Friday Five: Reno

Ken Morton, Jr. | November 2nd, 2012

The “Biggest Little City in the World” is known today more for casinos. Country music knows it still for being a key piece to the wild frontier. Perhaps that’s partially because the Reno Brother Gang (no relation to the city) pulled off the first train robbery. Even today, the history of red light districts, brothels, shoot-outs, ghost towns, silver strikes and cowboy/Indian conflicts all help define the city. Here are just a few of our favorite songs that mention Reno.

5. Jason Eady – “Promises In Pieces”

This great story-song tells the sad tale of the protagonist getting away with the shooting of a Wells Fargo bank teller, and then having his friend take the fall for it.

4. Doug Supernaw – “Reno”

Off of Red and Rio Grande, this 1993 single made it up to #4 on the charts.

3. Waylon Jennings – “Reno and Me”

Jennings had this little-heard gem on his 1990 album, The Eagle. It’s co-written by Kevin Welch.

2. Dottie West – “Reno”

This 1968 single was a Top 20 hit for the beautiful Dottie West.

1. Johnny Cash – “Folsom Prison Blues”

“I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.” There could be no bigger lyric in all of country music.

  1. Barry Mazor
    November 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Also good: “Reno, Nevada,” as done by early Fairport Convention (you can see that on You Tube) or in its original version by the guy who wrote it, Richard Farina, as heard here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YiYTDqoO3TQ

  2. Occasional Hope
    November 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I *love* that Jason Eady song.

  3. Jon
    November 2, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    Really? No “Reno Bound?” No “Philadelphia Lawyer?”

  4. Barry Mazor
    November 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Ok; good point! Here’s the Maddox Bros & Rose with Woody Guthrie’s Reno-based “Philadelphia Lawyer”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNK66cgkcIc

  5. luckyoldsun
    November 2, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    “ ‘I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.’ There could be no bigger lyric in all of country music.”

    And why Johnny Cash is sitting in a California State Prison in for shooting a man in Nevada is one of those great mysteries of life!

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