If you're anything like Rocks Off, you've been marking off the days on your calendar until you could let loose and celebrate Wyoming Statehood Day this coming Sunday.
OK, so that's a lie, but here at Rocks Off we do enjoy the lesser known-holidays and putting together playlists to honor them like we did for World Rabies Day and National Bird Day. So to that end we've cobbled together what music we could to honor the day Wyoming became our 44th state.
Before we started, literally everything we knew about Wyoming came from a Garfield and Friends episode where Garfield explained that Wyoming is a French word that means "No state here." Apparently a French mapmaker used it to mark an empty spot in America. "Think about it," said Garfield, "have you ever actually met anyone from Wyoming?"
Stupid Wikipedia shot this long-held childhood fancy of ours to bits, as well as the last of Garfield's declining credibility. Apparently Wyoming is pretty groovy, especially if you're into women's rights. It was the first state to enact women's suffrage, had the first woman justice of the peace, and the first female governor. It's also home of most of Yellowstone National Park, Jackson Pollock was born there, and is rocking 7.6 percent unemployment right now, almost half a point ahead of Texas.
So shine on you crazy, bison-populated diamond. Here's the mixtape we made you.
John Denver, "Song of Wyoming"
When you think of the soft, beautiful glory of the middle of America's landscape, you can usually count on the late John Denver to have the perfect song to accompany that image. "Song of Wyoming" appeared on his 1975 album Windsong, which if you ask us is an album only topped by the time he sang with the Muppets.
George Strait, "I Can Still Make Cheyenne"
Chances are that Cheyenne is the only city in Wyoming you can name, and we're willing to bet it's because George Strait
wrote sang this song. Rodeo is the state sport of Wyoming, and many country stars have written heartbroken songs about the damages that chasing the dreams of glory does to the dreamer and their loved ones. If you want a modern take we recommend Harvey Danger's "Sad Sweetheart of the Rodeo," but it's hard to top Strait when it comes to pure country.
Roy Zimmerman, "Dick Cheney"
The list of famous Wyomingites isn't one in which a whole lot of names pop out. You've got Jackson Pollock, Buffalo Bill and a whole lot of politicians. But nestled amongst lesser men is the one and only Dick Cheney, who represented the state in Congress for ten years before moving to being Secretary for Defense and later the vice-presidency. Political satirist Roy Zimmerman wrote this little love song to Cheney, and it is sweet as light crude oil.
Holly Dunn, "Why Wyoming"
We never understood why Holly Dunn didn't get bigger after "Daddy's Hands." She was one of the last of the old-school-style country stars before the pop-country divas took over. Like Strait, Dunn sings a song about losing a cowboy to the siren call of the Equality State.
Valient Thorr, "Triceratops"
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
The state dinosaur of Wyoming is the Triceratops, one of the most noble and recognizable of all dinosaurs. Valient Thorr has an awesome song called "Triceratops" off the album Legend of the World, and unfortunately no one has put it up on YouTube. However, you can hear the song on MySpace.
In case you were wondering, Texas' state dinosaur is Paluxysaurus Jonesi. Yeah, we were underwhelmed too. Sure it's a sauropod, but if you can't get brontosaurus or diplodocus, it's basically like booking Dannii Minogue.