About ~ Tarkio Road



"Tarkio Road" is about freedom and the restrictions placed upon it circa 1970 for many young people who were redefining personal expression in the United States.

After moving to Kansas City in 1968, Brewer and Shipley toured often over a particular stretch of highway through northwestern Missouri that connected numerous small college towns, including an early date at the Mule Barn in Tarkio, Missouri.  That route became known as their "Tarkio Road".  It was a mother!  Along with its share of hair-raising tales of redneck encounters and nosy police, slapstick mishaps and bad sound systems, the two long-haired troubadours also found

Tarkio Road is a mother

acceptance for their songwriting talents and took advantage of the otherwise friendly midwestern climes to hone their music.  "Our music has always been somewhat autobiographical, reflecting our own experiences at the time," explains Brewer. "Our first three albums are like mini-time capsules in retrospect. Vietnam was still raging, and a lot of social unrest. We were experiencing that along with a lot of other people.

"There was a town in Missouri called Tarkio where we used to play, up in the northwest corner of the state," Mike explains.  "We played a lot of colleges in Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas and it seems like whenever we had to play one of those colleges we had to take this highway that we wound up calling Tarkio Road."

Tom picks up the narrative, "We'd just come back from living in California, so essentially we glowed in the dark.  We had the long hair, and they weren't used to seeing a lot of long hair.  We were just a couple of hippies, in the heartland.  Some of the folks could be rather nasty.  Tarkio Road - we'd drive it at night; we'd be trying to get out of Nebraska, back to Kansas City, it took exactly one tank of gas to get from Tarkio to St. Joe.  The good news was you could usually make it, slipping into the gas station on fumes.  The bad news was the gas station was a truck stop, and the guys there wanted to take you apart."



Tarkio Road