- 1.Down by the Water – The Decemberists
- 2.Rose Parade – Elliot Smith
- 3.Portland, Oregon – Loretta Lynn
- 4.Don’t Take Me Alive – Steely Dan
- 5.So Long, Astoria – The Ataris
- 6.Lumberjack – Johnny Cash
- 7.Everyone Knows Everyone – The Helio Sequence
- 8.Twin Rocks, Oregon – Shawn Mullins
- 9.Doom Town – Wipers
- 10.Ain’t it Fresh (The Oregon Song) – Alcyon Massive
- 11.Oregon Girl – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
- 12.Lost our Soul – Illmaculate
- 13.Eugene Oregon – Dolly Parton
- 14.Back to Oregon – Broadway Calls
- 15.Light Rail Coyote – Sleater Kinney
- 16.Portland – The Replacements
- 17.City of Roses – Esperanza Spalding
- 18.Coming Home (Oregon) – Mat Kearney
- 19.Portland Water – Michael Hurley
- 20.Oregon Trail – Woody Guthrie
Oregon, a state located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, is known for its stunning natural beauty, vibrant arts scene, and unique cultural identity. It is no surprise then that it has inspired many musicians over the years to create songs about the state and its various cities and towns. From the indie rock anthems of The Decemberists to the soulful jazz of Esperanza Spalding, there is no shortage of amazing music that celebrates the wonders of Oregon.
This list of the 20 Best Songs about Oregon spans multiple genres and eras, showcasing the diverse and rich musical landscape of the state. Many of these songs celebrate the natural beauty of Oregon, from the rugged coastline to the towering forests and majestic mountains. Others explore the complexities of life in the state’s urban centers, such as Portland and Eugene, with their diverse communities and rich cultural offerings. Some songs even delve into Oregon’s unique history, from the pioneers who traveled the Oregon Trail to the state’s rich tradition of folk music.
Overall, these songs capture the spirit and soul of Oregon, with its wild landscapes, vibrant communities, and rich cultural heritage. Whether you are a long-time resident of the state or a visitor seeking to experience its wonders, these songs are sure to inspire and delight you with their heartfelt melodies, evocative lyrics, and infectious rhythms.
1.Down by the Water – The Decemberists
“Down by the Water” by The Decemberists is a hauntingly beautiful track with an eerie undertone. The lyrics tell a story of a mother drowning her child and the guilt and regret that follows. The instrumentation is intricate and layered, with a mix of acoustic and electric guitar, accordion, and a driving drumbeat. The lead singer’s distinctive voice adds to the emotional intensity of the song, making it a powerful piece of storytelling.
2.Rose Parade – Elliot Smith
“Rose Parade” by Elliott Smith is a melancholic song that captures the feeling of aimlessness and disillusionment. The lyrics describe a parade in which everything seems fake and empty, and the singer longs for something more meaningful. The stripped-down instrumentation highlights Smith’s emotive vocals and poignant lyrics, creating a sense of intimacy and vulnerability. Overall, “Rose Parade” is a hauntingly beautiful reflection on the challenges of finding purpose and fulfillment in life.
3.Portland, Oregon – Loretta Lynn
“Portland, Oregon” by Loretta Lynn is a country song with a fun, upbeat rhythm and catchy melody. The lyrics describe a wild night in the city of Portland, Oregon, with the singer flirting with a man and enjoying some alcoholic drinks. The song features a lively honky-tonk piano and Lynn’s distinctive twangy vocals, creating a fun and infectious vibe.
4.Don’t Take Me Alive – Steely Dan
“Don’t Take Me Alive” by Steely Dan is a rock song with a dark and edgy feel. The lyrics tell the story of a man on the run after committing a crime and refusing to be taken alive by the police. The instrumentation is intricate and layered, featuring a mix of electric guitar, keyboard, and percussion. The song builds to an intense climax, with a blistering guitar solo and the singer’s desperate plea to be set free. Overall, “Don’t Take Me Alive” is a powerful and evocative track that showcases Steely Dan’s unique sound and storytelling.
5.So Long, Astoria – The Ataris
“So Long, Astoria” by The Ataris is a punk rock song with a nostalgic and bittersweet feel. The lyrics describe the memories of the singer’s youth spent in the town of Astoria, where he formed close friendships and fell in love. The energetic guitar riffs and driving drumbeat capture the energy and passion of youth, while the singer’s emotive vocals add a sense of wistfulness and longing. Overall, “So Long, Astoria” is a powerful ode to the experiences and connections that shape our lives, and a reminder to cherish the memories that we hold dear.
6.Lumberjack – Johnny Cash
“Lumberjack” by Johnny Cash is a country song with a classic honky-tonk sound. The lyrics tell the story of a hardworking lumberjack who spends his days cutting down trees in the forest. The song features Cash’s iconic deep and resonant voice, accompanied by a lively piano and guitar. The lyrics capture the grit and determination of blue-collar workers and the hardships they face, while also celebrating the satisfaction and pride that comes from a job well done. Overall, “Lumberjack” is a classic Johnny Cash track that highlights his storytelling prowess and his ability to capture the essence of everyday people and their struggles.
7.Everyone Knows Everyone – The Helio Sequence
“Everyone Knows Everyone” by The Helio Sequence is an indie rock song with a dreamy and atmospheric feel. The lyrics describe the sense of familiarity and interconnectedness that can exist in small towns, where everyone knows each other’s business. The song features a blend of electronic and acoustic instrumentation, with ethereal vocals and swirling synth lines creating a sense of otherworldliness. The chorus features a driving guitar riff and a catchy melody that stays with the listener long after the song has ended. Overall, “Everyone Knows Everyone” is a captivating track that captures the feeling of being part of a close-knit community, while also acknowledging the pitfalls and limitations that can come with it.
8.Twin Rocks, Oregon – Shawn Mullins
“Twin Rocks, Oregon” is a folk rock song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins. The song tells the story of a man who reminisces about a summer fling he had with a woman in Twin Rocks, Oregon, a small coastal town in the Pacific Northwest. Mullins’ gentle guitar strumming and soft, raspy vocals create a nostalgic and wistful atmosphere that perfectly captures the longing and nostalgia of the song’s protagonist. The song’s vivid lyrics paint a picture of a time and place that is both idyllic and fleeting, reminding us of the power of memory and the bittersweet nature of love and loss.
9.Doom Town – Wipers
“Doom Town” is a punk rock song by American band Wipers, written and performed by their frontman Greg Sage. The song, which was released in 1983, is a powerful and intense critique of modern society and the negative impact it has on the human psyche. Sage’s piercing vocals and driving guitar riffs create a sense of urgency and desperation that perfectly captures the song’s bleak and apocalyptic worldview. The lyrics touch on themes of isolation, disillusionment, and societal decay, painting a vivid picture of a world that is rapidly spiraling out of control. “Doom Town” is a raw and uncompromising punk classic that still resonates with audiences today.
10.Ain’t it Fresh (The Oregon Song) – Alcyon Massive
“Ain’t it Fresh (The Oregon Song)” is a reggae-infused hip hop track by American group Alcyon Massive. The song is an ode to the group’s home state of Oregon, celebrating the natural beauty, cultural diversity, and laid-back lifestyle that the state is known for. The song’s upbeat tempo, catchy hooks, and infectious rhythm create a joyful and energetic atmosphere that perfectly captures the spirit of the Pacific Northwest. The lyrics touch on themes of community, creativity, and self-expression, encouraging listeners to embrace their unique identities and celebrate the beauty of the world around them. “Ain’t it Fresh (The Oregon Song)” is a fun and uplifting anthem that will make you want to dance and sing along.
11.Oregon Girl – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
“Oregon Girl” is an indie rock song by American band Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. The song, which was released in 2010, is a sweet and tender love letter to a girl from Oregon who has captured the heart of the song’s protagonist. The band’s jangly guitar riffs and dreamy vocals create a nostalgic and romantic atmosphere that perfectly captures the magic and innocence of young love. The lyrics touch on themes of longing, vulnerability, and the search for connection, expressing the universal desire to find someone to share life’s joys and sorrows with. “Oregon Girl” is a heartfelt and charming indie gem that will resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love.
12.Lost our Soul – Illmaculate
“Lost our Soul” is a hip hop song by American rapper Illmaculate. The song, which was released in 2015, is a powerful and introspective reflection on the challenges of growing up in a world that can be cruel and unforgiving. Illmaculate’s raw and honest lyrics, delivered with a precise and confident flow, touch on themes of identity, struggle, and redemption, exploring the complex emotional landscape of the human experience. The song’s haunting melody and atmospheric beats create a mood of introspection and contemplation that perfectly captures the song’s themes. “Lost our Soul” is a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant hip hop track that will leave a lasting impression on listeners.
13.Eugene Oregon – Dolly Parton
“Eugene Oregon” is a country-pop song by American icon Dolly Parton. The song, which was released in 1977, is a cheerful and upbeat tribute to the small city of Eugene, Oregon. Parton’s sweet and melodic vocals, combined with her trademark wit and charm, create a lighthearted and playful atmosphere that perfectly captures the song’s sunny disposition. The lyrics touch on themes of community, friendship, and the joy of simple pleasures, celebrating the spirit of the Pacific Northwest and the warmth and hospitality of its people. “Eugene Oregon” is a feel-good country classic that will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step.
14.Back to Oregon – Broadway Calls
“Back to Oregon” is a punk rock song by American band Broadway Calls. The song, which was released in 2013, is a high-energy anthem about returning to one’s roots and finding solace in the familiar surroundings of home. The band’s driving guitar riffs, pounding drums, and shout-along choruses create a sense of urgency and excitement that perfectly captures the song’s restless and rebellious spirit. The lyrics touch on themes of nostalgia, longing, and the search for identity, expressing the universal desire to find a place to belong in a world that can be chaotic and uncertain. “Back to Oregon” is a powerful and cathartic punk rock blast that will resonate with anyone who has ever felt lost or adrift.
15.Light Rail Coyote – Sleater Kinney
“Light Rail Coyote” is a post-punk song by American rock band Sleater-Kinney. The song, which was released in 2005, is a haunting and atmospheric meditation on the transience of life and the search for meaning in a world that can be cold and indifferent. The band’s propulsive drums, jagged guitar riffs, and urgent vocals create a sense of unease and tension that perfectly captures the song’s existential themes. The lyrics touch on themes of mortality, isolation, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world, expressing the universal human desire to connect with others and make sense of our fleeting existence. “Light Rail Coyote” is a powerful and evocative post-punk masterpiece that will leave a lasting impression on listeners.
16.Portland – The Replacements
“Portland” is an alternative rock song by American band The Replacements. The song, which was released in 1987, is a bittersweet reflection on the fleeting nature of fame and the price of artistic success. The band’s plaintive vocals and melancholic guitar riffs create a mood of longing and regret that perfectly captures the song’s introspective themes. The lyrics touch on themes of disillusionment, loneliness, and the struggle to find one’s place in the world, expressing the universal human desire to be understood and appreciated for who we are. “Portland” is a poignant and heartfelt alternative rock ballad that will resonate with anyone who has ever chased their dreams and wondered if it was all worth it in the end.
17.City of Roses – Esperanza Spalding
“City of Roses” is a jazz-infused R&B song by American musician Esperanza Spalding. The song, which was released in 2012, is a sultry and sensual tribute to Portland, Oregon, which is also known as the “City of Roses.” Spalding’s soulful vocals and funky basslines create a mood of seduction and romance that perfectly captures the song’s intimate themes. The lyrics touch on themes of passion, desire, and the beauty of the natural world, expressing the universal human longing for connection and meaning. “City of Roses” is a smooth and sophisticated R&B gem that showcases Spalding’s impressive vocal and musical talents.
18.Coming Home (Oregon) – Mat Kearney
“Coming Home (Oregon)” is a folk-pop song by American singer-songwriter Mat Kearney. The song, which was released in 2014, is a heartfelt and nostalgic tribute to Kearney’s home state of Oregon. Kearney’s warm and inviting vocals, combined with his acoustic guitar and gentle piano melodies, create a cozy and comforting atmosphere that perfectly captures the song’s sentimental themes. The lyrics touch on themes of love, loss, and the passage of time, expressing the universal human desire to find a sense of belonging and meaning in our lives. “Coming Home (Oregon)” is a tender and moving folk-pop ballad that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you feeling inspired.
19.Portland Water – Michael Hurley
“Portland Water” is a folk-blues song by American singer-songwriter Michael Hurley. The song, which was released in 1984, is a humorous and irreverent ode to the city of Portland, Oregon, and its famously pure and delicious tap water. Hurley’s playful vocals, combined with his finger-picked acoustic guitar and banjo, create a whimsical and light-hearted atmosphere that perfectly captures the song’s playful themes. The lyrics touch on themes of city life, natural resources, and the pleasures of simple living, expressing the universal human desire to find joy and humor in the world around us. “Portland Water” is a charming and delightful folk-blues ditty that will leave you smiling and tapping your toes.
20.Oregon Trail – Woody Guthrie
“Oregon Trail” is a folk song by American singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie. The song, which was recorded in 1941, is a historical narrative about the famous Oregon Trail, which was used by pioneers to migrate from the eastern United States to Oregon in the mid-1800s. Guthrie’s plainspoken vocals, combined with his acoustic guitar and harmonica, create a rustic and authentic atmosphere that perfectly captures the song’s historical themes. The lyrics touch on themes of adventure, hardship, and perseverance, expressing the universal human desire to seek out new horizons and overcome the challenges that life throws our way. “Oregon Trail” is a classic folk song that celebrates the pioneering spirit and the enduring human spirit of exploration and discovery.