9th October, 2020

by Rebecca and Jordan Stobbe · Collage by Tina Tona

Have you ever experienced that melodic, dizzying groove of driving? That almost numbingly beautiful feeling, as scenery passes by like you’re in an indie film, gazing out from your air-conditioned cave and watching the world as if you’re invisible and untouchable? Something about being on the road opens up your mind. Maybe it’s because your body is so stationary and the outside is in such energetic motion, that your brain has to run to keep up; it ends up finding spaces it never has before. Car rides are the easiest places to have difficult conversations. They’re also the best places to get lost in the music of an artist you almost forgot existed, or to hear someone’s voice telling a story you’ve never heard before. 


My sister and I have a band called The Rayes, and we decided to embark upon this new project during COVID to explore new ways of connecting with people, and to uplift music stories from across the United States. The project is called Roadie — a music-based podcast that was born from a yearning. The need to connect; the need to explore others’ experiences and different places in a time when connection is so hard to come by. 


Like so many other musicians and music-lovers, we laugh about how much we miss every detail of performance and live gigs — from the sweaty humans and sticky bar floors, to lugging all our gear through the crowd to get to the stage. So in August, when we found ourselves spontaneously on the brink of a big cross-country road trip, we thought, how can we use this experience to conjure up something new and personal?


The plan was to drive from Seattle to New York, and hone in on that odd, creative bubble that comes along with road tripping. We recorded our conversations about music stories along the way, based on some of the locations we drove through. We are by no means music historians, but we thought it would be so fun to use this as a platform for discussion surrounding interesting stories we found from some basic research ranging from musicians, to secret venues, to famous recording studios. We also had the pleasure of inviting guests on several of the episodes to bring in other perspectives, and find more personal connections to each place we discussed.


We hope that all our friends feel as if they are (virtually) on the road with us, diving deep into storytelling, music, and interesting scenes across the country. Hopefully anyone listening might feel a closer connection with us, and in some way, feel some of that live music and touring energy that still exists, but that we are finding new ways to experience in our new reality. 


Our first episode is based in Seattle (where we began our trip), all about Jimi Hendrix — and many more topics, spurred from our explorations into his life and story! A lot of our discussion surrounds the intersection of race and gender within the music industry, how Jimi rose so suddenly to international fame, and his groundbreaking achievements that paved the way for generations of musicians to come. Local Seattle/Tacoma musician, Alayshia Baggett, joined us as a special guest — she’s an amazing artist you’ll want to keep an eye on! 


We also had the pleasure of working alongside the incredible visual artist Tina Tona, as she created collages to pair with each of these episodes! Her collages embody the culture of the city highlighted in the episode, and inspire feelings of nostalgia with bright colors and vivid imagery that reflect the joy music and musicians bring to our lives.


Even though unfortunately it may be some time before we can all get back to the stage again and have those late-night concert-going adventures, I think it's important we widen our horizons and find other ways to continue to connect and make music and art right now. We probably would have never embarked on this journey and project if it weren't for the current circumstances, so we are thankful for this silver lining, and to have had this spontaneous opportunity. We hope that we are able to share the joy we had creating this project with all of you.

roadie episode 1.jpg

Rebecca and Jordan Stobbe are sisters who front their duo folk-rock band, The Rayes. Their sound is built around intimate harmonies and catchy melodies, with inspiration drawn from 60s and 70s era bands and current musicians like HAIM, Brittany Howard, and Jade Bird.

Tina Tona is a 19-year-old multi-medium Rwandese/Ugandan artist from the DMV. They specialize in film photography and collage art, and use their work to highlight the nuances of Blackness and femininity. They are deeply inspired by black artists such as Solange and Andre 3000, and hope that one day their work can be used as a tool to engage with Afro-futurism the way theirs is.