The United States of Songs continues rolling right along, and the end is in sight! We've made our way all the way down to Virginia in our quest to find a perfect song for each state, so let's recap the rules to fill some space: the song must have the state in the title, and the song must be about the WHOLE state, not just a city or feature. With that said, let's tackle the Mother of Presidents!
The state: Virginia
The song: "Sweet Virginia Breeze" by The Robbin Thompson Band
Disclaimer: there are a lot of WAY better songs for Virginia, but too many of the ones I found strayed into the "Virginia as a woman's name" territory, which of course broke my own arbitrary-yet-binding rules. Virginia doesn't actually HAVE a state song right now; they ditched their old one, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny," in 1997 when, I guess for the first time, someone noticed a minstrel singing sarcastically about longing for the days of slavery wasn't the best image for the state tourism board. It's still a good song, though.
And this song was actually one of the finalists to replace it, but before state officials could decide, the business of governing came up and they kind of threw the state song issue on the back burner. And I respect that, honestly; I'd much rather legislators worry about stuff like tax reform or negotiating finance deals or whatever than updating the Wikipedia page with the official state song. The Rolling Stones have a great tune, "Sweet Virginia," that some people say fits the state well; personally I don't know how a tune about road tripping while strung out on pills could be what you want representing your state, but I applaud their modern take.
It does seem like the kind of place raucous pill heads would flock to.
I haven't visited Virginia. Technically, I've been IN Virginia (heh), but that's only because I was touring around Washington DC. I guess I've seen the Arlington National Cemetery, but somehow I feel like that's not really representative of the state as a whole. I hope not, anyway. But I want to visit and really give the place its due: Virginia has come such a long way from densely populated Native American villages to the original Colony of Virginia founded by the London Company to joining the Confederacy and birthing, amoeba-like, West Virginia, to its position as a modern day leader in computer chip exports. Jamestown is over 400 years old, for cryin' out loud! There's some major history to study in Virginia.
Here's one bad thing I've heard, though: the weather. Hot, humid, and hurricanes form the dreaded triple H of Virginia weather, and the more populous parts of the state (mostly around Washington DC) have pretty awful air quality. Still, just about every major city has bad air quality. You can't hold that against the WHOLE state. And I'm sure you get used to the heat and humidity. Eventually. Eh, I'm from St. Louis; I can't make fun of anyone's weather.
Virginia, your song's kind of cheesy, but in a good natured way. It feels honest and enthusiastic, and I hope that would describe Virginians in general. Let us know what we're missing in the comments!
Runner-Up: "New Virginia Creeper" by Old Crow Medicine Show
Most Laughable Suggestion: "Virginia" by Tori Amos
Flickr photo Virginia Governor's Mansion by Taber Andrew Bain used under a Creative Commons License.