Once upon a time, I almost moved to Nebraska. Glad I didn’t for a number of reasons. There’s beauty here, sure, but I’ll let the songs do the heavy lifting while we drive.
Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln Nebraska (1967): I saw John Prine in concert four months before he died. He played this song along with several others from the elegiac album, Tree of Forgiveness. At the end of the concert he danced like a crazy man, like a man who had lived a full and interesting and charmed life. He danced his way off stage. That’s how I prefer to think of him. The imagery in this song, delivered with the sparse, blunt phrases of Prine (“your slicked-back oil creamed hair and your daddy’s fine-toothed comb), makes it a perfect scene-setter.
Turn the Page: Bob Seger paints a lonely, bitter-cold picture of being just east of Omaha. So maybe this one would be more appropriate under the Iowa playlists. Doesn’t matter. Bob is awesome, if for no other reason than he didn’t stiff the backing band at Muscle Shoals like that bastard, Paul Simon.
Nebraska: I had never heard of Jillian Rae prior to our stays/breakdowns/drunken weekends with our Happy Productions friends in Minnesota. Then, I was hanging out in the studio and this song came on. Do yourselves a favor and give this song a listen, then listen to the rest of her playlist.
I Shall be Free No. 10: An early Dylan tune, back when his sense of humor was more playful, more whimsical. He has some great lines (including a reference to Barry Goldwater) that evoke images. The qualifying line from this ditty: I’m gonna ride into Omaha on a horse / Out to the country club and golf course. Sure, Bob.