The analysis of states and their musical equivalents continues, but I must throw out some thank you’s before moving ahead. The Snob and Trask have offered some great alternatives to my choices, and I appreciate their input. You can find their favorites at One, Two, Three – Turn it Up.
New Mexico – This is one of my favorite states, and I will be heading into “The Land of Enchantment” in a few weeks. There is a different feeling that comes over me when I cross its state line and wanted to find a song that embraced that feeling. I am not sure that I found it with Michael Hearne’s “New Mexico Rain” because I’ve never really seen it rain there.
New York – Countless songs have been written about New York, but most of them are about the city and not the state. However, that really isn’t the point of this project. Songs do not have to be ABOUT the state. They only need to be named for the state. With that in mind, I choose a song from my iPod called “New York’s Not My Home”. Jim Croce’s song does not provide a positive view of New York, but that really isn’t the point, either.
North Carolina – Do you realize how many songs have been written about Carolina? They are everywhere. After a long search, I finally found “North Carolina Line” by Gene Vincent. Weirdly, it’s more about Norfolk, Virginia.
North Dakota – Another state that provided a difficult search, North Dakota does not lend itself to easily penned songs. It’s a good state and provides a lot more enjoyment that most may realize, but the only decent song I could find is Lyle Lovett’s “North Dakota”. Please allow me to apologize for creating a list with Lyle Lovett on it.
Ohio – With the first state in the alphabet, Alabama, I used a song that replied to a song by Neil Young. With Ohio, I use a Neil Young song…well, a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song. “Ohio”, one of the most famous protest songs, was inspired by the tragic shooting of protesters at Kent State University.
Oklahoma – There’s a musical. There are cowboy songs. Then, there is a native son, Leon Russell, singing about “Home Sweet Oklahoma”.
Oregon – “Portland, Oregon” is the result of one of the coolest collaborations I know of. Jack White, who owns a record store in Nashville, teamed up with Loretta Lynn, “the Queen of Country Music”, to create an award-winning body of work. I know it seems weird, but it sounds great.
Pennsylvania – Remember when I said that a song does not have to be ABOUT the state. This pick is a great example of that. “Pennsylvania 6-5000″ is named for the phone number of a New York hotel. It is a classic by the Glenn Miller Orchestra. For those who may not know, Glenn Miller’s plane was shot down during World War II and was never found.
Rhode Island – I was hoping to go with the theme song from Family Guy, but my efforts were thwarted. If it hadn’t been for those meddling kids I would have gotten away with it. Instead, I went with “Exeter, Rhode Island” by Jennifer O’Conner.
South Carolina – South Carolina provides the same complications as North Carolina. Everybody wants to sing about Carolina and not specify which one they are talking about. Perhaps, it would have been easier if the colonies/states had never developed separately in the first place. With that in mind, the Outlaws recorded “South Carolina”.
That’s it for forty states. I’ll be back next time with the last ten. Until then, remember what they say down at the fire hall. Always shake off your hose before you roll it back up.