The Boat Tunes Playlist

Early on in the planning for my trip, I made some decisions on how connected and how high-tech I wanted my experience to be. One of those decisions was to pack a small bluetooth speaker so I could listen to music and podcasts on the long days of paddling. I’ve been using Pandora as my music streaming service for years, but have only the free subscription. Counting on cell service to supply me with my music was not ideal. So I sprung for Spotify. With Spotify, for 10 bucks a month, I was able to download as much music as I possibly could fit on my phone. So in the months leading up to my trip, I downloaded as much music from my past as I could think of, and quite a bit of new stuff I was looking forward to listening to.

One pretty cool feature of Spotify is the ability to share and collaboratively create playlists. I think we were standing around before a hash prior to my trip and my good friend Matt mentioned we should get people to contribute to a playlist for my trip. Thus, the Boat Tunes playlist was born. The list was shared out with people who have Spotify, a Facebook thread was created with requests and the playlist began to grow. I did not look at it. I set a deadline for the night before I got on the water, the last time I’d have wifi to be able to download all the music. That night, I downloaded it all.

128 songs in all. Here are my comments and some funny anecdotes from listening to the Boat Tunes playlist off and on over the first month of my trip:

  • I exclusively listen to this playlist on shuffle/random. I leave it to the river gods to determine what I am hearing at any given time.
  • Someone, and I think I know who, loaded up the list with a bunch of Phish songs. I feel like every other song is a Phish song. And considering how long Phish songs are, 90% of the time I am listening to Phish. It’s not great.
  • I was paddling in some pretty big waves on Fort Peck Lake listening to the playlist when a Florida Georgia Line song came on. I make it a point to not skip over tracks, but in the process of immediately getting my phone out to skip this, I almost flipped my boat. Thanks, Louis C.O.C.K.
  • That same day, Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys came out. You could hear my cackle in the nearby canyons as I surfed across the Fort Peck waves.
  • As I paddled among the amazing, world class fly-fishing waters of the upper Madison, weaving in and out of driftboats full of concentrating fishermen, Boats n Hoes came on. Perfect.
  • Each and every time Can’t You See by the Marshall Tucker Band comes on – and it seems to come on a lot, I smile, I rock out, and I am instantly in a Busch Light commercial. Thanks, Louis C.O.C.K.
  • Some contributors stuck with the water/river/boat/paddling theme for some of their songs. Others just added some pretty damn good music. Thanks, Laura.
  • Yes, Gloria by Laurie Brannigan is on the list and it has been played during and after the Blues Stanley Cup win.
  • Yes, dueling banjos is on there. Hardy har har.
  • Breathing Underwater by Metric? Whoa, things just got dark.
  • Careless Whisperer by George Michael. If Matt Frank had invested all the money he spends pushing this song up to the front of the line in bar jukeboxes, he’d be retired.
  • Colin added an amazing tune called Yes! We Have No Bananas a song by Billy Jones from the 1920s. Almost makes up for adding Cool for the Summer by Demi Lovato. Ugh, no.

This is a live and active playlist. If you have Spotify, you too can contribute glorious and awful music to my daily listening habits. Visit my link to this post on my Facebook page to get to the Spotify playlist link. I do need wifi to download the new songs, but it looks like I should have access the next couple days.

Thank you to Matt for the idea of the playlist and putting it together. And thanks (I guess) to the contributors for making my daily auditory experience a bit more interesting on my trip.


2 thoughts on “The Boat Tunes Playlist

  1. Mark.
    I don’t have Spotify, but here are a couple of songs I think would be good in the sense that “Goin’ To The Country”[Canned Heat, 1968] and “Born To Be Wild”[Steppenwolf, 1969] are good, driving, road trip songs:
    > “Broken English”
    > “Brain Drain”
    > “I Feel Guilt”
    all by Marianne Faithfull. You know all those English rockers from the Sixties? She dated many of them. These 3 songs are from 1979 and you may not be able to find them. The 1st is about how the Cold War, the 2nd about people borrowing too much from you, ’til they’re “Like a brain drain, going on and on, like a blood stain, forever”. The last one has the lines: “I never gave to the rich, I never stole from the poor.” I find them helpful to stay awake on long trips, being a little on the intense side.


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