Playlist: Ohio

Pit stop at home for a few days and we need some songs to keep things moving even while we’re cooling our heels.

My City was Gone: Leaving Ohio, feeling like the world is slipping out from under your feet. That’s what it’s like to point our van east and punch the gas. 

Look at Miss Ohio: A ton of people have covered this one, but for me the definitive version belongs to Gillian Welch. Years ago, I was in a dark place. I knew something wasn’t right with my life. Now I call it large scale sadness. It’s akin to depression; sort of living next door to it. Just an uneasy feeling, like your life got on a train and rode away and left the luggage of your body standing on the platform. My buddy, Alan, called me up and said he had tickets to see Gillian Welch and David Rawlins playing together at the Taft Theatre in Cincy. I was teaching an adjunct English class at the time (another distraction, another fix that wouldn’t work) and he picked me up after I was done teaching for the evening. We talked and ate dolmas and sushi and saw the most transcendent performance that night. It didn’t solve anything, but I had glimpses of clarity and I knew my life was going to change in the next short while and that it would be hard. And now, this song… it just resonates.

Mr. Tanner: Harry Chapin is known for his downer story songs. This one is a whole lotta melancholy—about a shopowner from Dayton, Ohio, who tries his hand at big-time singing and fails rather publicly. Big John, Chapin’s back-up baritone singer, is who really makes this song with a slow, low version of “Fall on Your Knees.” 

You’re Gonna Make me Lonesome When You Go: How does someone from Ohio not immediately go to this song for an obscure reference to the heart of it all? The last city you’ll hit if you’re heading out of the northeast corner, it boasts both the shortest and longest covered bridges in the USA. 

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