The previous song on this blog may have made you laugh; if you listen closely, this one by Josh Ritter may make you cry.

Joanna and I have a definite love/hate relationship with Idaho. We’ve lived there three separate times, and have pretty well covered the state. I was born and raised in the state, and she moved there as an adult so that we could meet and fall in love there. We both earned degrees from Idaho universities, and now have four generations of family members living in various parts of the state.

Unfortunately, the “Gem State” also the most politically and socially backward state — with the possible exception of Arizona or Kansas — outside of the Deep South. Yet even now we live only half an hour from Idaho and we both think it’s probably the most beautiful state in the Union. It has a pull on us, and obviously on Ritter, an Idaho native.

There are variety of songs titled “Idaho” (including ones sung by Frankie Valli, Nerina Pallot and Gregory Alan Isakov) along with the official state song, “Here We Have Idaho” and the “unofficial state song,” “Song of Idaho,” and the B-52s’ “Private Idaho.” But the combination of words and voice would make Ritter’s song my favorite of the bunch even if he hadn’t grown up in the same town (Moscow) where I spent many summers as a kid, where Joanna and I lived for a while as adults, and where she and at least five relatives earned college degrees.

Lyrics here, with video below:

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