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Drive America,” by the Cathryn Beeks Ordeal, was the most-downloaded MP3 from SDReader.com during September. Below is an interview with songwriter Cathryn Beeks.

What was the best road trip you’ve taken, and how did the music affect how you saw the scenery?

Beeks: I was on “tour” in September of 1999, a busking trip across country with my friend/writing partner Heather Gmucs. We left Ohio in her Chevy and played the streets of every major city in the U.S. We were on our way to Vegas when I popped in the Dead Can Dance CD we just found. A few minutes later we entered Zion Canyon in Utah. Holy cats, that was magical. Incidentally, that trip was the inspiration behind the song “Drive America.”

Does a songwriter have to travel to be inspired and seasoned enough to write good music?

I think everyone should travel (near and/or far) to be inspired, period. Travel changes your perspective, widens your understanding, and allows you to grow. Musically, however, simply yearning for travel can be the basis for a great song, so I guess the answer to that one is…no.

How have you changed between your first road trip and now?

I was 24 when I left Lancaster, California, on my first road trip. It was 1992, and although I was leaving everyone and everything I’d ever known, I was pretty sure I was going to “make it.” All these years later, I find myself living in a beautiful place with my true love, and I’m scratching out a living in the music business. At least once a week I meet a new songwriter who’s left everything and everyone behind to “make it,” and it makes me love this crazy thing called music.

“Drive America”

I’ve been overseas to Italy
And I’ve cruised to foreign sand
I’ve been up and down searching round
But this land is my land
I wanna see this country
Through my open window
You got to roll it down.…
Drive, drive, drive America
I’m ready to ride, ready to drive America
Take a shot of me in Tennessee
Checking out the Bluebird café
I’ll grab the beer, let ’em know we’re here
Hope they let us play
I’m wanna see this country
Through my open window
I got some friends in Jacksonville
That I ain’t seen for years
I know the day that we pull in
We’re gonna laugh ourselves to tears

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