50 States of Song Part 4: New Mexico to South Carolina
When I was in third grade I learned all 50 states in alphabetical order thanks to a catchy tune. Now I'm hoping to stick that bit of trivia in your heads just in time for the new school year by celebrating each state with an appropriate song all this week.
New Mexico: Heather Nova, "Out in New Mexico"
You know how beautiful New Mexico can be? Here's Heather Nova, a woman born in the island paradise of Bermuda, who pictures the state when she wants to imagine a place of peace for her soul. What could top that endorsement?
New York: The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl, "Fairytale Of New York"
You might think it's a sort of depressing, and yeah, it is, but I always feel better when I hear the Pogues' and their ode to Christmas in New York City, even with all the alcoholism and cursing.
Fun fact: Despite the lyrics talking about an NYPD choir, there actually isn't one, a fact the band found out when they invited said fictional choir to perform in the video. The NYPD offered their Pipe and Drum Corps instead. They didn't know the song "Galway Bay," so they played the theme from The Mickey Mouse Club instead, and the footage was slowed during editing to match the speed of the video.
North Carolina: Melissa Ferrick, "North Carolina"
Ferrick was one of those artists that rose to prominence in the '90s, and then dropped out as the Lilith Fair set was rolled back. It's a shame because she is a hell of a free-form singer-songwriter, one that could give Patti Smith a run for her money. This track is more about coming apart at the seams than a tribute to the state, but since North Carolina has kind of been a backwards-ass regressive state lately, I thought it was appropriate.
North Dakota: Lyle Lovett, "North Dakota"
I fell back in love with Lyle after hearing his rendition of "I Will Rise Up/Ain't No More Cane" on True Blood, which may be one of the greatest modern folk song recordings of all time.
Lovett's ability to draw you in with his masterful voice is uncanny. "North Dakota" is another love song, but I also like its message of peace over violence, and hint of forgiveness.
More fun with states on the next page.