I was driving down to Ft. Carson this morning for a Spartan race.  It’s about an hour and 45 minutes so I put on Slacker.  Normally I have a “favorites” channel, but with all the time on the motorcycle and roadtrips lately I wanted a break so I listened to Front Line Radio.  I wrote about that hear and highly recommend you give it a listen.  You can follow this link to listen to it.

Two songs struck me this morning.  One was “Drive On” by Johnny Cash.  I honestly don’t know if I’d ever heard it before, which is surprising considering how many Cash CDs are floating around this place.

Not much more needs to be said about that song.

The other one?  I’ve said frequently that I normally hear music but not the words.  There’s a quote that I like that goes “When you’re happy you hear the music, when you’re sad you listen to the words”.  That’s been true for me usually.  And when a song resonates with me when I’m sad, I can’t turn that off.  I can’t NOT hear the words when I’m happy again.

“Times Like These” by the Foo Fighters has been a favorite of mine for years, probably since the album came out in 2002.  Maybe not.  I was deployed for some of that year and it took some catching up.  So maybe 2003.  But it’s been in regular rotation on my road-trips for over a decade.  I’ve sung it (as best as I’ve understood the lyrics) at the top of my lungs while driving.  And never really thought about any of it.

This morning, they told some backstory behind the request.  The service member who requested it said that they left the military almost immediately after their last of several deployments and when they did, this song was on almost constant replay for them for awhile, strictly because of the lyrics “It’s times like these you learn to live again” and “It’s times like these you learn to love again”.  Then they played the song.

I teared up a little and choked them back.  Instantly I was transported back to my 3rd deployment.  Before the deployment, being almost certain I wasn’t coming home and then when I realized I was, trying to figure out what that mean.  I hadn’t made any “after” plans.

Frontline Radio

I’ve had a slacker account that I’ve used for years.  Way back when I thought it had a nice, flashy interface compared to Pandora and I love music enough and was too lazy to convert my extensive CD collection to MP3 so I bought a subscription.

I really haven’t been getting the most out of it over the years.  Originally I created a station or two, threw a couple dozen artists in there and then just started hitting favorite on songs until I had an auto-generated playlist.  Late last year I switched to an android phone and since Christmas I’ve been road-tripping a lot on the weekends.  With the new interface for the Slacker app on the new phone and more time in a car I decided I should start exploring more and started playing more of their curated stations.  My “favorites” station was getting somewhat incestuous and it needed some fresh blood.

Not too long ago I found frontline radio.  You can listen to it here. 

It’s a pretty neat station.  People write in with songs that had some significant meaning to them during their military career.  Even if you just fast-forward through a song because you don’t like that particular piece of music, the stories are fun to listen to, especially as a veteran.  I was road-tripping this weekend and was just enjoying it so much that I called my Dad and I think he’s downloaded the app so he can listen now too.

For years, this song always struck home with me.  It’s “Cot” by the Carnival Strippers:

I’ve been that exhausted before, especially at the end of a tour, coming home after a year of keeping it all together and getting everyone back.

This weekend while driving the song “Zzyzx Road” by Stone Sour came on.  I’d never heard it, but the story was instantly relate-able as was the song: