Road Trips with Jason Crane: Alabama Bound

(THE ROAD) — If you’re reading this on April 3, the day it comes out, I’m hitting the road again on the way from PA to AL. I got my second dose of the vaccine a few days ago (yay!) and hugged my kids goodbye until next time. Alabama, and in particular Auburn, is one of the many places I’ve lived, and I’m going to go hang out there for a while as I look around for radio gigs for the next phase of my journey. I’ve covered more than 14,000 miles since I left Tucson on Dec. 1, if you can believe it.

I thought since I’m headed down to Alabama I’d take a look at some artists from that state, which has a rich musical history. Here we go.

HANK WILLIAMS

We don’t play Hank on The Drive, but in my experience even many folks who don’t particularly like country music like and respect Hank Williams, who pioneered so much of what became classic country. Hank was also a big inspiration to many of the rock acts who’d help define the music we do play on the station. I’ve visited his grave in Montgomery (which he isn’t in) but I didn’t observe the tradition of pouring whiskey on it (which is probably why he isn’t there anymore).

LIONEL RICHIE

OK, now here’s a guy we definitely play on The Drive, both as a solo artist and with the Commodores. A native of Tuskegee, Richie is certainly a megastar, having released a string of multiplatinum records that were everywhere on the radio during his peak. He also seems to be having a bit of resurgence these days, appearing in commercials and on TV shows once again. Also please watch this Commodores video. It’s a perfect period piece.

PERCY SLEDGE

I know Percy released a lot of music, but when the big book of songs is written, it’ll be “When A Man Loves A Woman” that makes him immortal. We’ve all heard it so many times, but try to put on some fresh ears and crank it up again. It’s a timeless song that says it all.

EDDIE KENDRICKS

Eddie wasn’t the only Alabama native in The Temptations, but he was certainly one of the most notable. It’s so hard to pick a favorite song by this band, given how many hits they had and how much their sound changed over the years, but this one is very high on my list.