Take a Trip Through the States with Songs for Kansas—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: Kansas

Kansas is more than just the sum of its prairies, sunflowers, and Wizard of Oz references. The state has been the inspiration for some great music and even greater music makers.

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

1. “Home on the Range” – Roy Rogers

An unofficial anthem of the West, the cowboy classic “Home on the Range,” was born in Kansas. The famous tune began as a poem, titled “My Western Home.” It was written by Dr. Brewster M. Higley of Smith County around the 1870s.

Kansas adopted “Home on the Range” as the state song in 1947.

2. “Tightrope” – Janelle Monáe

Born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, Janelle Monáe learned to sing in her local Baptist church. It was there that sound found musical influence in everything from The Wizard of Oz to the works of Stevie Wonder.

3. “Belexes” – Kansas

The band Kansas was in fact from Kansas. The Topeka-formed outfit actually began as a coming together of other failed local bands. Together, they formed a rock ensemble that would become inseparable from its namesake.

Playlist for Kansas

“Belexes” – Kansas

“Independence Day” – Martina McBride

“Wichita Lineman” – Glen Campbell

“Confirmation” – Charlie Parker

“Life’s Been Good” – Joe Walsh

“One’s On The Way” – Loretta Lynn

“Tightrope” – Janelle Monáe

“Kansas Rain” – John Stewart

“You’re Not in Kansas Anymore” – Jo Dee Messina

“I’m the Only One” – Melissa Etheridge

“Ice Cold Katy” – Hattie McDaniel

“Wichita Skyline” – Shawn Colvin

“Ringing in the Year” – Turnpike Troubadours

“Sober” – Tool

“Home on the Range” – Roy Rogers

“Sunflower” – Russ Morgan

(Photo Gettyimages.com)

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