Which Johnny Cash Song Mentions Ellensburg, Washington?
Fewer figures in Americana culture stand higher than Johnny Cash. The Man in Black not only dominated country music charts but transcended American society itself, becoming a legend of giant stature. Whether it was the hits of the 1960s like "Ring of Fire" or cover songs that Johnny made his own, Johnny Cash had something for just about everyone. Apparently, he had something for all of Washington as well.
I moved to Washington from Iowa twenty years ago this summer. If you've ever moved cross-country before, you know it's a big undertaking, especially if you're driving a U-Haul truck filled with your belongings. That's where good road trip music comes in handy. For me growing up, it was usually the Beatles, Billy Joel, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, and R.E.M. This particular trip was Willie Nelson ("On the Road Again" mostly) and Johnny Cash.
"I've Been Everywhere" mentions an eastern Washington town we all know and love.
I'll be honest. Before today, I had no idea Ellensburg was one of the many towns listed in this Johnny Cash 1996 classic. My mom called me today to tell me about it. Which I definitely appreciate because it gives me another reason to love that song. It takes a couple of verses to get to the "good part" but trust me, it's in there. It's the last verse of the song. Check it out for yourself:
I've been to Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelburg, Colorado
Ellensburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, El Dorado
Larimore, Atmore, Haverstraw, Chatanika
Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika
Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City
Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City, what a pity
What other songs are out there that make mention of towns near us?
48 of the Best Musicians to Have Hailed From Washington State
Gallery Credit: Pete Christensen