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Country Music States 41-50

Mike Sudhalter  |  June 4, 2009

This country superstar was born in Long Branch,
New Jersey but got to Texas as quick as he could

50. Maine Maine is just as rural as any state in the Southeast, Southwest or Midwest. It's a huge state in terms of outdoors and NASCAR. They have country stations, and sometimes, a few good concerts. But I don't recall any major country artist coming from Vacationland. It's interesting because the Canadian Maritime Provinces (Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Newfoundland) have more of a country music scene. Legends like Hank Snow to newcomers like George Canyon have come from there. Who knew you had to go further north and east to find country music? Kix Brooks - before his days in Brooks & Dunn - toured in Maine as an independent artist. Perhaps that's why country music never caught on there.

49. New Mexico For a state with so much great scenery that it would be the perfect drop for a Western film, there's little country music coming out of there. Perhaps there are some good honky-tonks, but no artists of note have left the Land of Enchantment.

48. New Hampshire Maybe, the Outlaw Era needs to come back in country music for New Hampshire residents - and their 'Live Free or Die' state motto - to become interested in country music again. Like Maine, the state hasn't produced an artist, and you usually have to travel to neighboring states to take in a show.

47. Hawaii You go to Hawaii for rest, relaxation and beaches. Not fiddle and steel guitar. The Aloha State would be ranked last, but George Strait played there when he was stationed in the U.S. Army during the early 1970's. It's where he began to develop into the artist he is today.

46. Idaho Idaho is a rural, western state that would seem like a hot spot for country music. I haven't traveled around the Gem State much, but I used to work in Moscow, Idaho and never found much in the way of country music.

45. New Jersey Most peoples' perceptions of New Jersey is that it's all urban, or at least suburban. That's not true at all. New Jersey has plenty of wide open spaces, as I discovered when I took a date to a rodeo in the southern tip of the state a decade ago in Salem, NJ. And the big concert venues outside New York and Philadelphia have the big-name tours. But a state with such a large population should produce a country star or two.

44. Utah Like Idaho and New Mexico, Utah is another picturesque western state that should be contributing more western to the Country & Western. There's newcomer Julianne Hough and Marie Osmond was "a lil bit country." The Beehive State probably has some country artists that have never been noticed. If they ever do, Utah can move up a few spots on the list.

43. Wisconsin Wisconsin is a mostly rural Midwestern state, but I can't think of a country artist who has emerged from there. I've only been to Wisconsin briefly, and I know country music is popular there. An annual musical festival - Country Thunder - at Twin Lakes, Wisconsin - is about the only thing the state has to brag about, country music-wise.

42. Washington State Lila McCann, James Otto and Blaine Larsen are all from Washington State. But a state that size should have a bigger impact in country music, especially with the mostly rural eastern half of the state, which I lived in for eight months. It was tough to find concerts anywhere except Spokane. And their lineup wasn't anything extra-special. Seattle is known for alternative rock, which may take away from country's appeal. Their northern neighbors, in British Columbia have a better country music scene (Dean Brody, Joey Daniels).

41. Alaska Mel McDaniel toured in Alaska to try and build a fan base years ago. Most country artists don't tour Alaska only because of its distance from the continental United States and the fact that it's sparsely populated. I have no doubt that there are a few great honky-tonks there, but the state is kind of geographically isolated.

:: Posted at 8:08 PM by Mike Sudhalter ::
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