Wyoming to the Dakotas



We leave John Denver and those Wild Montana Skies and come south with him and Song of Wyoming (some great pictures of the wilderness in the video).

Not many songs that include our next state in the title but I found this song from Marty Robbins about a cowboy: Utah Carol

Townes Van Zandt is leaving his home state and coming up to Denver: the Mile High City to search for his Colorado Girl.

As we head south we’re still in the ‘mountain states’ with Iron and Wine’s New Mexico’s No Breeze.

Not surprisingly the ‘biggest state in the union’; aghh Texas isn’t the biggest state in the union, that accolade goes to our first stop off: Alaska, thanks for your post last week Ali that confirmed that Anchorage is in the biggest state in the union, well there you go posting on The Spill is educational. It doesn’t stop it having it’s fair share of songs sung about it and a great number of musicians were born there (Townes for one). Townes’ good friend and fellow Texan Guy Clark sings about Texas Cookin’.

Need to head north again and our next stop off is Oklahoma, which supposedly has one of the highest incidences of tornado strikes each year so not surprising Bruce’s Oklahoma Home has been blown away!

Perhaps that tornado has lifted his house up and dropped it in the neighbouring state of Kansas, anyone want a pair of red shoes? Something a bit different now from The Shangri-Las and The Train From Kansas City.

There’s only one place that train is going and that’s Nebraska, Bruce did a whole album but we’ve already had one from Bruce so how about another of Townes and Guy’s friends: Steve Earle singing the title track from that album.

There’s been lots of ‘country style’ music across these states so let’s have something a bit different from the Bee Gees as we arrive for a South Dakota Morning.

We finish this leg of our trip across the USA in North Dakota with another country singer Lyle Lovett.

That’s been a very country oriented playlist this week; next week’s going to be very different with some metal and early American punk and we might even reach Tennessee.


22 thoughts on “Wyoming to the Dakotas

  1. I promise to propose an alternate choice of roads to travel down again, Leavey, but it could be a while. I’m frantically doing domestic jobs ahead of leaving for a short Scotland trip later today.

    • Morning DsD, your input is always welcome and thanks for taking the time. Nice to get an alternative route.

      Is trip business or pleasure, hope it goes well either way.

      • Bit of both AND neither. Got an interview in Glasgow tomorrow, but the job is temporary and I suspect underpaid, given how expensive all accommodation options will be in that area this summer! And I thought I’d cut the journey by staying with friends near Carlisle tonight. Sadly that bit now won’t be much fun: friend’s sister died suddenly this week.


  2. Here’s a weird co-incidence. I just put Nebraska on the turntable and sat back to open up the Spill. As the page opened and I saw the word Wyoming, Bruce said it at exactly the same time as my eyes read it….it kind of freaked me out!

    Will have a listen once I’m done with Nebraska…

  3. Brings back a few memories as I did an M.A. in American History and spent seemingly interminable hours researching the nooks and crannies of The Populist Party who had some brief late nineteenth century strength in this part of the U.S. continent and for some reason, long obscure, piqued my interest. Loved the Shangri-Las, very moody.

    • “I did an M.A. in American History”

      did you really. You then most likely know more about the history of my country than i do, i’ve always found European and world history more fascinating. Here as schoolkids, we tend to get a broad overview of US history and a lot of state /local/ regional history, then we move on to Europe and world history in high school.

      I was a schoolkid in NJ, so the northeast and mid-Atlantics was the history i got in school, but a couple decades ago took a train from San Francisco to Boston. We had a historian on board with us from SF to Reno to talk us through the history of the area we were passing through. Was absolutely fascinating, i had no idea about the large majority of it.

      • Hi Amylee, glad you find the past fascinating. l I cycle regularly through nearby villages, Austerfield (in South Yorkshire) and Scrooby (in Nottinghamshire), from whence came respectively William Bradford, and the so-called Scrooby Congregation, about 20 religious dissidents many of whom also made it to Massachusetts escaping the religious reforms of James I (Scrooby has a pub, ‘The Pilgrim Fathers’). Bradford is a major figure, Governor of the Plymouth Colony several times and author of a journal which is the most authoritative account of the settlement of the colony. All this ends to give me a strong sense of what is essentially shared history. Does the American school curriculum include any study of the religious and political upheavals here, that caused Bradford and co to head for the door? I guess too that you will have had a good dollop of The American Revolution in your NJ classroom, which might have seemed a bit dry in your salad days, it would have in mine!

      • We got plenty of Revolutionary and Civil War (i was just across the bridge from Philly). And yep, i reckon there was plenty about religious and political upheaveals – the Pilgrims and the Shakers and the Quakers all made it over here in the early days too. My recently escaped from state was RI – founded by Roger Williams, diehard proponent of the separation of church and state, who bailed out of both the CoE and Massachusetts due to religious diffficulties.

    • Totally jolly, brought a smile to my face. Thanks for popping in. Seems The Spill is becoming quite educational, see posts above.

      • It’s good when people go off topic, makes the whole thing more interesting and is quite like the old days … (lights pipe, pats dog and warms slippers by the fire) … I never made it past Victorian history at school, my main memory is of going to sleep in my history lessons. I think it was the teacher, rather than the topic, as I find social history fascinating.

  4. Fine research, Leavey. Only thing i can think to add off of the top of my head is something from Jewel who is from Alaska. Toni Tenielle was (is?) the cultural ambassador for Wyoming, there might maybe be something there. Colorado Rocky Mountain High, of course (and they’re rocking a better legal high these days in the Rockies). Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Texas Flood, so awesome i feel compelled to put a link here.

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  6. Whilst we’re still relatively north and west, DsD fave songwriter Willy Vlautin is always a good first call to look for location-based songs. So my alternative rally starts with:

    Richmond Fontaine – Laramie, Wyoming, which is a beautifully sad tale with a simple acoustic guitar tune.

    Moving on, Utah is, amongst other things, the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, i.e. the Mormons. So let’s get some 70s cheesy-[grin]-rock with those toothy family smilers, The Osmonds – Crazy Horses.

    Any mention of the late Warren Zevon yet? From Colerado, we can have Things To Do In Denver When You’re Dead, which is rather more upbeat than the excellent film of the same name.

    I’m going to cheat with New Mexico in order to vary the sounds nominated; let’s have Jah Wobble – New Mexico Dub.

    Ah, Texas. All those jokes and clichés about its size. OK, I’ll use that as an excuse to justify two songs instead of one, both – unusually – attempting some infusion of self-deprecating humour.
    Lyle Lovett – That’s Right (You’re Not From Texas)
    and, from the Tarantino/Rodriguez flick From Dusk Till Dawn
    Jon Wayne – Texas Funeral.

    I have an ace rocker as a counter to Broooce:
    The Deep Vibration – Oklahoma City Woman Blues.
    Wonder if I’ll find that on YT?

    Can I be forgiven just a little border-blurring in order to shoehorn in a double-scorer?
    Kansas – Cheyenne Anthem
    After all, the original native Americans had no such formal borders, so the Cheyenne certainly had much of Kansas in their territory.

    Up into Nebraska now, whose largest city is sung about by another DsD fave:
    Damian Jurado – Omaha

    Typing ‘Dakota’ into my music collection as a wordsearch is a nightmare because of all the Dakota Suite I own, none of which is relevant in this context.
    So for the more southern of the two states, let’s have:
    Buffy Sainte-Marie – Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee
    but for the northern version< I'm really struggling (and have to go out in a minute), so let's stretch a coincidental name to breaking point:
    Bruce Springsteen – Badlands.

    Bit of a weak finish there, but what the hell: after all those miles, I’m tired!

    Off out now; back later.

      • Don’t put yourself out, Leavey, you may find it more trouble than its worth. I had a go myself but gave up with how hard it was to find some of the songs on YT.

        I can Drop both last- and this-week’s DsD routes as playlists into the ‘Box if you want?

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