s cross-Canada drive?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

17 thoughts on “Compiling the Ultimate Roadtrip for a Cross-Canada Drive

  • June 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Four quick suggestions:

    Live Shit: Binge & Purge by Metallica

    Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike by Gogol Bordello
    Plastic Beach by Gorillaz
    Silver by Moist

  • June 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    2112 – Rush
    Talkin Honky Blues – Buck 65
    Reconstruction Site – the Weakerthans
    Chemical Sounds – Ron Hawkins
    The Falcon Lake Incident – Jim Bryson
    Too Late… No Friends – Gob

    Other Stuff
    Midnite Vultures – Beck
    S.C.I.E.N.C.E. – Incubus
    El Grando Orgo – At The Drive-In

    Not too sure what your specific tastes are, but i know that just about every album on here, at one point or another, lived in my car.

    Good Luck!

  • June 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Having driven the stretch of wilderness in Northern Ontario more often than I can count, there's nothing better I've found than some Tragically Hip. Fully Completely would be my album pick, or if live albums count, I'd definitely go that route. Lots of choices. (Bonus points if you can sync up the Hip lyric about Moonbeam Ontario when you pass the UFO.)

    And for the Maritime stretch, The Stanfields' Vanguard of the Young and Reckless.

    Metric's new album would make my rotation as well, but I'd keep that for "big city" driving – it has a real slick 'urban' texture. Maybe for the Montreal bit?

    Arcade Fire's Suburbs seem like a perfect fit for the stretch of driving past T.O. too.

  • June 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I`m from Northern Ontario originally but living in Ottawa and I`ve relied on some of these artists to help with those long stretches on the drive home. They are all Canadian.

    Nick Sherman – Drag Your Words Through
    Don Amero – Deepening
    Kinnie Starr – (any album)
    Ghostkeeper – Ghostkeeper
    Digging Roots – We Are

  • June 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    No drive through the praries is complete without "Northern Wish' by the Rheostatics. Play their albums Melville and Whale Music back-to-back on the road, and you'll get what it is to be a Canadian.

  • June 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    I too have driven the Toronto to Superior route too many times to count. I agree with Alan, watch for the moose between Wawa and Thunday Bay. There is beautiful views of the lake along that route, but the big brown swamp donkeys love the highway as a place to hide from the blackflies this time of year. On to the music:

    Canadian content;

    Little Hell – City and Colour
    Aja (cover album) – The Darcys
    The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
    Turn and Burn – The Sheepdogs (a great driving witht the windows down album, these guys have more than the one good song!)
    Crisis – Alexisonfire (a little heavy but one of my all time favs)
    Underdogs – Matthew Good Band

    Newer Stuff:

    Oceania – The Smashing Pumpkins (new album is pretty decent!)
    Neck of the Woods – Silversun Pickups
    Boys & Girls – Alabama Shakes

    Older Stuff:

    Aladdin Sane – David Bowie
    Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
    Rated R – Queens of the Stone Age
    Meat is Murder – The Smiths
    The Stooges – The Stooges
    The Resistance – Muse
    Pills'n'thills, and Bellyaches – Happy Mondays

    This just comes off the top of my head, as I loaded a few of these into the iPod for my upcoming trip to NW Ontario. Great suggestions for the others too, I am going to check a few out myself! Have a great trip!

  • June 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    – The Band and Neil Young

    – You Forgot it in People or anything by BSS, Dan Mangan, Arcade Fire, Yukon Blonde, Arkells etc.

    – Obviously Tragically Hip

    – And Library Voices/Sheepdogs for Saskatchewan, very important

  • June 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    sHEAVY – "The Golden Age of Daredevils"
    RUSH – "Clockwork Angels"
    City and Colour – "Little Hell"
    Alexisonfire – "Old Crows Young Cardinals"
    Beast – self-titled
    Barenaked Ladies – "Gordon"
    Big Wreck – "Albatross"
    Big Sugar – "Heated"

  • June 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    It's not an album but as he has iTunes money I highly recommend the album "The Great Canadian Two Four" on iTunes. It's only $5.99 and has 24 classic Canadian songs.

    I totally dig the Vancouver chick-duo The Pack A.D. as well.'

    For non-Canadian stuff try exploring the career of Jack White. The Gos, White Stripes, The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs and of course his new Blunderbluss album.

  • June 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    You can't have any sort of musical Canadian journey without Gordie and the boys. Tragically Hips Yer Favorites is a great compilation album from them, or for a full album, my pick would be Fully Completely.

  • June 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Lifestory:Monologue – Drag Your White Fur, Make It Grey
    The Lowest of the Low – Shakespeare My Butt
    Mathew Good – White Light Rock and Roll Review
    Thrush Hermit – Clayton park
    Paso Mino – Good People ( if you can find this buy it and Zeus and Bahamas will never seem the same)
    Joel Plasket – Three
    The Weakerthans – Reconstruction Site
    Alexisonfire – Crisis
    John k. Sampson – Provincial
    Arkells – Blueprint and Michigan
    Dan Mangan – Nice, Nice, Very Nice and Oh Fortune
    Attack in Black – Marriage
    Black Lungs – Send Flowers
    Dan Griffin – Leave Your Love
    The Flatliners – The Great Awake
    Fucked Up – David Comes to Life
    The Golden Dogs – Big Eye Little Eye
    Hostage Life – Walking Papers
    Monster Truck – The Brown EP and Monster Truck
    The Saint Aliva Cartel – The Saint Aliva Cartel
    Shad – The Old Prince and TSOL
    The Wooden Sky – If I Don't Come Home, You'll Know I'm Gone

    That's all I have for Canadian Content. Have a great trip and enjoy the spinage

  • June 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    You can NOT drive through that part of the country without the ultimate Canadian Roadtrip Musical Sandwich; the Neil Young Sandwich.

    (BREAD) "Harvest"
    (MEAT) "Le Noise"
    BREAD "Harvest Moon"

    Enjoy the drive.

  • June 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Neil Young-Live Rust, On The Beach, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere
    Rush-2112, Moving Pictures, Permanent Waves
    Tragically Hip-All
    Pearl Jam-Vitalogy, Yield
    Soundgarden-Down On The Upside, Badmotorfinger, Superunknown
    Nine Inch Nails-The Fragile
    Sloan-Take your pick really… they're all great

  • June 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Hey everyone!

    Thanks for Alan and the suggestions everyone! This trip is from Northern Alberta to P.E.I, so there's no shortage of long stretches of nothingness. Looks like I`m going to blow the money the kids gave me & invest another few $$$, cause there`s too much music here to NOT put in the car!

    Matt (Band Teacher/Geek)

  • June 27, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Dynamite Walls by Hayden is the perfect start to any road trip.

  • June 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    I drove from Toronto to Saskatoon in Dec 2010 and let me tell you… listening to Neil Young while driving through Northern Ontario was a life changing experience! I only had a couple of his albums with me (Massey Hall, Greatest Hits, and Harvest), but when I make the trek again I'll definitely have a good chunk of his music.

    Also… listening to Beck's discography front to back goes by really quickly.

    Safe Travels!

  • June 27, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    The Pleasure and The Greed – Big Wreck

    In Loving Memory – Big Wreck

    Albatross – Big Wreck

    Scenery and Fish – I Mother Earth


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