George Strait/ Dolly Parton/ Willie Nelson
Ebet Roberts/Redferns/ GAB Archive/Redferns/ Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The American Country Song Road Trip: The Best Tunes About Every State

Take the great American roadtrip with this playlist.

Country artists have been singing about home since the genre's beginning — returning home, leaving home, missing home, it's all part of the fabric of country music. So much so that some of country's best songs make reference to cities and towns across the United States. There's a great country song (many in some cases) about every state in the U.S.A. Sure, there's countless country tunes about Texas (George Strait alone is responsible for at least half a dozen), Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, but did you know there's a country song about Connecticut, Maryland and Rhode Island?

Below, we've rounded up over 50 songs that represent country singers' descriptions of America — one state at a time.

Here are the best country songs about every state.


"My Home's in Alabama," Alabama

Alabama (Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook), U.S. country music band, pose sitting on stools, circa 1980.. (

Photo by David Redfern/Redferns/Getty Images)

Cousins Teddy Gentry, Randy Owen and Jeff Cook told their own story about playing bars on the Alabama and Georgia line with their band's breakout hit. It began a trend of memorable Alabama singles that introduced a global audience to its home state's rich tradition of harmony-driven country music— a lineage that includes the Delmore Brothers and Louvin Brothers. Listen here.

— Addie Moore

"Alabama Pines," Jason Isbell

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JANUARY 07: Jason Isbell performs at City Winery Nashville on January 07, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images

Jason Isbell sings about his home state of Alabama in his 2011 tune, "Alabama Pines," from his album, Here We Rest, but the song is so much more than an ode to home. It is also an observation on the journey of adulthood, loneliness and the longing to return home. The song finds Isbell poetically describing his current state of disillusionment, having moved into a bleak room and even almost forgetting his own name due to being alone. He also touches on making mistakes in the past, losing a woman he loved and being stuck in a town where no one understands him. The hard life journey he finds himself on makes him want to escape, and he pleads for someone to take him home "Through those Alabama pines." The song is melancholy in nature, but it does demonstrate the power of home. Listen here.

— Grace Lenehan Vaughn


"North To Alaska," Johnny Horton

KINGSLAND, AR - MAY 1959: Country singer/songwriters Johnny Horton and Johnny Cash bait fish hooks in May 1959 in Kingsland, Arkansas.

KINGSLAND, AR - MAY 1959: Country singer/songwriters Johnny Horton and Johnny Cash bait fish hooks in May 1959 in Kingsland, Arkansas. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

This crossover hit sets the scene for a 1960 John Wayne northern (as opposed to western) film of the same title. One of its time period's top singers of toe-tapping songs delivers its story-driven lyrics, with a valuable assist by bass vocalist and rising gospel legend Rusty Goodman. Listen here.

— AM


"Ocean Front Property," George Strait


GAB Archive/Redferns

Ok, so this song may not actually be about Arizona, but you have to admit that it's one of the all time best to mention The Copper State. Written by Dean Dillon, Hank Cochran and Royce Porter, the song masks heartbreak with tongue-in-cheek humor delivered only as King George can. Listen here.

— Bobbie Jean Sawyer


"Arkansas," Chris Stapleton

Chris Stapleton

Christopher Polk/Variety via Getty Images

Prior to the official release of "Arkansas" in 2020, Stapelton had been playing the song in late 2019 at some of his live shows. The country singer would repeatedly explain to the crowd that the song was "born"thanks to his wife,  Morgane, who surprised him on his birthday. "It wasn't that long ago that I had a birthday, and I happen to like fast cars," he noted."So my wife bought me a fast car, but the fast car was in Oklahoma City, so me and JT back there on the bass got dropped off in Oklahoma City and we drove like a bat out of hell through the Ozark Mountains all the way to Nashville, Tennessee, and that's what this song is all about."

The lyrics call out several landmarks including Little Rock, Ozark Mountains, Fayetteville and White River. Listen here.

— Silke Jasso

"Arkansas Traveler," Norman Blake

You'll find this folk tune titled after the Land of Opportunity at the very beginning of country music. Eck Robertson and Henry Gilliland recorded it in 1922 during what's widely considered the first commercial recording session by country artists. Here, it's performed by Norman Blake, one of Georgia's most respected contributors to roots music.

— AM


"Streets of Bakersfield," Dwight Yoakam & Buck Owens

Dwight Yoakam and Buck Owens during Buck Owens in Concert - August 5, 1988 at Chicago Theater in Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Paul Natkin/WireImage

This somewhat obscure Homer Joy-penned '70s Buck Owens track skyrocketed in 1988, when Owens disciple Dwight Yoakam joined the country legend for this jaunt through the Golden State, featuring accordionist Flaco Jiménez. There's certainly no shortage of great songs about California, but this tale of a vagabond on his way back home doubles as a tribute to the Bakersfield Sound that made town the country music capital of the West. Listen here.

— BS


"Rocky Mountain High," John Denver

John Denver performs live at the Jaap Eden Hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands on July 08 1979

Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns

One of Colorado's state songs is fittingly this memorable folk tune from John Denver. The title track from his 1972 album was inspired by Denver's move to Aspen — almost a love letter to the state itself. He was so moved by the stunning mountains and beauty of the area, he spent a whopping nine months writing this song in honor of his new home. Though initially considered controversial due to the use of the word "high," Denver claimed that it had nothing to do with drugs, it was all about how moved he was by the peaceful calm he felt when he was in Colorado. Listen here.

— Courtney Fox


"First Ever Connecticut Country Song," Rusty Gear

There used to be even fewer songs about the Constitution State, considering that two of the better options for this playlist (Delbert McClinton's "Connecticut Blues" and this tongue-in-cheek selection) hitting streaming services in 2022. Rusty Gear's solution to a decades-old problem ("the great state where I spend most of my time/ has no country song because it's really hard to rhyme") required a hearty dose of Tom T. Hall-style humor that's equal parts sarcastic and sincere. Listen here.

— AM


"Dover," John Flynn


Folk singer-songwriter John Flynn honors the fallen men and women of the military on "Dover," singing "Oh big airplane/ bring 'em down easy, out of the Delaware sky/ Oh big airplane, Dover is waiting to welcome the fallen you fly." Listen here.

— BS


"Miami, My Amy," Keith Whitley

Country singer and songwriter Keith Whitley poses for and RCA Records publicity still in 1984.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Whether you've loved this song for years or gained a new appreciation for the Keith Whitley classic through its recent prominence on TikTok, you can't argue with the fact that "Miami, My Amy" captures the nostalgia of a summer romance and a steamy Florida love story. Listen here.

— BS


"Georgia On My Mind," Ray Charles

Ray Charles Performing

Jay Dickman/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Georgia native Ray Charles' 1960 recording of this Great American Songbook entry and Hoagy Carmichael original quickly became its definitive version. In 1979, Charles' gorgeous, majestic interpretation's renown made it a no-brainer for Georgia's official state song. Listen here.

— AM


"Hawaii," Old Dominion

Old Dominion

Jeremychanphotography/Getty Images

Following a memorable trip to Hawaii, Old Dominion felt compelled to write a Hawaiin-inspired country tune about the beautiful state. Highlighting the best parts of being a tourist on Hawaii's beaches, like drinking Mai Tai's and feeling like you're living straight out an Elvis movie, it's a memorable song about the ultimate vacation state. Listen here.

— CF

"The Music of Hawaii'i," Melveen Leed

This 1975 song really highlights all of the things that have turned Hawaii into the beloved tourist destination its become. From the friendly locals to the unique music, it somehow makes you feel right at home. They are passionate about their history and sharing it with all of their visitors, which is part of the charm. Listen here.

— CF


"Idaho," Reckless Kelly

Willy Braun of Reckless Kelly performs at Buckhead Theatre on March 25, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Chris McKay/WireImage


Though they've been a part of the Texas music scene since the mid-90s, Reckless Kelly formed in Stanley, Idaho. The band tributes the Gem State on "Idaho," a tender ode to returning home. Listen here.

— BS


"Long Hot Summer Days," John Hartford

 Photo of John HARTFORD

Andrew Putler/Redferns

There's no shortage of great songs about Illinois, from Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago" to Tom Waits' "Johnsburg, Illinois," but when it comes to country songs about the Prairie State, I'm always drawn to John Hartford's "Long Hot Summer Days." The "tow boat song," as Hartford called it, is a worker's anthem about, well, working through the dog days of summer. It's the perfect tribute to Illinois, name-dropping Pekin, Beardstown and Alton. You almost feel like you're floating down the Illinois River with him. If you can't get enough of this song, check out the great covers by Turnpike Troubadours and Sara Watkins. Listen here.

— BS


"Vincennes," Bobby Bare

Photo of Bobby BARE

Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns

Bobby Bare's 1966 album Streets of Baltimoreis a musical travelogue of sorts that passes through not just Maryland but also the Lone Star ("Houston"), Volunteer ("Memphis, Tennessee") and Wolverine ("Saginaw, Michgan") states. Listeners also visit "Vincennes," a town in Indiana that's upheld as an ideal alternative to the big city blues. Listen here.

— AM


"It Sure Can Get Cold in Des Moines," Tom T. Hall

 Photo of Tom T. Hall

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

One of the finest 20th century storytellers in any medium uses a bitterly cold winter in Iowa as a chilling analogy for this song off 1971's In Search of a Song— a rural travelogue of an album that's inspired by Hall's treks to and from his home state of Kentucky. Listen here.

— AM


"Kansas City Star," Roger Miller

American singer-songwriter Roger Miller (1936-1992) wearing a striped blazer over a white shirt with the collar open, location unspecified, 1964.

Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Both Kansas and Missouri can claim Roger Miller's jovial tale about a local, kid-friendly TV star of yore. Really, every city (except for Omaha, Neb. in this case) that can justify it should hinge its very identity on Miller's lighter-hearted material. Listen here.

— AM


"Coal Miner's Daughter," Loretta Lynn

American country music singer-songwriter Loretta Lynn, 1970. (Photo by Sylvia Pitcher/Redferns)

Sylvia Pitcher/Redferns

Loretta Lynn is synonymous with Kentucky and there may be no better tribute to Eastern Kentucky than Lynn's tale of poverty, perseverance and family than the country legend's autobiographical "Coal Miner's Daughter." Listen here.

— BS


"City of New Orleans," Willie Nelson

UNSPECIFIED - circa 1970: (AUSTRALIA OUT) Photo of Willie Nelson

Photo by GAB Archive/Redferns

Originally recorded by Steve Goodman in 1971, Willie Nelson recorded "City Of New Orleans" as the title track for his 1984 album, earning Goodman a posthumous Grammy Award. It was an easy No. 1 hit on the charts, covering one of the most storied cities in the country. Goodman, who wrote the song, was originally inspired by a train ride from Illinois down to the Big Easy. Listen here.

— CF

"Callin' Baton Rouge," Garth Brooks

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 04: Garth Brooks performs at The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize tribute concert at DAR Constitution Hall on March 04, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Shannon Finney/Getty Images

Between namedropping the home city of college sports juggernaut LSU (Louisiana State University) and being undeniably catchy when recorded by the likes of the Oak Ridge Boys, New Grass Revival and Garth Brooks, "Callin' Baton Rouge" was pretty much a shoo-in to become a more modern equivalent of Hank Williams' equally celebratory "Jambalaya." Listen here.

— AM


"King of the Road," Roger Miller

Posed portrait of American country singer Roger Miller (1936 Ð 1992) circa 1966

Archive Photos/Getty Images

One of country music's greatest humorists, Roger Miller, plays the role of a "man of means by no means," a boxcar-hopping troubadour who makes a stop in Bangor, Maine before moving on down the line. Listen here.

— BS


"Streets of Baltimore," Nanci Griffith and John Prine

Nanci Griffith

Photo Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Two of the greatest visionaries to ever call Nashville home, Tompall Glaser and Harlan Howard, co-wrote a true singer's song that got interpreted over the years by Bobby Bare, Gram Parsons and the Del McCoury Band. Its themes of heartbreak as well rural versus urban living sounded even more palpable when recorded in 1998 by the dream duo of Nanci Griffith and John Prine. Listen here.

— AM


"Boston," Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney performs in concert during "Trip Around The Sun" tour at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on May 26, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Country superstar Kenny Chesney may be closely tied to his beachy vibes, but he's been open over the years about his love for the city of Boston. He is known to stop there on tours and fully embraces all of its northeastern charm. "Boston" is all about a girl from the memorable New England city who loves everything from the Red Sox to flirting at the local bars. Listen here.

— CF


"Saginaw, Michigan," Lefty Frizzell

creepy country songs

GAB Archive/Redferns

One of the most gifted country vocalists to ever step in front of a microphone brought to life one of the best story-driven co-writes by the equally brilliant Bill Anderson. Covers of note include one by Bobby Bare for his map-hopping 1966 album Streets of Baltimore. Listen here.

— AM


"Minneapolis," Lucinda Williams

American country and folk singer musician Lucinda Williams performs at Central Park SummerStage, New York, New York, June 27, 1992. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

One of the greatest living singer-songwriters, Lucinda Williams has shared vivid descriptions of New Orleans, Lake Charles, Louisiana and more. On "Minneapolis," she shares the story of a "wasted, angry and sad" lover yearning for their long gone partner from the snowy Minnesota city. Listen here.

— BS


"Mississippi Girl," Faith Hill

Faith Hill performing on the VH1Diva's 2000: A Tribute to Diana Ross at the Theater at madison Square Garden, 4/9/00.

Getty images

With this John Rich co-write, Faith Hill promised that despite her success in Nashville and Hollywood, she never strayed from her Star, Miss. upbringing. Think of it as a 21st century equivalent of another song about home state pride: Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter." Listen here.

— AM


"New Madrid," Uncle Tupelo

MINNEAPOLIS - MARCH 20: Uncle Tupelo performs at First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 20, 1994. (Photo by Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Jim Steinfeldt/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hailing from Belleville, Illinois just a few miles from the Missouri border, Uncle Tupelo was primed to write a great song about the Show-Me State. They wrote the all-time best song about Missouri with "New Madrid," a tune that not only gives us a history lesson about the New Madrid earthquake, which, as the song says, really did cause the Mississippi River to run backwards for several hours, but also tells the fascinating tale of climatologist Iben Browning, who in 1990 predicted that there was a 50-50 chance that a "megaquake" would hit the New Madrid seismic fault zone in December of that year. ("There's a man with conviction/ And although he's gettin' old/ Mr. Browning has a prediction/ We've all been told," the band sings.) Thankfully, Browning was wrong, but his prediction did scare the hell out of Missourians. Regardless, "New Madrid" still stands as one of the all time greats. Listen here.

— BS


"Big City," Merle Haggard

CIRCA LATE 1960s: Country musician Merle Haggard performs on stage with Bonnie Owens during a late 1960's concert.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The second single (and title track) to his 1982 album, "Big City" laments the vigorous rat race and "these dirty old sidewalks" amidst a towering concrete jungle. After a conversation with tour bus driver Dean Holloway, Merle Haggard feverishly wrote out the lyrics as an ode to a simpler existence "somewhere in the middle of Montana," he yearns. "And give me all I've got coming to me / And keep your retirement / And your so-called Social Security / Big city turn me loose and set me free." Over steady-paced percussion, not unlike a bus' squealing tires, Haggard goes on to bemoan how he's "been working everyday since I was twenty / Haven't got a thing to show for anything I've done," while "there's folks who never work and they've got plenty." Despite the springy rhythm, the lyrics and fiddle lay bare the lonesomeness bleeding from his heart. Listen here.

— Bee Delores


"Omaha," Waylon Jennings

Photo of Waylon Jennings (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Nine of the 10 songs on Waylon Jennings' 1973 classic Honky Tonk Heroes were written or co-written by fellow Texan and rebel heart Billy Joe Shaver. Among them is "Omaha," a co-write with Tom T.'s brother, Hillman Hall. It's an all-too-relatable story about someone who left their hometown as fast as possible, only to learn that unchecked personal issues will follow them to a bigger city. Listen here.

— AM


"Ooh Las Vegas," Gram Parsons

Gram Parsons

Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Ah, Las Vegas. Sin City. Where people flock to casinos with dreams of hitting it rich but, more often than not, leave empty-handed. Gram Parsons expertly captures all of the mixed feelings this city can bring up, saying it "ain't no place for a poor boy like me." From making him a wreck at the casinos to leading to a long recovery at the hotel after the fact, it's definitely a party city that can sometimes wear you out. Listen here.

— CF

New Hampshire

"Leaving New Hampshire," Andy Leftwich

The quality of this fast-driving instrumental by bluegrass and gospel fiddle maestro Andy Leftwich makes up for the lack of quantity when it comes to songs about the Granite State. For the uninitiated, Leftwich is a four-time Grammy award-winning multi-instrumentalist. He's excelled as a member of Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder and the trio Three Ring Circle (with dobro player Rob Ickes and bassist Dave Pomeroy). Listen here.

— AM

New Jersey

"Walk Through the Bottomland," Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett

Getty Images

Leave it to the great Lyle Lovett to write one hell of a country story song about a New Jersey lady who falls in love with a rodeo cowboy and follows him across the country. Add in vocals from Emmylou Harris and you have one of the prettiest — and saddest —country tunes ever recorded. Listen here.

— BS

New Mexico

"New Mexico," Johnny Cash

ROTTERDAM, HOLLAND - JUNE 30: Johnny Cash performs on stage at the Nighttown in Rotterdam. Netherlands on June 30 1994.

Rob Verhorst/Redferns

"New Mexico," written by Leon Lambson and Johnny Johnson and recorded by Cash in 1964, was the 9th track off the Man in Black's The Original Sun Sounds of Johnny Cash. It also appears on the compilation album released in 2011, Bootleg Vol II From Memphis to Hollywood.

"We left the town of Griffin in the merry month of May/ When all the world was lovely and everything was gay/ With saddles on our horses, marching over we did go/ Until we reached the logging out in New Mexico," Cash sings. Listen here.

— SJ

New York

"Rhinestone Cowboy," Glen Campbell

1967: Singer Glen Campbell poses for a portrait wearing a gold suit in circa 1967.

Donaldson Collection/Getty Images

The title track from Glen Campbell's 1975 was a massive country and pop hit. Songwriter Larry Weiss had just moved his family from California to New York and was inspired to write a song about fulfilling the American dream in his exciting new state. As a kid, he loved singing cowboy films, featuring stars like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, who, to him, felt like "rhinestone cowboys." Initially, it wasn't a hit when he recorded it and released it in Australia, but Campbell heard it when he was on tour Down Under and turned it into his signature song. Listen here.

— CF

North Carolina

"Wagon Wheel," Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show Wagon Wheel

Laura E. Partain

Back in the early '70s, Bob Dylan wrote the chorus to what would become "Wagon Wheel." It wasn't until Old Crow Medicine Show's Ketch Secor added versus 25 years later that the song became a folk classic.

The song is all about a hitchhiking experience from New England down to Raleigh, traveling through Virginia with hopes of seeing a lover waiting down in North Carolina. Fans went wild when Darius Rucker performed this with Old Crow Medicine Show at the Grand Ole Opry and he released his own recorded version the following year in 2013. It's now become synonymous with both artists as well as the state of North Carolina. Listen here.

— CF

"Greensboro Woman," Townes Van Zandt

Photo of Townes Van Zandt

Photo of Townes Van Zandt Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

A defining songwriter of his generation, Townes Van Zandt paints a vivid picture about love and the temptations that lie elsewhere. The tender pitter-patter in the arrangement suggests the distance he plans on putting between where he is and "where my thoughts do lie." His voice is like a dove fluttering against the ping of finger cymbals and a guitar's downcast trickle. "For once is someone waitin' there, and if you don't mind, I'll just think on her instead," he sings in a sharp whisper. Found on 1971's High, Low, and In Between, "Greensboro Woman" perfectly captures the emotional give-and-take with a subdued yet overwhelming performance. Listen here.

— BD

North Dakota

"North Dakota," Lyle Lovett

Lyle Lovett

Aaron Rapoport/Corbis via Getty Images

Lyle Lovett's melancholy "North Dakota," from Joshua Judges Ruth, examines the caged emotions of men — in this case, those in North Dakota and Texas.

"The boys from North Dakota, they drink whiskey for their fun," Lovett sings, and you can practically feel the chill of the North Dakota wind. Listen here.

— BS


"Look at Miss Ohio," Gillian Welch

Gillian Welch at Farm Aid in Pittsburgh, Pa. on 9/21/02

Paul Natkin/WireImage

Gillian Welch's 2003 song "Look at Miss Ohio" covers the state of Ohio's participation on this list. Although the state name of Ohio is in the title, the song isn't so much about the state as it is about the tune's central character: a free-spirited woman simply referred to as "Miss Ohio." This name could be taken literally, as a woman actually from Ohio, or it could symbolize a woman who feels as if she must act perfect — like a pageant queen. Either way, the tune certainly describes the main character's desire to escape the norm of her life and be free to wander and make mistakes. She sings of driving to Atlanta in a ragtop convertible, and while she does eventually want to live life on course, she's not ready to do that quite yet. "I want to do right, but not right now," Welch sings. Listen here.

— GV


"Tulsa Time," Don Williams

Don Williams Songs

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of the best tunes about the Sooner State follows a dreamer bound for what he believes are greener pastures. But after trying his hand in Hollywood, he realizes he'd be better off in Tulsa. Can you blame him? Hearing Don Williams' smooth-as-silk voice over that easy groove is enough to make anyone pack up the Pontiac and cruise back to T-Town. Listen here.

— BS

"Okie From Muskogee," Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard at Veteran's Stadium for the first Farm Aid Concert in Champaign, Illinois.

Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Although country legend Merle Haggard hailed from California, he saluted the state of Oklahoma in his 1969 hit, "Okie From Muskogee." The song centers on the small Oklahoma city of Muskogee, but the tune's message goes beyond that, serving as a celebration of middle America. Written in a time when the Vietnam War was well underway, anti-war protesters were hitting the streets and drugs and hippies took over the West Coast, "Okie From Muskogee" showcases the other side of the coin: the traditional American citizens who didn't "smoke marijuana," take "trips on LSD" or burn their draft cards. The buttoned-up image Haggard portrays in the song is a tad ironic, but it's ultimately a song about being proud of who you are and where you're from. Listen here.

— GV


"Portland, Oregon," Loretta Lynn and Jack White

American country music singer and guitarist Loretta Lynn smiles as she looks at an unidentified person off-camera who holds a microphone, late 1970s. (Photo by Hope Powell/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Photo by Hope Powell/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


Though she's a proud Kentuckian, Loretta Lynn spent several years in the Pacific Northwest in Washington State. On this classic collaboration with Jack White from Van Lear Rose,the country queen and rocker raise a glass of sloe gin fizz to the City of Roses. Listen here .

— BS


"Philadelphia Lawyer," Maddox Brothers & Rose


GAB Archive/Redferns

The titular character in this murder ballad's infidelity with a cowboy in Reno, Nev.'s wife ultimately leads to one less shrewd lawyer from Pennsylvania. The Woody Guthrie original entered the country song canon through Maddox Brothers & Rose, a legendary family band from the genre's formative years that impacted the sound and look of popular music to come. Listen here.

— AM

Rhode Island

"The Last Resort," Eagles

Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Randy Meisner, Glenn Frey and Don Felder of the rock band "Eagles" pose for a portrait in 1977.

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

"She came from Providence/ One in Rhode Island" goes Don Henley's opening lines of Hotel California's closing track. It's a dreary, seven-and-a-half-minute opus that champions environmental awareness and condemns a history of destroying natural resources that dates back to America's earliest colonists. Listen here.

— AM

South Carolina

"South Carolina Low Country," Josh Turner

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 27: Singer/Songwriter Josh Turner performs during Daryle Singletary Keepin' It Country Tribute Show at Ryman Auditorium on March 27, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.

R. Diamond/Getty Images

Josh Turner's trembling bass bellows through the trees like a crisp autumn wind. "South Carolina, Low Country" honors not only his roots in the Southern state but an upbringing "singing all them bluegrass and country songs." Later, he continues, "I remember standing in the warm sunshine / Working my fingers to the bone / Singing as I suckered down that ole drag row." As much as the culture, music coursed in his veins for as long as he can remember and remains an unwavering part of his being. The songs, what he calls "South Carolina low country," are drenched in "Southern words with an old Sandlapper tune." Listen here.

— BD

South Dakota

"Rapid City, South Dakota," Kinky Friedman

AUSTIN, TEXAS - MARCH 16: Kinky Friedman attends "The Mojo Manifesto: The Life and Times of Mojo Nixon" Premiere during 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Stateside Theater on March 16, 2022 in Austin, Texas.

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW

Kinky Friedman has called "Rapid City, South Dakota" the first pro-choice country song. The song, later covered by Dwight Yoakam, follows a hitchhiker in a rush to leave Rapid City as he regretfully recounts leaving his pregnant girlfriend and tells himself that she'll be alright because of  "a doctor in Chicago."

"He said 'I hope she finds the goodbye letter that I wrote her, but the mail don't move too fast in Rapid City, South Dakota,'" Friedman sings. Listen here.

— BS


"Tennessee Mountain Home," Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton performs in the 1970s

Photo by Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

There's nothing better than basking in the sun on your front porch and taking in the scenery. With her 1973 song "My Tennessee Mountain Home," consummate songwriter Dolly Parton invites the listener to take a seat next to her and "watch the kids a' playin' with June bugs on a string, and chase the glowin' fireflies when evenin' shadows fall." A gentle arrangement nestles around her honeyed voice as light and warm as the summer sun's golden rays. "Walkin' home from church on a Sunday with the one ya' love / Just laughin', talkin', making future plans," she weaves a exhilarating tapestry of her country homestead. "And when the folks ain't lookin', you might steal a kiss or two / Sittin' in the porch swing, holdin' hands." Listen here.

— BD

"Rocky Top," The Osborne Brothers

Osborne Brothers at Club 47 Cambridge, US, 1963.

John Byrne Cooke Estate/Getty Images

There's no easier route to becoming a song that's synonymous with a state than gaining a stamp of approval from college football fans. Perfect example: fight song designation by the Tennessee Volunteers made "Rocky Top" more than one of the 1960s' best-known contributions to the bluegrass canon. Listen here.

— AM


"All My Ex's Live in Texas," George Strait

?-Country music legend George Strait headlines the country music festival held Saturday night at Edison Field. Other performers included Faith Hill, John Micheal Montgomery and Tim McGraw.

Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

I'd venture to guess there's no state as celebrated in country songs as Texas. From "Luckenbach, Texas" to "Waltz Across Texas" to the great Terry Allen's "Amarillo Highway," The Lone Star State is the subject of many classics — several of them recorded by King George himself. But perhaps no song better captures leaving the state (begrudgingly) than George Strait's "All My Ex's Live in Texas." Strait gives us a tour through Texas — and down memory lane — as he recalls his past loves, such as Rosanna in Texarkana, Eileen in Abilene, Allison in Galveston and Dimples in Temple. Listen here.

— BS

"Texas (When I Die)," Tanya Tucker

 Photo of Tanya Tucker

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

For many, one's home state is literal heaven on earth. "Texas (When I Die)," first recorded by Ed Bruce, served as the lead single to Tanya Tucker's 1978 album TNT. Having toured every inch of the country, nothing was able to "hold my attention" and "couldn't sing my song" quite like Texas. "If tomorrow finds me busted flat in Dallas, I won't care, 'cause at least I'll know I'm home," she prides. But even more, whenever her time comes to shake this mortal coil, she'll know she has a place in the afterlife ? if the pearly gates won't take her, that is "When I die, I may not go to heaven," she considers. "I don't know if they let cowboys in / If they don't just let me go to Texas, boys, 'cause Texas is as close as I've been." Listen here.

— BD


"Salt Lake City," Hank Williams, Jr.

CLARKSTON, MI - AUGUST 20: Hank Williams Jr. performs at DTE Energy Music Theater on August 20, 2016 in Clarkston, Michigan.

Scott Legato/Getty Images

Hank Williams Jr.'s "Salt Lake City" is the perfect anecdote about heartbreak.. The country singer sings of losing his lover and reminiscing on how she loved him in Salt Lake City.

"And think of all the times that she said that she loved me/ But that's just a memory in Salt Lake City," he sings.  "I should pack my things and go but my heart keeps saying no/ Someday she'll come back to me and Salt Lake City." Listen here.



"Moonlight in Vermont," Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson

Peter Pakvis/Redferns

Willie Nelson's label at the time, Columbia, was skeptical of the country icon's decision to record Stardust, a collection of American pop standards, such as "Georgia on My Mind," "Blue Skies" and "All of Me." As usual, Nelson had the right idea. The album, considered one of Nelson's best, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame class in 2015. "Moonlight in Vermont," the Red Headed Stranger's take on a '40s song written by John Blackburn and Karl Suessdorf, serves as an intoxicating tribute to the Green Mountain State. Listen here.

— BS


"My Old Virginia Home," The Carter Family

MACES SPRING, VA - JULY, 1972: A photograph of the pioneering musical group, The Carter Family, is on display at the Carter Family Museum near the musicians' birthplaces and homes in rural Maces Spring in Southwest Virginia. The Carter Family was a traditional American folk music group that recorded between 1927 and 1956. Their music had a profound impact on what would become known in later years as country and bluegrass music. The group consisted of Alvin Pleasant "A.P." Carter, his wife, Sara Carter, and his sister-in-law, Maybelle Carter.

Robert Alexander/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The Carter Family, the first family of country music, capture the ache of homesickness and the longing to return home on the 1800s folk tune "My Old Virginia Home."

"I'm a lad from old Virginia/ And I'm coming, coming home," they sing. "There I'll settle down forever/ In my old Virginia home." Listen here.

— BS


"Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues," Todd Snider

American singer Todd Snider in a posed portrait in view of the Arrigoni Bridge, 1996

Ebet Roberts/Redferns/Getty Images

Todd Snider pokes a little goodhearted fun at the Seattle grunge scene and the mad dash by record labels to capitalize on and ultimately exploit the genre on "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues." Listen here.

— BS

West Virginia

"Take Me Home, Country Roads," John Denver

Country musician John Denver performing on the set of The Muppet Show at Elstree Studios, Hertfordshire, circa 1979.

Photo by TV Times via Getty Images

"Take Me Home, Country Roads" was written by Bill Danoff, John Denver and Taffy Nivert. By far my personal favorite on the list, it was released by Denver in 1971, peaking at No. 2 on Billboard's US Hot 100 singles. The track became one of Denver's most popular songs, selling over 1.6 million digital copies in the US alone.

"Country roads, take me home/ To the place I belong," Denver sings. "West Virginia, mountain mama/ Take me home, country roads."

The song became a symbol for West Virginia, becoming one of the state's anthems in 2014. Listen here.

— SJ


"What's Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)," Jerry Lee Lewis

10th June 1958: The 'Killer', rock 'n' roll legend, singer and pianist Jerry Lee Lewis, in London whilst on tour.

Evening Standard/Getty Images

Jerry Lee Lewis and his right-hand musician, the versatile and prolific Kenny Lovelace, perfectly mirror some of the finest and most regretful drinking songs by country contemporaries with this honky-tonk send-up of Schlitz's advertising slogan, "the beer that made Milwaukee famous." Listen here.

— AM


"Beaches of Cheyenne," Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Garth Brooks delivered one of the most heartbreaking rodeo tunes ever recorded with "Beaches of Cheyenne," which centers on a devastated woman grieving the loss of her cowboy, who "drew a bull no man could ride" in Cheyenne.

"And all the dreams that they'd been living in the California sand, Died right there beside him in Cheyenne," Brooks sings.

— BS

"Lights of Cheyenne," James McMurtry

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 14: James McMurtry performs onstage during the 2022 Americana Honors & Awards at Ryman Auditorium on September 14, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee

Leah Puttkammer/Getty Images

One of music's best storytellers, James McMurtry shares a vivid tale of restlessness and desperation during a night in the Cowboy State, where time seems to stand still.

"She's got a cowboy problem and this last one's a sight/ All dressed up like Gunsmoke for Saturday night," McMurtry sings. "And they were off to the bars for lack of a plan/ Racing the stars to the lights of Cheyenne." Listen here.

— BS


READ MORE: A Country Music Fan's Guide to Texas: A Musical Road Trip Through the Lone Star State