I've always been a They Might Be Giants fan. And I mean always. I wasn't one of the people who found out about them through their "hits" when their album, "Flood", hit the charts. By that time, I had known about the duo of John Linnell and John Flansburgh for a couple of years already. I have been a fan since they first came about and I have probably seen them at least 100 times. In fact, there was a time when my wife and I were seeing them in New York on an almost weekly basis. It's amazing to me that they are still going strong and every time people count them out, they come back stronger than before. In 1999, John Linnell released a solo album entitled "State Songs". The whole concept to the album consists almost entirely of tracks that are named after, and are at least partially inspired by, 15 of the 50 U.S. states. But don't look for state facts or history lessons here. Unlike the TMBG song, "James K Polk" which gave us a history lesson, the songs on "State Songs" suggest that there is another West Virginia inside of the state, that one can drive a house to Idaho, that Montana is a leg, Iowa is a witch, Oregon is bad, and Arkansas has sunken and is to be replaced by a ship of its exact shape and size. Linnell's explanation of where the state names comes in is that he used them as a way of avoiding having to come up with song titles. After releasing the album, John hit the road and took his solo show to a few of the 50 states. Here's a rare treat that I have never seen anywhere else (in fact, I don't even know where I got them). They are two live shows of John Linnell performing the State Songs. The first one is from 1995 (pre-release of the album) at The Mercury Lounge in New York City. The second is from the tour that followed the album's release in 1999 from a performance at The Bowery Ballroom in New York. These shows are great and feature not only the great songs from the album but a few surprises as well. Enjoy!
John Linnell - State Songs Live At The Mercury Lounge October 1995 /
John Linnell - State Songs Live At The Bowery Ballroom 12/11/99