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ROAD WARRIORS: Kevin Ault

Kevin Ault, a physician at Emory University.

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: Aside from the fact that you're paid to do it, there aren't usually all that many upsides to business travel. Even work trips to fun places involve lonely hours spent in airports, rental cars and dealing with hotel rooms and all of that. So it's no wonder people sometimes need a little something to get them through. That's the premise behind our series Road Warriors.

Producer Michael Raphael is bringing us the music people listen to when they're away from home but still on the job.


Kevin Ault: I'm Kevin Ault and I'm a physician at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. And my travel song is a song I use when I come back home, called "Storms are on the Ocean" by June Carter Cash.

June Carter Cash singing: I'm going away to leave you, love. I'm going away for a while...

I usually think about my daughters. My daughters are getting older now; one is getting ready to turn 14 and one is 11. But the very first words are "I'm going away to leave you," and so, certainly when they were little, I thought about that quite a bit. There's also a verse about who's going to dress you, who's going to kiss you, who's going to take care of you while I'm gone, while I've gone these 10,000 miles that I have to travel.

Cash: Oh who will dress your pretty little feet, and who will glove your hand? Oh who will kiss your rosy red cheeks when I'm in a far-off land...

Probably my favorite trip was several years ago, and I was going to Istanbul. I was going to talk at a European meeting, and I was one of the last lectures. So I gave my talk, the meeting broke up, got to go see all that wonderful world history. But the next day, I was on the place, and I was ready to come home.

Cash: Have you seen those mournful doves, flying from pine to pine, a-mournin' for their own true love...

There are storms on the ocean, you're a little speck in a little teeny airplane flying over the Atlantic.

Cash: The storms are on the ocean...

You're looking over this huge bank of clouds over the north Atlantic, trying to get back to the southern United States to see your kids.

Cash: This world may lose it's motion love, if I prove false to thee...

That trip was probably just a few months after this collection of songs by June Carter Cash came out. This was her last recording and was produced by her son, and so that kind of cemented it, this song as my travel song.

Cash: Papa will dress my pretty little feet, and Mama will glove my hand. You can kiss my rosy red cheeks when you return again...

Ryssdal: We've got a list of Kevin's other travel favorites in the music section of our website. And while you're at it, you can offer up your own playlist. We'd love to know what you're listening to.

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"Long Way" by Antje Duvekot
"Soul For Every Cowboy" by Big Head Todd and the Monsters
For me, both these songs capture the essence of being on the road, it's beauty, sadness, loneliness while also speaking of our desire to be home.
When we're home we think of the road, and on the road we think of being home. Distance does make the heart grow fonder.

These segments are the most boring thing on the radio. It's like sandpaper rubbing in my ears. I do not care what someone listens to on their road trip. They have their taste, I have mine. It's like being forced to watch your neighbor's vacation slides. I had to switch to some other radio station to listen to commercials to ease the pain.

Somebody talking about Istanbul or Turkey on marketplace? That's never heard of! It's usually China, India or UK. Dubai was there for a while, until it went bust.
How about the only economy that didn't go broke in Europe? Turkey.
Kevin, thanks for mentioning Istanbul and how it was your favorite trip.

This one doesn't do much for me. Road songs that drive me are Deep Purples "Highway Star", Golden Earrings "Radar Love", or Juno Reactors "Control". Check 'em out!

Lovely how Dr. Ault's "The Storms Are on the Ocean" travel song crystallizes the sharpened sense we have of risk when we commit to an airplane or train or car to leave home and dear ones. My best loved travel songs come from the world of "filk"music--the fannish made and sung songs of science fiction lovers. "What is Courage Now?" is a hymn to the adventure of the Fellowship of the Ring. "Is it just to go until we're done? But if we should fail, what then?" Another, lighter, is a celebration of shuttle launch events and those who gather to see off the gallant craft and crews--"Shuttle watcher's Waltz": "Put a sign on your door that just says, 'Out to launch'!" These songs are hard come by from fragile old cassette tapes. I have conserved them on I-Tunes by a tricksy process of tranfer from analog to digital with a software application. Thanks for the delightful topic:-)

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