What’s your ultimate road-trip playlist? We asked four well-traveled Southern food folks for their top recommendations.
Perfectly Cordial, Nashville
After spending more than twenty years in healthcare as a nurse, Rhonda Cammon decided to care for others in a different way, cocktails. She is now the mastermind behind her own company, Perfectly Cordial, that combines fresh squeezed juices, global spice blends, and pure cane sugar to make craft cocktail mixers. Cammon also co-founded Barseat, the only African American spirit education and consultant company in Nashville, and the CAMP Conference for mobile and off-premise bartenders. She’s on the road nonstop, and here’s what she listens to when she’s behind the wheel.
“Pearl Cadillac,” Gary Clark, Jr.
“Ye,” Burna Boy
Afro beats get Cammon pumped up and excited, and Burna Boy is her “it” performer right now. “This is a grab your girls, hit the road, and move your booty in the seat type of song,” she says.
“Starfish & Coffee,” Prince
This song takes Cammon back to when she was slinging coffee in her waitressing days.
“First Began,” PJ Morton
“Times Like These,” Foo Fighters
A child of the ’90s, Cammon claims this as her theme song when on the road for business. “When I am on the last mile and can’t wait to get home, I play this to remind myself of the why I became an entrepreneur.”
The Local Restaurant & Catering, Charlottesville, Virginia
Melissa Close-Hart’s life has been a road trip itself. Since high school, she’s worked in the food industry and it has taken her from coast to coast. Today, she works alongside her husband and plans to reopen Junction in 2022—which closed due to the pandemic. Whether she’s driving to work, or far from it, here’s what’s bumping from her speakers.
“Angel From Montgomery,” Tedeschi Trucks Band
Close-Hart was friends with band member Kofi Burbridge who passed in 2019. Hearing his cover brings back memories of him.
“All Around the World,” Paul Simon
“Rio,” Duran Duran
“Call Me,” Debbie Harry
The likes of Joan Jett, Patti Smith, and Siouxsie Sioux showed Close-Hart that women don’t have to conform.
“In Spite of Ourselves,” John Prine & Iris Dement
Jesse Griffiths is a hunter, fisherman, cook, and co-owner of Dai Due Butcher Shop & Supper Club. His Respect for Texas’ game led to his opening of the restaurant. In 2012, Griffiths authored a James Beard award-nominated cookbook, Afield, alongside photographer Jody Horton. When on the road, he sticks to folk and acoustics to pass the time.
“Wichita Lineman,” Glenn Campbell
“The Wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald,” Gordon Lightfoot
“The Bit,” Melvins
“March of the Fire Ants,” Mastodon
“In the Hall of the Mountain King,” Edvard Grieg
“The best song ever” should be played at full volume, says the chef.”
Southern Soul Barbeque, St. Simons Island, Georgia
Before Bufkin came to own Southern Soul Barbeque, he spent time running music venues as a booker—so he knows good music. When he hits the road, his playlist is loaded with soul reggae and rocksteady. Here’s a lil’ sample.
“Pastel Sunrise,” Chicano Batman
Bufkin is drawn to the new school indie-soul. He calls this one relaxed funk—perfect for driving.
“Be Thankful for What You’ve Got,” William Devaughn
“Pelota (Cut a Rug Mix),” Khruangbin & Quantic
“I Can’t Help Myself,” Four Tops
Bufkin says it best: This song is just a “stone-cold classic.”
“Uptown Top Ranking,” Althea and Donna
The vibes get Bufkin every time. The duo’s mash-up makes for a sound like no other.
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