Various Artists: Driving in the Rain 3AM; Songs to Get Lost With

Douglas Shoback

Various Artists

Driving in the Rain 3AM; Songs to Get Lost With

Label: Bongo Beat

There are always those moments where, suddenly, the body warms effortlessly, muscles unknot, and breathing becomes slow and steady. There is an almost euphoric feeling, head on the ground, feet in the sky, the mind lost in an opiate smoke. Nothing matters because everything is infinite. I don't know what is the catalyst for these feelings. My science friends tell me it's a spontaneous release of some wacky chemical in the brain. My arty friends tell me it's the creative muse bonking me on the head, saying hello. Most people, however, simply think I've been smoking something other than cigarettes. Yet, when explaining this feeling, I analogize it as a 3am drive in the rain. The road stretching out and empty, flashing stop lights reflecting on wet pavement, the wipers swishing, the radio muffled by the heater, and the endlessness felt underneath the pattering rain and streaking lights. And people immediately understand what I mean. No shitting. I seriously used this analogy several times when attempting to describe the feeling. Which, of course, is why the anthology Driving in the Rain 3AM; Songs to Get Lost With intrigued me.

The album is an eclectic collection of, at the moment, unknown (at least to this reviewer) artists. The sounds of the album is even more eclectic, ranging from the neo-folk tunes of Laure Agnelli's "Crying Lullabye" and BB Gabor's "Celtic Cross" to the sleepy free verse of Ralph's "Early Morning Cold Taxi" to the slacker pop of Paul Hyde's "When Love Dies".

Some songs, like Dave Rave & Mark McCarron' "Technicolor Shadows" and Kevin Quain's "Devil Song", belong in smoky jazz clubs, blue light stark in the drifting cloud, 25 stairs below the street. Some belong in Las Vegas, like the country-fried blues of Tom Wilson's "Sleep." Yet, despite the revolving genres on the album, each song is tied to the next by its mood. Every song on Driving In the Rain 3AM evokes the same feeling: wandering, but not lost; alone, but not lonely; solace.

The liner notes (written by Ralph Alfonso), themselves, act as listening instructions: "There are no words . . . These are the twilight hours . . . The city in slumber . . . Only your car through the empty streets . . . raggedy newspaper pages swirling around as the wind sweeps up behind you . . . There's no destination really. There never is. That's somebody else's life."

One of my favorite things in life is that feeling of solace, of isolation. There's something wonderful in being the only car on the road, headlights reflecting off of rain, tires humming and splashing, with nowhere to go and nowhere to be. Nothing matters but sound. And Driving in the Rain 3AM is the perfect album to have coming through the speakers. The world becomes endless.





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