Skip Navigation

My desert island satellite radio channels

After a long, beautiful career touring the East Coast from Boston to Atlanta as a professional guitarist (Skip Castro Band, The Believers), I got my first full-time job at Crutchfield, where they actually pay me to write about one of my favorite subjects — car audio gear! It's now my mission in life to make people understand how much fun it is to have a first-rate sound system in your vehicle.

More from Charlie Pastorfield

I listen to music all day long at work, everything from Buck Owens to Rage Against the Machine. The idea of satellite radio appealed to me from the start, and the music I've heard on XM and SIRIUS has been light years better than I'd ever hoped for. A friend asked me the other day to name my favorite radio channels, and I didn't even have to think for a second to come up with my answer.

XM has some great channels, particularly Bluesville, The Joint, and Ethel. But if I had to choose two satellite radio channels to be marooned with on a desert island, I'd pick two SIRIUS stations - Underground Garage and Outlaw Country.

Underground Garage plays music with the garage band spirit from the 1950s through to the current day. By "garage band spirit," I mean music that still has the rough edges attached to it, music that reminds you of the excitement you felt when you first listened to rock'n'roll, no matter how old you are now. An hour-long set might include The Ramones, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Chiffons, Social Distortion, Dion and the Belmonts, The Strokes, The Hollies, Grateful Dead, Wilco, Them, The Pretenders, Link Wray, and Aimee Mann. You get the idea.

I love old style country & western, but recent popular country music leaves me colder than cold. Outlaw Country highlights an amazingly wide range of music, ranging from old country blues to modern-day alt country. If Underground Garage plays "dirty" music, then Outlaw Country's code word is "pure." A typical set might include Bill Monroe, Old 97s, Webb Pierce, NRBQ, Ryan Adams, Merle Haggard, Neko Case, Buffalo Springfield, Doug Sahm, Loretta Lynn, Son Volt, Poco, Moby Grape, Tom Petty, and Lucinda Williams - straightforward, uncomplicated stuff.

I don't want this to sound like an advertisement, but I can't help it. I frequently listen to these channels all day long, and I'm amazed every hour by something I haven't heard in years and something I've never heard before.

So what are your favorite satellite radio channels?

Try Sirius online for free  Try XM online for free

Ask an expert advisor

No pressure, no commission — just lots of good advice from our highly trained staff.

Find what fits your vehicle

 
 
 
 

Can't find your exact vehicle?