Your Take: Top States for Country Music
Country singers tour them, name check them and hail from them. But which of the fifty states that make up the USA can lay claim to the “most country” of them all?
Over at the Country Standard Time, writer Mike Sudhalter has been counting down a list of the top states for country music. Last week, he announced the top ten: 10. Pennsylvania, 9. Mississippi, 8. Arkansas, 7. Missouri, 6. West Virginia, 5. Georgia, 4. Kentucky, 3. Oklahoma, 2. Tennessee and 1. Texas. You can also check out his top 11-20 and top 21-30.
The top two states are expected, but perhaps not in the order Sudhalter places them:
2.Tennessee Nashville is the center of commercial country music, and also the place where the Country Music Hall of Fame, Lower Broadway with all of its famous honky-tonks, the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium are located. The eastern half of the state – home to Dolly Parton – has Dollywood and Pigeon Forge. The Volunteer State makes an extremely strong case for the No. 1 overall state, BUT
1.Texas While country music may be a business in Tennessee, it’s a way of life in Texas. There are no other places with as many country music concerts, nightclubs, small town Opry shows and legends (George Strait, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Bob Wills). And it’s also the only state to have an independent country scene apart from Nashville. Texas Country, in some circles, is more popular than the mainstream country. It has cultivated its own history and heroes (Robert Earl Keen, Jerry Jeff Walker).
Do you agree with Sudhalter’s rankings and reasoning? Would Texas rank on the top of your list for similar reasons, would Tennessee take the top spot or would there be a dark horse?
And while you’re at it, what’s your favorite “state song”? “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” “Heads Carolina, Tails California,” “There Is No Arizona”? Let us know.
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