10 Of The Best Songs About Missouri: Show Me State Playlist

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

Missouri is a fly-over state often overlooked since it is more-or-less a farming state. However, with the majestic rolling hills, ample entertainment opportunities, and naturalistic beauty, there is plenty of reason to love the midwestern state. 

Because it is a lesser-known state to those other than its residents, you don’t often hear many songs that mention Missouri. While they aren’t as plentiful as songs about California or other coastal states, multiple songs about the Show-Me State still exist.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at ten of the best songs about Missouri that you need to add to your playlist today. 

1. “Songs About Missouri” by Michael Tyler

What better way to start our list of songs about Missouri than with a song titled “Songs About Missouri.” Michael highlights the plethora of songs about various other states, but rarely do you find songs about Missouri.

From the green-eyed girls to the red and yellow sky, Michael reassures that if you knew what Missouri offers, it would get more praise, and you’d miss it if you ever left.

Because the beauty of Missouri seems inferior to the coastal towns that offer beaches and southern girls, people don’t know what they are missing.  

Related: Check out our list of songs about Kansas City here.

2. “Missing Missouri” by Sara Evans

There is nothing quite as calming as going back home to visit your family and relive old memories. This is especially true when you’ve been on the road and don’t necessarily have one place to call home. 

In her song “Missing Missouri,” Sara Evans describes that as life gets unpredictable and hectic, all she wants to do is revisit her roots in Missouri.

The sense of calm that overtakes her as soon as she hits the boot-heel of Missouri is overwhelming as she knows she’s made it back home.

3. “Cold Missouri Waters” by James Keelaghan

Written and composed by Canadian native James Keelaghan, “Cold Missouri Waters” pays tribute to the 13 firefighters that lost their lives in the 1949 Mann Gulch wildfire in Montana. 

When Richard Shindell, a member of the trio Cry Cry Cry, performed the song, it gained a different level of popularity as it felt closer to home having someone with an American accent sing the lyrics.

The lyrics take you on a journey of the Chief firefighter and how his plan to fight the fire went south, and he and his team found themselves trapped along the cold Missouri waters just yards away. You learn that 13 of his men didn’t make it, and now 13 crosses are hanging above those cold Missouri waters. 

The song has a more recent meaning as it has also become a tribute to the 19 firefighters who died in the 2013 wildfire in Arizona. 

4. “Shovelin’ Coal in Missouri” by Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie Rodgers’ “Shovelin’ Coal in Missouri” follows a young man throughout his adolescence as he lives in Shovelin’ Coal, Missouri.

This young man, aka “Little Jack Brown,” has a tough childhood with a lack of parental guidance. As the song progresses, listeners learn that the little he has and the troubles he faces as a child determine who he is as a grown adult.  

5. “Missouri” by David Nail

“Missouri” by David Nail isn’t your typical song about the love long-time Missouri residents feel for their state. It’s about a young man who wishes the best for the girl whose heart he broke as he prays she returns to her roots in Southern Georgia. 

The lyrics of this song take you on a painful journey of a young man that failed to change and become a good man for the girl he loves. He expresses her need to escape from Missouri when he sings this song.

6. “Southwest Missouri” by The Mark Chapman Band

Mark Chapman, the lead vocalist of The Mark Chapman Band is a Missouri native from Pearce City. Throughout his career, he has taken his band across the midwest and continues to grow in popularity.

Their song “Southwest Missouri” pays homage to their roots in the southwest region of Missouri. The song’s lyrics give you a taste of what growing up in southwest Missouri was like and how much influence it has on your adult years. 

Since their formation in 2008, The Mark Chapman Band has continued to see growth and success as they have opened for artists like Josh Turner, Cole Swindell, and Joe Nichols. 

7. “Walkin’ To Missouri” by Sammy Kaye

It’s hard to believe that a song about Missouri ranked number 7 on the singles chart in the U.K., but that is what “Walkin’ To Missouri” did.

Originally written by Bob Merrill in the 50s, the tune didn’t reach peak popularity until Sammy Kayes covered it, and it rose to number 11 on the U.S. charts. A cover by Tony Brent is what raised awareness in the United Kingdom. 

“Walkin’ To Missouri,” tells the story of a young man whose wings failed him, and his only option is to walk back home to Missouri. Throughout his journey, he has various struggles, and nothing seems to go his way.

The ending verse is meant to warn others that mistakes are easy to make and encourages others to show kindness to those you meet along your journey. “Walkin’ To Missouri” is a rendition of the parable of the Prodigal Son. 

8. “California, Missouri” by Kassi Ashton

California and Missouri are not two words you often hear side-by-side. However, it may seem surprising to know that a town in Missouri is called California. This rural Missouri town is the basis of Kassi Ashton’s song, “California, Missouri.” 

Throughout the song, you’ll notice several references to California, only to find out that Kassi is singing about her hometown of California, Missouri. 

9. “Missouri Waltz” by Johnny Cash

“Missouri Waltz” is a well-known song to anyone who has attended the University of Missouri. Not only is “Missouri Waltz” noted as the song of Missouri, but it is also a melody played by the Marching Mizzou at every home football game.

The history of “Missouri Waltz” is vast as it was first produced in 1914. A much later rendition by Johnny Cash in 2006 is the version most Missourians sing along to. Other recordings of the song were produced by Bing Crosby, Mance Lipscomb, and Perry Como.

10. “Missouri Moon” by Rhonda Vincent

Missouri has a history of bluegrass music that is still very relevant today. With annual bluegrass festivals happening throughout the state, Missouri residents don’t want to lose this history. 

In her song “Missouri Moon,” Rhonda Vincent highlights the bluegrass genre and a heartbreaking experience under the Missouri moon. Rhonda’s artfully crafted lyrics take you on a midwestern love story that turns to heartbreak with the common denominator of the full moon hanging over the Missouri landscape.

From the day the characters in her lyrics feel in love under the bright Missouri night sky to the day her feelings overwhelm her as she cries under the same moon, there is no escaping the majestic nature of a Missouri moon. 

Summing Up Our List Of Missouri Songs

As a Missouri native, it can be discouraging to be kicked to the sideline. While Missouri is full of thriving farming communities, its natural beauty and down-to-earth residents are overlooked.

Luckily, as you can see from the list above, there are several musicians out there to pay homage to their home state of Missouri or their experiences there, which are perfect for your midwestern playlist.

But what songs did we miss off this list that you think should be on it? Let us know, and we’ll add them in! 

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Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.