Music Monday: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Welcome to my first post for Music Monday! The Music Monday meme is the creation of Drew at The Tattooed Book Geek, and this is my slightly altered version of it. Read on for my explanation and my first choice!

This review contains an affiliate link to, which will earn me a commission if used, and will help to support independent bookshops.

Here’s how it’s going to work: every week, I’ll pick a book. It might be one I’ve featured on the blog before, perhaps one that’s about to come out, but it might equally well be one that’s been around for years and just happens to work for me. Along with the book, I will pair an album. Perhaps it has a name that’s relevant to the book, be it the title of the album itself, the band, or even a particular song. It might be something less obvious than that though, like today’s choice. I’ll talk a little bit about the book, a little about the album, and explain my thinking behind the pairing. Sound good? OK, let’s get into it!

It makes sense that the first book I’m choosing to feature is by one of my favourite authors. It’s The Road, by Cormac McCarthy.

Taking place across the blasted wasteland of an irradiated America, The Road follows the journey of two characters, referred to only as “The man” and “The boy.” McCarthy’s typically excellent prose is positively mythic here, his descriptions of a landscape befouled by humanity haunting and tragic, yet still filled with moments of hope and beauty. The relationship between father and son is a central theme of the novel, as the unconditional love between the two drives them ever onward in their desperate quest for – if not hope – survival.

With all that being said, what could I possibly pair it with?

I happened to have bought Chuck Ragan’s Gold Country on the same day as I bought The Road. It perhaps makes a lot of sense to associate an album of his with literature – as one of the founders of the band Hot Water Music (itself named after a Bukowski collection), there’s a shared artistic/literary DNA there. But more than this, Gold Country captures a sense of storied America across its length. An America of swaying pines and rattling freight trains, of endless highways and woodsmoke. It’s a beer on the front porch, cookout in the back-yard kind of America, a love letter to an idealised nation, relayed by a gravelly voiced troubadour. I listened to it whilst I read The Road; one a testament to a world forever lost and the other seeking to cling to intangible earthly delights and simple pleasures, those little things that we often take for granted, and the two are inextricably linked in my mind now. I can’t listen to Gold Country without recalling my experience of The Road, which marks it out as a unique and deeply personal album for me.

My personal favourite from the album. That raw voice conveying a beautiful sentiment is just perfection.

Let me know whether or not you enjoyed this post – unsurprisingly, I have plenty of ideas for future entries!

The Road is published by Picador, and is available at this affiliate link.


5 thoughts on “Music Monday: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

    1. Thanks Jake, I enjoyed writing this and was quite proud of how it turned out, so more are definitely on the way.
      Billy Ray Cyrus is unlikely to feature, have no fear!

      Liked by 1 person

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