New Mexico is known for many things: awe-inspiring deserts, beautiful sunsets, exciting wildlife, and the fascinating history of Native American culture.
For a state with so much going on, you’d imagine that New Mexico has inspired many singers and songwriters. While the Land of Enchantment doesn’t have quite as many songs about it as some other states, it boasts a healthy collection of songs that celebrate or reference it.
And in this post, we’ve put together a playlist of 10 of the best songs about New Mexico. Read on to learn them!
Related: See our post here for songs that talk about America.
1. “New Mexico” By Johnny Cash
First, we have the song “New Mexico” by Johnny Cash. The song’s plot begins in a town called Griffin. It’s unclear where the town is located, but it could refer to Griffin, Georgia.
The singer, a young man at the time, is approached by a cowboy and asked if he’d like to spend a “pleasant summer” in New Mexico on a cattle drive. Lured in by promises of reasonable wages and paid transportation, the young man agrees.
He soon finds out it was a mistake. A summer of harsh weather and uncooperative cattle ends in him not even being paid for his work, and he warns others not to make the miserable trip out West.
2. “New Mexico’s No Breeze” By Iron And Wine
The song “New Mexico’s No Breeze” by Samuel Ervin Beam—better known as Iron & Wine—is a bit cryptic, but you can pick up the gist of it if you listen closely.
It talks about a young couple, both nineteen years old, who leave Santa Fe together. The circumstances of their leaving aren’t described, but the song seems to be a sad one.
It’s unclear whether the adventure ended up being a mistake or the singer simply looks back on the initial pain of leaving home. Either way, it’s full of emotion and references to emptiness.
3. “Hearts And Bones” By Paul Simon
Singer-songwriter Paul Simon is known for writing deep, poetic song lyrics, and this one is no different. The song describes two people who meet up in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in New Mexico and have a love affair.
It hints at some forbidden element, possibly the woman being married or engaged, making the experience short-lived. Both parties return to their lives on the East and West Coasts, carrying the pain and joy of their short but passionate entanglement.
While they may never meet again, they both always have memories of their New Mexico romance.
4. “Point Me In the Direction Of Albuquerque” By The Partridge Family
Musical sitcom The Partridge Family was a top-rated TV series in the 1970s. The show was about a family band dealing with fame and everyday family challenges. Some of the songs from the show ended up on the charts, including “Point Me In the Direction Of Albuquerque.”
The song is about a young runaway who has fallen on hard times and is looking for a way to get back home. She catches the attention of the song’s narrator, and he falls in love with her even though he knows he needs to let her go.
5. “Taos, New Mexico” By R. Dean Taylor
The year was 1972. The hippie lifestyle was in full swing, and songs about vagabond life were all over the charts.
R. Dean Taylor‘s “Taos, New Mexico” tells the story of a man serving time in jail in Taos and his longing for his home, particularly for his lady named Maria.
It’s an upbeat tune, which seems a little odd considering the subject matter, but it does capture the southwestern vibe very nicely. Whoever the narrator is, we hope he finds his way back home.
6. “New Mexico Rain” By Bill And Bonnie Hearne
Texans Bill and Bonnie Hearne were never famous pop stars, but they were certainly unique as a singing duo and as a couple. Bill and Bonnie were both blind and shared a love of music that became the foundation of their career and relationship.
Their song “New Mexico Rain” describes a couple facing life challenges on the road, money issues, and managing their respective desires. Through it all, they always return to their home in New Mexico to dance, ground themselves, and find meaning in their lives again.
7. “Motorway To Roswell” By The Pixies
Roswell, New Mexico, is synonymous with UFOs, government cover-ups, and other topics that many folks find fascinating.
The Pixies may have had some of this in mind when they wrote “Motorway to Roswell.” It seems to be about a man who tried to investigate the Roswell mystery but ended up “in army crates with files”—not the best ending for his night!
It’s unclear whether this song was meant to be directly about Roswell or if it’s a metaphor for being baffled by life’s many mysteries, but whichever it is, it gets the message across.
8. “New Mexican Rose” By The Four Seasons
From a rock song about mysteries, we move to something for the heart. Four Seasons was a singing group well-known during the sixties and seventies. Their “New Mexican Rose” is a love song performed in the group’s classic doo-wop style.
Their strong harmonies, led by Frankie Valle’s falsetto, are as impressive as ever on this track, which describes a man’s love for a Mexican girl he met in New Mexico.
It’s a simple and short song, but “New Mexican Rose” has a universal message of love and longing that everyone can understand.
9. “Corner Of The Heart” By Colin Raye
Floyd Elliot Wray, professionally known as Collin Raye, was one of the most popular country hitmakers of the 1990s. His songs were memorable, well-written, and full of emotion.
“Corner of the Heart” is a song about a man falling more deeply in love with his partner. It describes how two hearts, when falling deeply in love, meet in the middle and form a “corner of the heart.”
While this song isn’t specifically about New Mexico, the singer mentions his home in Albuquerque and how the foliage there makes him think of his flourishing love for his woman.
10. “Arriba Nuevo Mexico” By Roberto Griego
New Mexico was initially a Spanish settlement. It makes perfect sense that this song praising the state is sung in Spanish. This version is by Roberto Griengo, a Hispanic New Mexican singer and songwriter.
The lyrics are a pure celebration of New Mexico and the singer’s family history in the state. The translation of the lyrics mention many cities and towns in the state, as well as natural wonders like the Sandia Mountains.
It’s a lively, happy song that projects the feelings of joy and pride that the singer has for the state of New Mexico.
Summing Up Our List Of New Mexico Songs
Western states like New Mexico have always drawn people from around the world. The state’s mysterious air, sense of adventure, and freedom make it the perfect place to explore, transform yourself, or start your life anew.
New Mexico is a desert paradise, a cowboy’s playground, a lover’s haven, and so much more. These songs reflect the many faces of the state, and the multiple perspectives and experiences people have had with it.
How about you? Have you ever visited New Mexico? What are some of your favorite songs about it?