Think Driving I-70 Is Boring? Not For This Kansas Songwriter

Mar 1, 2017

The band: Heidi Gluck

The song: Sadness Is Psychedelic

The story: Singer-songwriter Heidi Gluck is originally from Canada; she now lives in Lawrence, Kansas. But before she settled there, she lived in Indiana where she was involved in a tight-knit musical scene. 

"We've gone through some life stuff together," says Gluck. "And we still make music together. So they've just been my musical family."

In Indiana, Gluck played with a lot of different bands. She was a session musician and wrote and performed her own music, too. When Gluck moved to Lawrence to start a family, she missed that musical community.

"There was a stretch where I wasn't making any music here in Kansas," recalls Gluck. To get her musical fix, Gluck would regularly travel back to Indiana to work on different projects with friends.

The drive on I-70, the road connecting Lawrence to Indiana, became a place for reflection and musical inspiration. Heading east on the highway she'd feel ready to create, anticipating the landmarks. But, heading west on the highway towards home would be a blur.

"Like I get out of my body for a lot of it. I'm usually exhausted, I'm just kind of ready to be back in my bed and see my child," says Gluck.

But it was more than that, she says.

"I would just feel like I was having this loss, like everything was ending."

Those trips back and forth on the roadway became the inspiration for the song Sadness Is Psychedelic, which also became a turning point for Gluck's musical life in Kansas. 

"Something changed," she says. "I changed."

The song was the first she wrote for the album Pony Show, which came out in 2016.

"I realized that I could have music wherever I am," Gluck says with a laugh. "(I) 70 always felt like almost home. And now, it kind of feels like that both ways. When I get to Indiana I'm almost home, and when I get to Lawrence I'm almost home."

Story of a Song is a monthly segment on KCUR 89.3 in which Kansas City musicians tell the story behind a song they have written or are performing.

Suzanne Hogan is a contributor and announcer for KCUR. She does not have Twitter.