Song Spotlight: “On The Road Again”

  • Mood: Cheerful
  • Themes:Travel, Friendship
  • Tempo: Medium
  • Genre/Style: Outlaw Country

“On The Road Again” just may be the perfect road trip anthem. Although we have many ways of getting from point A to point B these days, a long trip on the highways and byways still holds a certain special place in our culture. And this iconic song from Willie Nelson has held a place on many road trip mixtapes and playlists for decades. (Click here to listen to a recording on YouTube.)

This song came in 1979, when Willie Nelson had his first leading role, acting in the film Honeysuckle Rose. >The producer of the movie approached Nelson during a flight and asked him to write a song about life on the road to feature as the film’s theme song. Willie obliged and wrote the tune down on – wait for it – a barf bag. (Seriously!) The tune became Nelson’s ninth #1 hit and is one of his most recognizable tunes. It even won him a Grammy Award for Best Country Song in 1981.

This is a great song to share with a group making music together, as the lyrics include the line, “The life I love is makin’ music with my friends.” This song can be used as a transition into reminiscence about past vacations and road trips, or create an opportunity for musical engagement on instruments or singing. This song also makes for a great final song after playing music together.

Try This

Theme: Travel/Friendship This song would fit well into a travel theme or to promote camaraderie within the group. Encourage the group to reminisce by sharing their favorite travel memories and combine this tune with other songs about travel to continue the fun. Other complementary country songs may include “ I’ve Been Everywhere,” “ Take me Home, Country Roads,” and “King of the Road.”

Musical Engagement: Print or display the lyrics and sing along with Willie Nelson on this iconic song or shake along with percussion instruments.

Mark a Map: Gather pins and a map. Mark all the places the members in your group have been and count the total the number of places everyone has traveled to. Talk about the highways they’ve traveled. (Route 66, anyone?)

Movement: You can do rhythmic movement to this song, like leg extensions or toe/heel tapping. If you are feeling adventurous, you can YouTube seated line dancing tutorials to use along with this song.

What are some of your favorite places you have been? What other Willie Nelson songs do you enjoy? Please leave your comments below.

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