Music: The Movement of Sound That Reaches the Soul

“Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!” 
J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Music is a powerful and universal entity. Across continents and centuries, it is a language used to communicate as much as express. It is an integral part of daily American lives from all walks. That is surely true in no place more than that of the overhead crane technician. Whether the cross-county jaunt, a 5 hour drive to diagnose a downed crane or the lovely commute home in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex traffic at 5:30 pm it is safe to say that tunes are being played (at deafening volumes if you’re in my truck.) Music transforms the boring drive up the turnpike into an enjoyable trip down memory lane or relocates you into the kind of inspiring new world that a first listen will whisk you off to.

I’m a bit of the technologically old-fashioned sort. I come from the generation of the iPod and own 3 iPods for various purposes. The first stays in the truck for daily work-related consumption. The content of this iPod MUST run the gamut. Driving moods are subject to rapid change. Amongst many, the rotation will frequently be revisited by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Known for being as atmospheric and thought-provoking as they are eclectic, the majority of Nick Cave’s work is quite mellow and relaxing. Electronic music with new wave influence tickle your fancy? Try Blakq Audio. Just upbeat enough to help push coffee through your veins!

The second iPod is waterproofed and mobile. Intended for outdoor activities, yard work, and the once-a-fiscal-quarter workout it stays loaded with the up-tempo and abrasive. When subjecting your body to physical assault, why would you spare your ears and mind?! Anything from the 35-year Metallica catalog, Trivium, Scars on Broadway, and attempting to learn a new language with Rammstein.

Lastly, there is an iPod for general purposes and community that comes standard with a Bluetooth speaker for events that arise that are made easier and less tedious with a melody in the background. This tends to be the crowd pleaser with music more universally palatable. Regulars include Eastern influenced Folk/Americana band Brown Bird, the closely related The Devil Makes Three, rave-rappers Die Antwoord, classic country acts from Johnny Cash to John Anderson, all the way to the shameful abomination that is J-Pop. It isn’t an uncommon practice to expose those near and dear to the catchy, yet insufferably annoying songs and artists. Especially my children when they can’t leave the confines of a moving vehicle!

Before you say anything, yes. I AM aware that my phone will hold music. Again. I’m old-fashioned and too stubborn to change. And don’t even get me started on the new-fangled, data consuming streaming that the youngsters are in to... Regardless of the means used, it is quite important for me, and many others, to ensure that the ears are occupied when there is work to be done.

It doesn’t always have to be music. Some occasions call for a little more brain activity than music generates. The last 15 years have brought us another form of ear candy. The Podcast! Take advantage of long hours spent on the road to become more informed and educated on topics of your choosing. There is a Podcast for literally EVERYTHING. From cooking to home improvement to fantasy football to world history, experts proffer ideas and opinions digestible without the use of eyes fixed on the road ahead. I would offer "The Joe Rogan Experience" as a listen. Particularly on extended drives. His long-form open, unscripted interview style is more conversation than a Q&A. His topics cover the conventional and controversial, and his guests range from doctors and nutritionists to Jordan Peterson and Ted Nugent! What a time to be alive!

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