Take a Trip Through the States with Songs for Arkansas—America’s Songbook

Every state across the country has its own type of music that makes it what it is. In a multi-part series, American Songwriter will take a look at each of the 50 states and the music that emanates from each of the various and unique landscapes.

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Next stop: Arkansas

Soybeans, rice, and music are some of Arkansas’ biggest exports. The sounds of the state are as varied as its terrain – rugged as the mountains, smooth as the river valleys, steady as the land that gave life to artist and song.

[RELATED: Take a Trip Through the States with Songs for Alabama—America’s Songbook]

Making up America’s Songbook, here is a playlist of songs for Arkansas about the state and by the statesmen.

1. “Didn’t It Rain” – Sister Rosetta Tharpe

“The Godmother of Rock and Roll,” Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas where she was encouraged to sing and play guitar at a very young age. An instant musical prodigy, her style of electric gospel blues went on to influence early rock musicians, including Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and more.

2. “Arkansas Lovin’ Man” – Johnny Cash

I’m a natural actual real authentical Arkansas lovin’ man, boasts Johnny Cash’s “Arkansas Lovin’ Man.” The song was written by native Nebraskan, Red Lane, but Cash delivers the tune as a natural actual real authentical Arkansas lovin’ man.

Cash was born in Kingsland, Arkansas. The country legend’s early years were filled with gospel music, radio tunes, and singing in the cotton fields as he and his family worked the land.

3. “Mary Queen of Arkansas” – Bruce Springsteen

Even a die-hard New Jerseyan like The Boss has a ditty about the state.

Mary queen of Arkansas / It’s not too early for dreamin’ / The sky is grown with cloud seed sown / And a bastard’s love can be redeeming, Springsteen’s Dylan-esque lyrics are nearly nonsensical, but detail the Queen of Arkansas against rich country acoustics.

[RELATED: Take a Trip Through the States with Songs for Arizona—America’s Songbook]

Playlist for Arkansas

“Tired of Being Alone” – Al Green

“Didn’t It Rain” – Sister Rosetta Tharpe

“Mary Queen of Arkansas” – Bruce Springsteen

“Arkansas Lovin’ Man” – Johnny Cash

“Let Me Love You” – Ne-Yo

“Arkansas State Prison” – Bobby Wommack

“Arkansas” – Jimmy McCracklin

“Goin’ Back to Arkansas” – Big Bill Broonzy

“Little Rock” – Hayes Carll

“Sweet Southern Comfort” – Buddy Jewell

“Arkansas Line” – Elvin Bishop

“Love Is Everywhere” – Pharoah Sanders

“Bring Me To Life” – Evanescence

“Arkansas” – Glen Campbell

“Arkansas Killing Time” – The Pine Box Boys

“Arkansas Heat” – Gossip

“They Caught the Devil and Put Him in Jail in Eudora, Arkansas” – Tony Joe White

“The Lord God Bird” – Sufjan Stevens

“The Weight” – The Band

“Let the Good Times Roll” – Louis Jordan

Photo by Gettyimages.com

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