Rolling Stone and Can-Am Hit the Road in Search of America's Hidden Musical Stories

Anomaly and Riverside craft 'Common Tread'

Road trips and tunes often go together, and that fusion drives "Common Tread," a web series from Rolling Stone and Can-Am.

In five short videos, correspondent Clint Carter travels cross-country astride the newly redesigned Can-Am Spyder RT three-wheeled motorbike. During these adventures, he chats with artists and explores the musical legacy of diverse and frequently unexpected places and spaces across the USA.

Shooter Jennings—son of country and western icon Waylon—shows up in the first episode, retracing the creative path that took him from Nashville to Los Angeles as he forged his contemporary C&W sound:

In the next installment, dropping Feb. 25, Carter heads to "The Caverns," a performance venue built into a cave in Pelham, Tenn., to examine the enduring relationship between music and nature.

"We wanted to showcase all of the incredible, lesser-known musical stories that have emerged out of both major cities and small towns across the country," Rolling Stone senior project management director Sara Katzki tells Muse. "We wanted to show how easy it is to explore the open road, and that great stories can be found even in your own backyard."

Each episode attempts to distill Rolling Stone's vaunted long-form magazine journalism into five-minute featurettes designed for mass consumption. The Jennings clip succeeds on those terms. We get a real sense of Shooter's craft and personality as Carter probes a bit below the surface.

The subjects pack sufficient star power without seeming obvious or overdone. This helps "Common Tread" deliver a sense of discovery that fits the road-trip concept. Sure, Jennings has a famous name, and we see images of L.A. everywhere all the time. Still, the city itself informs the man's artistry, so we're not just making another gratuitous circuit of Hollywood Boulevard. Plus, his story isn't so well known that the segment plays like a retread.

Plus, the films keep concerts and wide-ranging travel in the spotlight at a time when both have largely faded from the national stage. In this way, "Common Tread" provides a hopeful preview of our post-pandemic lives.

Can-Am and creative shop Anomaly approached Rolling Stone in 2019 with the notion of creating a "never-ending musical road trip," recalls Katzki. "We felt that each story deserved a longer format so we were able to dive deep into the people and places that make each location and story what they are."

And if the clips show too much Spyder-tooling-down-highways footage for some folks' liking, remember: Can-Am's paying for the gas (and everything else here, too).

Carter visited Jennings a year ago, just before quarantines went into effect, which explains the bustling streets and absence of masks. But shooting the other episodes posed significant hurdles.

"Everything shut down initially, but it became even more challenging once places started to open back up since travel was restricted," says Jeff Molyneaux, co-founder of production and creative studio Riverside Entertainment, which helped develop the series.

A tour of secluded, historic recording studios in Woodstock, N.Y., "was shot at the height of Covid, shortly after New York opened its doors again to allow filming. None of our team could travel to New York, so we had to have a locally based crew handle that episode on the ground," says Molyneaux, who served as executive producer on the films.

A visit to Canada "had to be scrapped entirely," he adds, "causing us to completely reassess the rest of the series in terms of what would actually be possible to produce. Luckily, Episode 2 took place close to Nashville, which is where our headquarters is located, so we were able to do a lot more on that episode from a production standpoint. The episodes shot in New Orleans and Mississippi both had delays in filming due to the holidays and Covid ramping up again."

Ultimately, the team steered around such obstacles to create a breezy branded vehicle with enough substance and surprises to keep viewers engaged for the ride.

"Common Tread" rolls out through April across Rolling Stone web properties. Here's an episode guide:

• Ep. 1 – Los Angeles – Clint meets with Shooter Jennings at the Viper Room to discuss his journey to L.A. and musical legacy. Clint also stops by Sunset Sound and Dave's Room to explore the iconic studios.

• Ep. 2 – Pelham, Tenn. – We head to "The Caverns," a super unique music venue built into a natural cave in Pelham, TN and explore the relationship between nature and music.

• Ep. 3 – Clarksdale, Miss. – Clint heads to Clarksdale to discover the origins of the Delta Blues and meets up local blues hero, Kingfish. Clint visits Ground Zero Blues Club and the Delta Blues Museum.

• Ep. 4 – Woodstock, N.Y. – We head up to the Hudson Valley to explore the incredible, secluded recording studios in Woodstock, and talk about the music history of the town. Visits include Dreamland Studios and Allaire Studios.

• Ep. 5 – New Orleans – Clint meets up with NOLA rock band The Revivalists to explore some historic spots that are special to them such as Preservation Hall and Tipitinas.


Client: Can-Am On-Road
Creative Agency: Anomaly  

Rolling Stone:
Chris Cruz – Producer

Sara Katzki – Sr. Director, Project Management
Annie Quinn – Sr. Account Manager
Sabrina Phillips – Director, Brand Partnerships
Production Company: Riverside Entertainment 
Post Production Company: Bruton Stroube OutPost

Ep. 1 - Los Angeles/Shooter Jennings
Director - Alex Chaloff
Producer - Nick Cortes
Editor - Lexi Hiland

Ep. 2 - Caverns/Tennessee
Director - Alex Chaloff
Producer - Michelle Abnet
Editor - Chent Steinbrink

Ep. 3 - Mississippi
Director - Alex Chaloff
Producer - Lisa Robinson
Editor - Jazzy Kettenacker

Ep. 4 - Woodstock
Director - Andrew David Watson
Producer - Aaron Krepack
Editor - Samuele Baiamonte

Ep. 5 - New Orleans
Director - Alex Chaloff
Producer - Lisa Robinson
Editor - Jazzy Kettenacker

Post Production:
Audio Sound Design / Mix - Steve Horne
Color Grade - Brian Singler
Supervising Editor - Lucas J. Harger
Post Supervisor - Sunshine America Clay

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