Monday, October 17, 2011

Ohio Road Trip Playlist: Songs For Ohio Cities and Towns

Let's take a road trip today around Ohio. After a trip across I-70 last weekend to Pittsburgh, I officially know that I've traveled more miles by vehicle across the Buckeye State than any other state in the country. A no brainer. The turnpike...done that...many times. The Route 11 to Youngstown. Been there. The Route 23 across north central Ohio...did that a many times back in the day. I-74 to Cincy for ballgames and concerts, yep. It's probably mind numbing how many miles have been logged through the heart of it all. If you take the heart out of it, we probably could have saved thousands of miles and dollars through the years. But I wife grew up there and I've had many a friends from the state.

So a tribute to Ohio (my love of geography and music melt together) with a road trip and play list for the circumnavigation of the Buckeye State.

1st Stop: Defiance
Artist and Song: Destroy!-Defiance
Famous Person From Defiance: Sam Hornish Jr.
We'll start in Defiance. Cue up the playlist to late eighties punk metal band Destroy! and their song Defiance. Here's a town that got it's name from General "Mad" Anthony Wayne who stated that he defied the English, Indians and all the devils of hell to take it. Wayne seemed like an interesting guy. I enjoyed his beer and golf tournaments in Fort Wayne...

2nd Stop: Bowling Green
Artist and Song: Everly Brothers-Bowling Green
Famous Person From Bowling Green: Figure Skater Scott Hamilton
An hour trip down OH 281 will get us to Bowling Green. True the Everly Brothers song is probably about the town in Kentucky, but what the hell....half of the songs here aren't REALLY about an Ohio town. Hey, did you know the Nation Tractor Pulling Championships have taken place in Bowling Green since 1967 Neither did I. Let's plan the trip around this!

3rd Stop: Toledo
Artist and Song: John Denver-Saturday Night In Toledo, Ohio
Famous Person From Toledo: Katie Holmes
24 Miles north from Bowling Green we head into the Glass City. Toledo isn't that bad of a city. not as bad as John Denver made it out to be in his song "Saturday Night In Toledo, Ohio." Originally written by Randy Sparks in 1967 after a bad visit to the Glass City, the lines: "Saturday night in Toledo, Ohio is like being nowhere at all/all through the day how the hours rush by, you sit in the park and you watch the grass die." That's pretty harsh, but humorous..especially the part about going to the bakery to watch the buns rise for entertainment in Toledo.

4th Stop: Sandusky
Artist and Song: Uncle Tupelo-Sandusky
Famous Person From Toledo: Orlando Pace
57 Miles east we head to Sandusky and throw in the Farrar/Tweedy composition: "Sandusky". Then we go and ride on some of the best roller coasters in the world and take in the fresh air of tire manufacturing somewhere near by. Sandusky, many a night has been spent there.

5th Stop: Cuyahoga Falls
Artist and Song: R.E.M.-Cuyahoga
Famous Person From Cuyahoga Falls: Gates McFadden (Actress Star Trek: Next Generation)
Traveling east on the turnpike, we'll stop off in Cuyahoga Falls, a suburb of Akron. The town is named after the river of the same name that runs along its southern border. Whether this is the spot where R.E.M. got their inspiration for their 1986 song "Cuyahoga", a song about the garbage being dumped in the river and catching on fire, is debatable...but we'll cue that up in the playlist....

6th Stop: Kent
Artist and Song: Slint-Kent
Famous Person From Kent: Jessica Lea Mayfield
I'm pretty sure Slint was singing about the college town of Kent with their 1989 song of the same title. But hey, who knows. Maybe they're closet Golden Flashes fans...

7th Stop: Canton
Artist And Song: Japan-Canton
Famous Person From Canton: Marilyn Manson
Let's head 34 miles south on I-77 to the home of the NFL Football Hall Of Fame and the city Forbes magazine called the 9th most miserable city in the United States in 2010. Canton also is the birthplace of Marilyn Manson. That's a colorful city. Let's cue up 80's British At Rock band Japan as we enter town...and then quickly head north to our next destination.

8th Stop: Cleveland
Artist And Song: Ian Hunter-Cleveland Rocks
Famous Person From Cleveland: Tim Conway
As we head north and enter Cleveland, we can look at the town two ways. We can cue up the youtube sensation "Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video" and get ready for a slum of a town. Or  we can be optimistic with Ian Hunter's late 70's anthem "Cleveland Rocks". I say we stay optimistic and go with Ian Hunter....

9th Stop: Ashtabula
Artist and Song: David Francey-Ashtabula 
Famous Person From Ashtabula: Urban Meyer
When we're finished with our sightseeing in Cleveland, let's hop I-90 north for an hour to the lake shore town of Ashtabula. Cue up David Francey's "Ashtabula" (and maybe Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome when You Go", for Ashtabula reference) check out the harbor and then hit the road south. this is as far north in Ohio as we're going...

10th Stop: Youngstown
Artist and Song: Bruce Springsteen-Youngstown
Famous Person From Youngstown: Dave Grohl
An hour trip south will take us into Youngstown, once dubbed "Murdertown USA". We won't let the old stories of car bombs and gangs ruling the town ruin our trip. Instead, we'll put on Springsteen's "Youngstown", a tribute to the fiery furnaces of the once proud steel mill town.

11th Stop: Lisbon
Artist and Song: Bon Iver-Lisbon, OH
Famous Person From Lisbon: Civil War general William T. H. Brooks
A 35 minute trip south on OH-11 will take us to the small town of Lisbon. We'll stop there just because Bon Iver has a two minute instrumental on his latest LP dubbed "Lisbon, OH" and then move on...or make the trip around the Appalachian dulcimer festival they hold annually here.

12th Stop: Amsterdam
Artist and Song: David Bowie-Amsterdam
A 40 minute trip will take us to the village of Amsterdam. While not the size of the Dutch town over seas, Amsterdam once boosted the cheapest I.C. Lights in the Ohio Valley at the Amsterdam Moose. Then they shut down the moose.... I'm sure there are no sailors in Amsterdam, Ohio like the ones Bowie sings about, but we'll cue up Ziggy anyways and play "Amsterdam" as we cruise through the pastoral eastern Ohio valley.

13th Stop: Zanesville
Artist and Song: Miller-Kelton-Zanesville, OH
Famous Person From Zanesville: Kurt Abbot (major league baseball pitcher)
Heading back out to I-70, we'll obey speed limit signs of 55 MPH as we enter Zanesville, Ohio. The TV Station is WHIZ TV and I hear there is a cool Steelers bar in town. Besides that, I'm not sure what else is in Zanesville....

14th Stop: Marietta
Artist and Song: Katell Keineg-Marietta
A two hour trip south from Zanesville will take us to the OH-WV border town of Marietta. Did you know the first settlers to Ohio in 1788 set up the first permanent American settlement of the Northwest territory in Marietta. Me neither! Let's give it up for Wikipedia....

15th Stop: Chillicothe
Artist and Song: Eddie Heywood-Chillicothe, Ohio
Another two hour trip west through the Zaleski State Forest takes us into Chillicothe. Not only was Chillicothe known as the "First" Ohio State capitol back in the early 1800's, it is also home to the "Southern Ohio Storytelling Festival". I ask.."What better way to get to know Southern Ohio folklore than this? Cue up some Eddie Heywood as we make our way into this fascinating town....

16th Stop: Columbus
Artist and Song: Post Mortem Grinner-Columbus Ohio
Famous Person From Columbus: James "Buster" Douglas
From the first capitol to the current capitol, an hour trip north takes us into Columbus. While there isn't a plethora of songs about the capitol of Ohio (or at least hardly any I could find), there is a band called Post Mortem Grinner who has a song title in the name of the capitol. We'll plan on an evening the Penguins are in town to take on the Blue Jackets to head in. We did that last year and was "a good time" watching Penguin fans over run the downtown streets of Columbus...

17th Stop: Dayton
Artist and Song: Little Axe-Dayton
Famous Person From Dayton: Rob Lowe
What's a trip to Ohio without visiting "The Gem City"? Heading west on I-70, Dayton is the home of an air force base as well as the National Aviation Hall Of Fame and the National Museum Of The United States Air Force. If you like planes and should, or probably have been, to Dayton. Cue up some Little Axe as you pull into town.

18th Stop: Cincinnati
Artist and Song: Cincinnati-WKRP In Cincinnati Theme Song
Famous Person From Cincinnati: Bootsy Collins
54 miles south and we'll finish up the Ohio road trip with a finish line stop in the Queen City. It is the seventh most romantic city in the United States according to after all...There are tons of festivals or ball games or concerts to check out. Put on the WKRP In Cincinnati theme song as you speed in to Cincinnati....and think of Venus Flytrap and Bailey Quarters....

Complete Ohio Towns Setlist:
1. Destroy!-Defiance
2. Everly Brothers-Bowling Green
3. John Denver-Saturday Night In Toledo, Ohio
4. Uncle Tupelo-Sandusky
5. R.E.M.-Cuyahoga
6. Slint-Kent
7. Japan-Canton
8. Ian Hunter-Cleveland Rocks
9. David Francey-Ashtabula
10. Bruce Springsteen-Youngstown
11. Bon Iver-Lisbon, OH
12. David Bowie-Amsterdam
13. Miller-Kelton-Zanesville, OH
14. Katell Keineg-Marietta
15. Eddie Heywood-Chillicothe, Ohio
16. Post Mortem Grinner-Columbus Ohio
17. Little Axe-Dayton
18. WKRP In Cincinnati Theme Song

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