Subterranean Homesick Freshman
September 19, 2008 8:57 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some pretty songs about Ohio, or finding a home.

My little sister just moved away for her first year of college. I'm worried she's getting homesick, so I'm making her a CD of songs about our home state of Ohio, or being home, or finding a new home. These are ones I listen to while alone in NYC, but I'm hoping to find a few new songs for both me and my sister to enjoy.

My tentative list is:

Damien Jurado - Ohio
Okkervil River - Red
Modest Mouse - Ohio
Counting Crows - Four Feathers
The Pretenders - My City Was Gone
Sun Kil Moon - Carry Me Ohio
Tunng - Woodcat
(maybe) Johnny Cash - Banks of Ohio
Talking Heads - This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
Cocorosie - Ohio (Cover of the Damien Jurado song)

I'm leaving out: anything about the Kent State shootings, as that's not exactly the theme I'm going for; Randy Newman's "Dayton Ohio 1903," because I'm already pushing the Lame Envelope with Counting Crows; that awful Bowling for Soup song.

The addition of "Red," "Woodcat," and "Naive Melody" will probably invite many more suggestions for general songs about home, as they're easier to think of, but I chose them because they're fairly personal songs, are lovely and well-written, and expand her already tailored list of favorite musicians. Please advise general songs with caution!

Her favorite bands/musicians are mellow, indie stuff: Squarepusher, José González, TNP, Andrew Bird, Beirut, and Iron & Wine.
posted by zoomorphic to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Possibly not the right genre or lyrics, but Gillian Welch's "Look at Miss Ohio" might work (skip to about :35 in). Would've worked for me when I moved from Ohio.

Ohio Clouds by Laura Veirs (lyrics only)
Homesick by Kings of Convenience (cheesy youtube video)
This is not like Home by the Great Lake Swimmers

Aaaand just 'cause I like it, Walk you Home by the Features. Again, probably not the genre you're looking for, but it's one of my favorites.

What about adding happy songs about the new place she's in? I think songs about my old home might make my homesickness worse.
posted by runningwithscissors at 9:40 AM on September 19, 2008

The Jayhawks' "Somewhere In Ohio" on the "Smile" album. Oddly I can't find it on youtube, but here's the title song. This entire album is awesome. (But the audio here sucks.)
posted by dawson at 9:42 AM on September 19, 2008

Well there's "Look at Miss Ohio" by Gillian Welch. She's kind of alt-folk/country, right up the Iron & Wine alley. So is Sun Kil Moon's "Carry Me Ohio." You might also look into Guided by Voices' "Dayton, Ohio- 19 and Something 5."

Modest Mouse is definitely an acquired taste, but they've got a song called "Ohio."
posted by valkyryn at 9:45 AM on September 19, 2008

Ohio by Over the Rhine.
posted by Siobhan at 9:57 AM on September 19, 2008

Leave and Kings by Josh Ritter.
posted by amro at 10:04 AM on September 19, 2008

Whoops, that's Leaves and Kings.
posted by amro at 10:04 AM on September 19, 2008

The Lenny Bernstein song "Why oh why oh why oh / Why did I ever leave Ohio?".
A great song, wonderful melody. Written for the 1953 musical "Wonderful Town". But it was sung in a movie too. I cannot determine the name of the movie that was based on Wonderful Town. Maybe "My Sister Eileen". Also, cannot determine if available somehow on an album or download. You'll love it, though.
posted by yazi at 10:05 AM on September 19, 2008

The Pretenders - My City Was Gone

.....This actually strikes me as a mistake. Chrissie Hynde wrote it to complain about how the Akron suburbs were getting overrun with pollution.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:15 AM on September 19, 2008

...This actually strikes me as a mistake. Chrissie Hynde wrote it to complain about how the Akron suburbs were getting overrun with pollution.

These aren't pressingly literal songs, and while "My City Was Gone" is literally about Akron turning into a suburb, it's also metaphorically about returning home to discover things have changed.

runningwithscissors: My sister is an emotionally tough cookie who has a habit of working through her problems via music rather than words, so I hope a mix CD will be therapeutic, not sadistic. That said, I'd love some happy songs, and I'm hoping some suggestions will point to more upbeat ones. I personally think "This Must Be the Place"has some excellent lyrics about finding home wherever you're loved.
posted by zoomorphic at 10:37 AM on September 19, 2008

Also... since you are unsure about the Cash rendition of "Banks of the Ohio", you should consider versions where there is vocal harmony. Bluegrass harmony is heart-tearing. I think Baez recorded a version, but perhaps she sang solo. Also Blue Sky Boys did it.
posted by yazi at 10:40 AM on September 19, 2008

This may not be exactly what you're looking for, but I always think of Ohio when I listen to the group Songs: Ohia. They're known as Magnolia Electric Company now. The singer/songwriter is from Lorain. Their sound is hard to describe, but I think your sister would like it based on her tastes. I love the song "Hold on Magnolia".

The song "You Remind Me of Home" by Ben Gibbard always makes me miss my home (which is near Ohio!)
posted by kerning at 10:41 AM on September 19, 2008

I second yazi's pick of the Bernstein song.
My mom liked to listen to the sound track on the phonograph when we were growing up.
We would run around the house belting out "Why oh, why oh, why oh!"
posted by SallyHitMeOntheHead at 10:42 AM on September 19, 2008

Wait, Squarepusher is mellow, indie stuff?

What about Hang on Sloopy?
posted by billtron at 10:55 AM on September 19, 2008

Palace Music (Will Oldham) - "Ohio Riverboat Song"? Here's a video.
posted by tom_g at 11:06 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Essex Green - "Sin City"
posted by crumbly at 11:28 AM on September 19, 2008

Wait, Squarepusher is mellow, indie stuff?

Yeah, sigh, sorry. In my old age I forgot that Squarepusher is electro jazz or whatever the damn kids on my front lawn are calling it these days.

That Gillian Welch song is great, by the way.
posted by zoomorphic at 11:29 AM on September 19, 2008

More Damien Jurado, so you probably know it already - Texas to Ohio. A bit bittersweet ("This is the way we learn from our mistakes, you leave all your friends for someone you think you love") and not maybe Ohio-specific in the lyrics, but it's quite funny about distance, so.
posted by carbide at 11:37 AM on September 19, 2008

Hem's "Half Acre"
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 1:32 PM on September 19, 2008

Wide Open Spaces. (Unless she's one of those people who violently dislike the Dixie Chicks.)
posted by the latin mouse at 1:36 PM on September 19, 2008

I can't believe no one's mentioned "Ohio" by Leonard Bernstein, from "Wonderful Town". It's a musical, yes a Broadway musical, about two sisters who leave home in Ohio for the adventure of New York. Naturally things start off a little rough, they get homesick, and naturally they break into song. Here's a link to some lyrics (all caps, sorry) with a complimentary ringtone (use at your own risk, I know nothing about ringtones). Here are more readable lyrics.

Here's a DVD on Amazon of the show. It's a fun, family-friendly show! You might want to send it to her. Amazon also has MP3s of individual songs from the show.
posted by amtho at 2:23 PM on September 19, 2008

The wonderful band Lambchop is about to release an album titled OH (ohio). The opening track is titled "Ohio" and it's very lovely.
posted by polyester.lumberjack at 7:08 PM on September 19, 2008

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