A few months back I decided to take on an experiment & see if I could take a musical trip across the country. I wanted to see if there were any songs written about each state. I figured a I would find a few & that would be it. I was completely shocked to find out that there was no state with fewer than 10 songs dedicated to various aspects of the state & there were a few states with many songs. California & New York have hundreds each. Illinois, Michigan & Louisiana are also well represented.
But, that makes it all the more interesting. So, I thought I would begin to share them over here. 1 song a day, each day a different state. Some of this stuff you may have heard, much of it I can guarantee that you have not. Many of the artists will be familiar & some will be way out in left field. There is jazz, country, pop, R&B, soul, blue grass, the blues, & on & on it goes.
I can tell you that I have enough of this stuff collected to last 4 - 5 years, but I may be dead before it is all shared.
I hope you all find something to like & I hope to see some comments....please.
So, let's begin with the state of Georgia & someone I know you are probably familiar with.
I don’t believe I ever met anyone that didn’t like this guy. What a great talent he was.
This song comes from his 1972 album called You Don’t Mess Around With Jim. This was also his big breakthrough album that gave us the hit singles You Don’t Mess Around With Jim, Operator & Time In A Bottle. The album went to #1 as did the single Time In A Bottle.
Jim & 4 others were killed in a plane crash on September 20, 1973. This was the day before they released his single, I Got A Name. Jim was just 30! Just imagine the great music we missed out on by his early departure.
This is another one of those bands that I had always heard of, but don’t remember ever actually hearing. But, after listening to this song I explored others from them & I really like what I hear.
They are a rock band from Waukesha Wisconsin. The members of the group were high school classmates.
This song comes from their 5th album called Go Slow Down released in 1993. The great producer T. Bone Burnett produced it for them. This album also contained their only Top 40 hit, Closer to Free, which was used as the theme song for the TV show Party Of Five.
I suppose I don’t have to tell anyone who these folks are, so….
This was the 16th & final album by the family, released in 1989. It was also the only one that didn’t include Michael & Marlon who had both departed for other shores, but still sang on this song.
They had a lot of writing & producing help on the album, but this particular song was written & produced by the family themselves. It is a nice look at the entire family, perhaps the most famous family to come from Indiana?
Two of the industries greatest talents got together to give us a double album called One for The Road. It came out in 1989 & was recorded in Leon's new facility in Paradise Studios in Burbank, California. The album contains 20 cover songs of varying ages & genres.
This particular song was written by Dick Thomas & Ray Freedman back in 1945. The original release came as a Country single for Dick Thomas & it spent 4 weeks at #1.
Gene Autry sang this title song in the movie with the Cass County Boys, the first film he made after leaving military service at the end of World War II, in 1946.
Bing Crosby had a #3 pop hit with his version in 1946 which became the highest position the song ever achieved on the pop chart.
We make a stop in Kansas today & hear a song from Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. The New Yorker magazine describes their music like this : “ the duo combines elements of Appalachian music, bluegrass, country and Americana, it is described as "at once innovative and obliquely reminiscent of past rural forms.”
The duo perform & write together & David also leads a band called The Dave Rawlings Machine which has been known at times to include Led Zeppelin bass player John Paul Jones sitting in on mandolin.
They have won multiple Awards as both performers & song writers including Grammys, ACM & CMA awards, International Blue Grass Awards & Americana Music Honors.
The list of folks they have collaborated with goes on & on, but includes Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Ryan Adams, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, the Decemberists, Sam Phillips, Conor Oberst, Ani DiFranco, and Robyn Hitchcock.
Gillian wrote this song. It was previously unreleased on any album but was included on a 2002 album called The Revelator. In 2009, the album was ranked #7 on Paste's "The 50 Best Albums of the Decade" list. It was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. This performance was recorded at the Cat's Cradle in Carrboro, North Carolina on November 10, 2001.
I don't know if anyone ever even sees these things, but I keep trying...
We are 11 days late for this song about the Kentucky Derby, but it is a good one anyway.
The song comes from the 7th album by Dan Fogelberg called The Innocent Age & released in 1981. The song hit #18 on the charts, but the album also contained hit singles Hard To Say, Same Old Lang Syne & Leader Of The Band & they all went top 10. So, putting all that together on one album makes for a pretty successful release.
The song was commissioned by ABC for its telecast of the 106th running of the Derby in 1980, and premiered on the network's Derby preview special the night before. Dan stated that it was written in two days. Genuine Risk won the Derby that year. She was just the 2nd filly to win the race with the 1st one happening 65 years earlier.
Dan was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May 2004 & passed away at home in Maine in December 2007 at the age of 56. He left us a legacy of some really beautiful music.
Louisiana is one of the top 5 states to have songs dedicated to it, mostly due to the love of New Orleans. But, today we take a brief visit to the city of Thibodaux.
Marcia Ball is an American blues singer and pianist raised in Vinton, Louisiana. Her music is described by The Boston Globe as "an irresistible celebratory blend of rollicking, two-fisted New Orleans piano, Louisiana swamp rock and smoldering Texas blues .
This song comes from her 10th solo album called Presumed Innocent & released in 2001. The album was awarded "Contemporary Blues Album of the Year" in 2002. The same year she also won "Contemporary Blues Artist of the Year-Female."
Here is another band that I had never heard before, but as I was collecting all these songs, they appear a few times in songs dedicated to various states. They are an American rock band led by singer-songwriter Will Sheff, formed in Austin, Texas, in 1998.
This song comes from their 2nd album called Down The River Of Golden Dreams, released in 2003. The album got really positive reviews with mostly 4 & 5 * ratings across many platforms.
The group has toured with such acts as The Decemberists, The New Pornographers, The National, and Lou Reed.
In 2010 they were the backing musicians for psychedelic rocker Roky Erickson on his 2010 album True Love Cast Out All Evil. Will Sheff also produced that album.