Friday Playlist: Americana

A soundtrack for your journey through the desert.

At the end of our road trip, Tavi, Anna, Avery, and I traveled to the desert to stay for one night—and one night only. We drove through the night, stayed up until the sun rose, then left. It was one of the best nights, but it was also our last one together. Our journey reminded me of a scene from my favorite movie, Paris, Texas, where the main character, Travis (Harry Dean Stanton), realizes that his journey is coming to an end. The golden sun is rising, and in the rearview mirror you spy a single tear on his face, and it is clear that he is dreading the reality of home. I think we all had this same feeling.

So here is a playlist for your journey through the desert start to finish, sunrise to sunset.

Illustration by Minna


  • suburban grrrl August 24th, 2012 11:10 PM

    woah woah woah nothing from The Band? I know they’re 4/5 Canadian but they ARE Americana. . .

    • Three Plays by Margot Tenenbaum August 26th, 2012 2:22 AM

      I was just thinking that Johnny Cash doing Long Black Veil could have/should have been swapped out for The Band’s version of the song.

  • Fortune_Goddess August 24th, 2012 11:11 PM

    My mother and I both LOVE Son of a Preacher Man. Such a beautiful song.

  • JillianYvette August 24th, 2012 11:22 PM

    Emmylou by First Aid Kit is absolutely one of the most beautiful songs ever in the history of ever.

    • TheGreatandPowerfulRandini August 25th, 2012 11:08 AM

      Just saw First Aid Kit live yesterday. Living in Scandinavia is awesome.

  • drcyblack August 24th, 2012 11:25 PM

    urgh everything you guys do is great

  • Hunter August 24th, 2012 11:39 PM


  • bugaleeto August 24th, 2012 11:54 PM

    YES; summertime sadness and oblivion. <3

  • victoria August 25th, 2012 12:28 AM

    this is so great… oblivion is a perfect ending song, too!!

  • SpencerBowie August 25th, 2012 12:50 AM


    <3 so much.


  • Kanjii_ August 25th, 2012 2:07 AM

    If you look up Rookie Mag: Americana on Grooveshark (totally legit site, don’t worry), I made the full playlist, save the song “Murder” as I could not find it there. Enjoy.

  • filmfatale August 25th, 2012 7:29 AM

    You know what else is good Americana? “Ode to Billy Joe” by Bobbi Gentry.

  • lianaisferal August 25th, 2012 8:09 AM

    grimes <3

  • dancinginthetrees August 25th, 2012 11:04 AM

    As I am in fact going on a road trip to the desert (Burning Man) this week, this is perfect!

  • jedarq93 August 25th, 2012 1:14 PM

    The road to home is basically a desert, i’ll try this playlist on my six hour trip this week =) i like how grimes closes the journey.

  • Yayo August 25th, 2012 3:37 PM

    I knew this list would have at least one Lana song :) Everything about her is dripping with Americana vibes.

  • insteadofanelephant August 25th, 2012 4:40 PM

    first aid kit never gets old, perfect happy sadness music

    instead of an elephant

  • Megan Anne August 25th, 2012 5:50 PM

    darn just a bit too late! I just got home from five days in the arizona desert… still a rad playlist though!

  • Stefania August 25th, 2012 8:51 PM

    My girlfriend and I did a road trip all through the deep south/southwest, and The Coasters “Down in Mexico” was definitely on our playlist. So was Tom Waits “Low Side of the Road” anything by “Memphis Jug Band” and oddly enough, Radiohead “Karma Police” (it makes for some very creepy late night driving on deserted country roads)

  • duckie August 25th, 2012 11:54 PM

    nice!! the playlist to end all playlists.
    i’m gonna hang on to this one. i have a dream to drive from NY to new mexico when i graduate.
    i think i’d add some Crosby Stills and Nash, and probably that 80′s song ‘Centerfold’

  • shinmachine August 26th, 2012 9:51 AM

    i wish you provide download links, too. That would make em more fun and i can put them in my ipod :)

  • sparklybandit August 26th, 2012 1:47 PM

    UM HELLO?? BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUBS HOWL??!?!?!? how could you forget?!

  • Rhianna August 26th, 2012 9:59 PM

    I can see 3 songs from Tarantino soundtracks. Down in Mexico from Death Proof, Bang, Bang from Kill Bill Vol & 2 and Son of a Preacher Man from Pulp Fiction.

  • caro nation August 26th, 2012 11:28 PM


  • brynntheredonethat August 27th, 2012 4:03 PM

    This is just awesomeness. Also, I think Suego Faults by Wolf Gang is an awesome song for this. It just makes me think of being in the desert on a really clear night and looking up to see stars.

  • ninamau5 August 27th, 2012 5:38 PM

    first day of school is tomorrow.

    i could not think of better stuff to listen to as i finish my summer homework.

  • thesexyzebra August 27th, 2012 5:57 PM

    <3 First Aid Kit so hard

  • fearandloathinginvienna August 27th, 2012 6:17 PM

    son of a preacher man is just the best song ever to listen to on long summer nights !

  • Helenus August 27th, 2012 6:42 PM

    The Tramps fit this playlist so perfectly.

  • olivehornby August 28th, 2012 3:23 AM

    Death Proof?

  • eliselbv August 29th, 2012 12:48 PM

    Johnny Cash is simply the best!

  • eggzonable August 29th, 2012 3:55 PM

    wooohooo, Tarantino ispiration I can see ;)

  • rockwrenroll October 2nd, 2012 8:25 PM

    This is actually the first playlist I listened to all the way through and I actually absolutely adored it.

  • timi October 14th, 2012 1:34 PM

    love this, thanks guys :) ROAD TRIP!!!! (preparing one around lake district in the UK) Good times ahead, too bad it will have to end aswell hehe