The United States of Songs: South Dakota

by Randall Cleveland

Here we go again, folks, with another installment of The United States of Songs! I'm trying to find a new state song to celebrate each state in the Union, and this week it's time to visit the Mount Rushmore State!

The state: South Dakota
The song: "South Dakota" by Small Sur



Mount Rushmore. There. That's literally everything I know about South Dakota. Oh, and Deadwood, but I'm pretty sure my understanding of that town is slightly exaggerated. South Dakota might as well be a black hole to me, which isn't to insult the state at all. I've just never ventured there and I don't think I know anyone who has, so it's a complete mystery to me. Actually, the more I think about that, the more interesting it is. It has this mystique in my mind, a kind of desolate, rugged outback like a _Fallout_ game or something.

I think the biggest city in South Dakota is Sioux Falls, which last census had less than 200,000 people. I have about 200,000 people in my NEIGHBORHOOD, I think. There are less than 900,000 people in the entire state! If you like wide open spaces and think fences and about 400 acres between you make good neighbors, South Dakota's your place. There's actually a lot of really cool history there, now that I look. Wounded Knee happened in South Dakota, it suffered through the Dust Bowl, and it's extremely rich with Native American history (including some not-so-awesome stuff, like Indian Wars.)

Hunters in South Dakota
Also, this. Probably a lot of this.

I'll admit I had this song in my head early on because I'm a fan of Small Sur, but I don't think this is a stretch for South Dakota at all. It's sparse, it's kind of lonely, but it's got a haunting beauty you can't help but fall in love with. That's kind of how I picture South Dakota in my mind.

Let me know what you think, South Dakotans, if you're out there. I realize the statistical average implies that there are only about six of you online, but if you're here, say hi and let us know what fun stuff there is to do in your state!

Runner-Up: "South Dakota" by Maelee Whitman
Most Laughable Suggestion: "South Dakota" by ringleader