Whiskey & Bananas Presents: “Desert Sessions,” A Playlist by Director Luis Peña

A selection of adventurous tracks for the open road, curated by the film director of OKRP’s campaign for Groupon

Luis Peña is one of the most active and interesting “agents” who we work with here at O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul. A director with production company World War Seven, he’s a well-traveled photographer, designer and adventurer who we worked with on Groupon, and who has done work for Canada Goose and Fitbit, among many others. We thought it would be interesting to present a collection of tracks curated by Luis as this month’s edition of our guest playlist series, “Whiskey & Bananas Presents.” Luis drew inspiration from his youth growing up in and driving across Texas as he curated this selection of hard-rocking and introspective tracks for the open road. He calls them his “Desert Sessions,” and we hope you’ll enjoy — along with these shots from his driving adventures.

Luis Peña: When I was growing up in Texas, my family would all get into our Ford brown van and drive west towards the desert. Fort Davis, Marfa, Guadalupe. I firmly believe this is why seeking adventure and travel and going into the unknown is so appealing to me. My folks had 2 mixed cassette tapes that we would rotate constantly. A mix of country, rock, folk, and Mexican ballads. My summer adventures had a consistent soundtrack. So here’s a mix of some of my favorite songs to listen to while on an open road. Some driving hard, some sweet and quiet. A mix to get lost in the desert with.

Black Grease — The Black Angels

Oh how I love The Black Angels. I almost made the whole mix with just their songs. This is what west Texas sounds like to me.

Hustle And Cuss — Dead Weather

The sexy duo of Jack White and Alison Mosshart going at it with tension brimming at the seams. We’re starting to break the speed limit.

When The Levee Breaks — Led Zeppelin

I love air drumming to this masterpiece. Can’t help myself. Full-on smashing the steering wheel to Bonham’s thunder.

T.I.B.W.F.— Budos Band

I get lost in this song. It’s like a soundtrack to a 60’s horror film about gogo dancers. I love it.

Wish You Were Here — Lee Fields & The Expressions

My first car was a Chevy Malibu and it only had an AM radio station. And the only station I listened to was KYOK — Soul. Driving and soul go hand and hand to me.

You Don’t Love Me-No No No — Dawn Penn

I went through a big reggae phase. Actually, I reckon I’m still in it. Dawn Perry’s vocals and the rhythmic bass line gets my head moving every time.

Optimistic — Radiohead

Ah, Radiohead. You could save the world with your music. I backpacked all throughout Central America in my mid-twenties listening to OK Computer. This is off Kid A. I love how this song builds and builds tension and then releases.

Ball of Confusion — Leon Bridges

I heard this song the other day and was struck on how current it is today. Leon Bridges does a masterful cover of it. And that bass line is ridiculous.

Commit A Crime — Mr. Airplane Man

Mr. Airplane Man is the duo of Margaret Garrett and Tara McManus — drums and guitar. Simple and stripped-down grungy blues. That guitar riff makes me want to do terrible things to a Challenger Hellcat.

Miss Ohio — Craig Cardiff

Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings are on my desert island record list. But this cover of their song by Craig Cardiff is amazing. Gorgeous jazz piano ramblings. “I wanna do right, but not right now.”


Read OKRP Chief Creative Officer Matt Reinhard’s interview with Luis Peña.