It’s the holiday season now which means that many of us will be trekking near and far to see our relatives. We know that car rides can be hard with kids and adding DJing responsibilities into the mix might just send many of us to the brink. So we decided to take one thing off your plate with our Holiday Car Ride Survival Playlist. For the parents that can’t bear to take another listen to “Old Town Road,” this one is for you!

The Rock and Roll Playhouse team picked our brains (as well as some of our RRPH friends and fam’s noggins) to come up with the perfect playlist of parent and kid-approved tunes to listen to while on the road. We’ve got a mix of old and new family-friendly picks, ranging from songs that we loved singing along to with our families as children to recent singles that we’re enjoying listening to now with our little ones.

Check out the special meaning behind some of our choices below as you listen along to the playlist!


Amy Striem, Co-founder and Executive Director of The Rock and Roll Playhouse, and Adam Roberts, Music Director of The Rock and Roll Playhouse

Song Choices: “Monkey and the Engineer” covered by Grateful Dead and “Let It Be” by The Beatles
Why They Made the Cut: These songs were favorites in both of The Rock and Playhouse team members’ households. “I grew up listening to the Dead and am happy to pass this tradition onto my children. My little one especially loves ‘Monkey and the Engineer’ right now,” notes Amy Striem. Adam Roberts reflects the same sentiments about ‘Let It Be,’ saying that he grew up on the song and that it’s now become one of his sons’ favorites as well.

Photo: Will Schwerd

Karina Rykman- Bassist for The Karina Rykman Experiment and Marco Benevento Trio

Song Choices: “Atomic Dog” by George Clinton and “Cut the Cake” by Average White Band
Why They Made the Cut: “Nothing says rolling to the family function like a little ‘bow wow wow, yippie yo yippie yay,’ am I right? And ‘Cut the Cake’ is a kid-friendly gem that’s bound to get everyone in the mood to gorge themselves.”

Raffaela Kenny-Cincotta- Associate Editor, Relix Magazine and co-host of 3 From The 7 podcast

Song Choices: “Contact” by Phish and “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree” by Arlo Guthrie
Why They Made the Cut: “’Contact’ always struck me as Phish’s great foray into children’s music, almost like their own version of ‘The Wheels on the Bus.’ Plus, with all the traffic whizzing by you on the road, you and your little one can point out the ‘things on the car that make contact with the road’ in real time.”
“All of my earliest Thanksgiving memories have ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ playing in the background. An autobiographical story-song by folk royalty Arlo Guthrie, it’s arguably the only Thanksgiving song there is. Parents may want to screen it ahead of time for some of it’s more adult themes, but overall ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ is a tradition worth starting or continuing in your family. And since it clocks in around 20 minutes, you’ll be able to keep your eyes on the road and off your iPhone.”

And there you have it! The perfect playlist to get you through the holiday season, curated by the experts themselves.

Looking for more ways to keep the family entertained? Make sure to stop by our Free Fallin’ ft the Music of Tom Petty For Kids show at Brooklyn Bowl this SUN, DEC 1!