Before the interstate highway system spread over the US, the country was knit together through a network of railroads and auto trails. One of the longest of these was the Lincoln Highway, a coast-to-coast collection of roads that linked New York to San Francisco at the dawn of the 20th century, and could take weeks for early automobiles to traverse. Given that this was a huge tract of land, people wrote songs about it.
Cecelia Otto is a classically trained singer who recently toured the remains of the Lincoln Highway and performed turn-of-the century popular music about the highway at various venues along the way. Otto wrote a book about and released an album after the tour, and is currently crowdfunding a project on the songs of World War I. I talked to her about her experience, how you crossed the country in an old automobile, and how popular music was distributed before electronic recording.