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Montana is known for its stunning natural landscapes, from breathtaking mountains, lakes, and rivers to diverse wildlife, including buffalo and deer. But did you know that Montana is also known as the treasure state because of its rich deposits of gold, silver, coal, and other minerals?
The best way to learn about a state’s nature, history, and people is through songs written about it. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 11 songs about Montana in this article.
What You Will Learn
- 11 Songs About Montana
- 1. “Montana” by Frank Zappa
- 2. “Wild Montana Skies” by John Denver
- 3. “Montana Lullaby” by Ken Overcast
- 4. “Livingston Saturday Night” by Jimmy Buffett
- 5. “Montana on My Mind” by Shane Clouse
- 6. “Cut Bank Montana” by Hank Williams Jr.
- 7. “Meet Me in Montana” by Dan Seals
- 8. “Big City” by Merle Haggard
- 9. “Montana” by Charles C. Cohan
- 10. “Montana Rodeo” by Chris LeDoux
- 11. “Midnight in Missoula” by Nanci Griffith
- Final Thoughts on Songs About Montana
11 Songs About Montana
1. “Montana” by Frank Zappa
“Keep the wax
‘N melt it down
Pluck some floss
‘N swish it aroun’
I’d have me a crop
An’ it’d be on top
That’s why I’m movin’ to Montana.”
The song’s lyrics, delivered by Zappa in a lighthearted tone, describe a man who intends to move to Montana to cultivate “a crop of dental floss” while riding a pony named “Mighty Little.” By commercializing dental floss, he aspires to become a dental floss tycoon. The lines are designed to be humorous and loaded with pseudo-ranch pronunciation.
The lyrics to this tune are absurd; dental floss doesn’t grow in Montana, or anywhere else for that matter. However, it is an interesting song with a catchy rhythm ideal for your road trip to Montana.
2. “Wild Montana Skies” by John Denver
“Oh Montana, give this child a home
Give him the love of a good family and a woman of his own
Give him a fire in his heart, give him a light in his eyes
Give him the wild wind for a brother and the wild Montana skies.”
The song starts with a mother and father singing to their newborn child. The lyrics are more like a prayer and their wishes that their child will have a good life.
Although the music includes moments of sadness, the listener is only left with excitement. This song might be considered a trio, which honors the sea and Rocky Mountain High while appreciating the air. The lyrics are a testament to the absolute enthusiasm that nature can elicit, especially nature under the Montana sky. This can be seen through the child that later grows up in the song and has a deep connection to the state and its natural landscapes.
3. “Montana Lullaby” by Ken Overcast
“From the wide rollin’ plains,
cross the Rockies blue range,
wherever the proud eagle flies,
a lone coyote croons to a full lover’s moon,
a Montana lullaby.”
Ken Overcast and Wylie Gustafson’s “Montana Lullaby” was declared the official state lullaby in 2007. Interestingly, Montana has a state song as well as a state ballad. This particular song is said to capture the soul of Montana and portrays the spirit of the West and a Montana cowboy.
The song depicts a lonely cowboy gathering up stray cattle on the range with the sun going down as he fantasizes about his Jenny waiting for him at home.
4. “Livingston Saturday Night” by Jimmy Buffett
“Yeah now listen to the sound of the hot country band
Boot heels a’ shufflin’ on the dance floor sand
Drink a little, think a little, shoot a little pool
Hittin’ on the cuties right outta high school
Fifteen may get ya twenty, that’s all right
‘Cause they’ll be rockin’ and a-rollin’ on a Livingston Saturday night.”
The song shows us how the people in Montana party. It talks about what happens on Saturday nights, from drinking, dancing, flirting with young girls to what the party people wear. The song really gives you a feel of what to expect if you decide to go out on a Saturday night in Montana.
5. “Montana on My Mind” by Shane Clouse
“I’ve been working around the clock
Don’t have enough time
I’m missing home and I’m all alone tonight
I’ve got Montana on my mind.”
The song talks about a young man who moved out of Montana to a bigger city to earn more money. He is homesick; he misses his family, home, and Montana. Also, he mentions how hard he works and doesn’t have any free time, and he feels like he’d be happier in Montana. Montana represents a state of freedom for him where the lifestyle is more relaxed and stress-free.
This notion of a more peaceful and slower life in the Montana wilderness is something many locals claim to be the essential characteristic of the state.
6. “Cut Bank Montana” by Hank Williams Jr.
“But I went to heaven that night in her arms in my little cabin.
In the winter of ’94, there burned one hell of a flame.
They still hear her voice in the cabin in Cutbank, Montana.
And the icicles all melt away at the sound of her name.”
This is a very heartwarming song, and it talks about how a man felt warm and loved in the middle of the winter of one particular year. The winters in Montana can be icy. The most considerable temperature shift in a 24-hour period was a 100-degree shift that happened in Browning on January 23 and 24, 1916. During this pair of days, the temperature plummeted from 44 to 56 degrees below zero.
The man tells us how the ice melted, and the cold went away because of his love for his woman.
7. “Meet Me in Montana” by Dan Seals
“Won’t you meet me in Montana
I want to see the mountains your eyes.
Woah, Woah I had all of this life I can handle
Meet me underneath that big Montana sky.”
This is a duet, and it depicts two people from Montana that are in love. The woman moved to Hollywood but wants to come back to Montana and meet her lover. The song uses imaginary of Montana’s nature to show the couple’s appreciation for Montana and each other.
8. “Big City” by Merle Haggard
“Turn me loose, set me free
Somewhere in the middle of Montana
And give me all I’ve got coming to me
And keep your retirement
And your so-called Social Security
Big city turn me loose and set me free.”
Even though a big city offers more stability and financial security, the singer wants to go back to “somewhere in the middle of Montana.” He despites the city, including the lifestyle and his stable job. He wants to feel free and have less stress, so he thinks Montana is the perfect place to let loose and live as he desires.
9. “Montana” by Charles C. Cohan
“Tell me of that Treasure State
Story always new,
Tell of its beauties grand
And its hearts so true.
Mountains of sunset fire
The land I love the best
Let me grasp the hand of one.”
Montana’s official state song was selected in 1945. Although “Montana” was chosen, it was written decades before in 1910. The song talks about all the beautiful nature Montana has to offer. The lyrics also mention that Montana is known as the Treasure State.
10. “Montana Rodeo” by Chris LeDoux
“Ranch hands and rodeo fans are drinking up the very last drop
And they all head for Montana at the foot of the Great Divide
To tie one up or tie one on, or to tear it down or ride
So if you’re lookin’ for a rendezvous where the Wild West never dies
You best make it on up to Montana on the right day in July.”
This song about Montana really captures the spirit of the West. It describes a popular rodeo and everything that can be seen there and in Montana in general. Even though it shows the exciting things, it also mentions some negative things associated with the West. However, the overall tone is very positive and makes you want to experience a rodeo in Montana.
11. “Midnight in Missoula” by Nanci Griffith
“Are you sleeping now? It’s midnight in Missoula.
Where the Black Hills know your name.
Is the snow piled high around your window frame?
Is there enough frost left to write our names upon the pane?”
This song about Montana shows us the deep connection between two people in different countries. The artist is not in Montana but Rio. The lyrics use images typical for long-distance relationships that are characteristic of Montana. For example, she wonders if the person she is thinking about is sleeping because of the time difference. It might not be nighttime for her, but in Montana, it’s midnight.
She misses the mountains and the snow and wonders how much snow there is in Montana at that moment. These are all typical images of Montana which indirectly portray that the narrator is homesick.
Final Thoughts on Songs About Montana
This list of songs about Montana is not only going to be a great road trip playlist, but it will also make you feel like you’re already in Montana. The songs describe the beautiful nature, the West’s culture, and the love the people living in Montana have for their state. Be aware that it might make you want to go back to Montana even if you’ve never been there.
The only way to experience music is to hear it, so don’t forget to check out the links for each song.