11 Of The Best Songs About Oregon: Beaver State Playlist

Written by Laura Macmillan
Last updated

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to visit or grow up in Oregon? Perhaps you’ve envisioned the western scenery, people, or what it’s like to pass through.

From hits from country music pioneers to contemporary pop artists, listen to each song from start to finish as unique stories unfold! So, sit back, relax, and enjoy 11 tunes from the people who know Oregon best!

1. “Lumberjack” by Johnny Cash

First up, we have the legendary Johnny Cash! Although he grew up in Kingsland, Arkansas, he sang “Lumberjack” in 1960. But, it was originally written and recorded by Leon Payne.

The song depicts a young boy growing up in the small town of Roseburg, Oregon. Finally, a 16-year-old boy and his father arrive at a camp, where he soon learns the ropes of what it takes to be and feel tough while surrounded by lumberjacks.

From timber to staying out of the woods in low moisture and working all hours of the day and night, collecting money sure is hard work!

2. “Portland, Oregon” by Loretta Lynn

Next, we have Loretta Lynn’s “Portland, Oregon.” The song was recorded in 2004 with Jack White (of the White Stripes) based on Loretta’s real life.

While she’s from Kentucky, Portland Oregon is where she pretended to have an affair with Cal Smith. So naturally, the song is about making her husband jealous, as he was her guitarist!

Years later, after the incident, Lynn rediscovered old handwritten songs, and “Portland, Oregon” was one of them. The song became a hit and an international single for countries such as Germany and Australia.

But unfortunately, she lost her mind in Oregon and had too much fun. “Pour us one more drink and a pitcher to go.”

The following year in 2005, the song won a Grammy Award for being the Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. “Portland Oregon” was Loretta’s second Grammy.

3. “Eugene Oregon” by Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is a legend raised in Tennessee. However, her song “Eugene Oregon” describes a particular location dear to her heart.

Parton describes how she’ll never forget the town of Eugene, Oregon, and the kindness she found when feeling low and homesick.

However, Dolly found inspiration and strength to continue and essentially dedicated a transformative experience to the Oregon location. So much so that she’ll remember it for the rest of her life!

Overall, it’s hard to find genuine love and support; when you see it, you better hold on tight! One thing is for sure, the people of Eugene, Oregon, have your back!

4. “Oregon Trail” by Woody Guthrie

Woody Guthrie was an influential folk-singer pioneer born in Oklahoma but later moved to Oregon.

With songs like “This Land Is Your Land,” he inspired millions and left a mark on American culture. Guthrie sang many ballads about economic downfalls and the war.

The song “Oregon Trail” came out in 1962 about leaving your old life behind and starting a new journey while working towards a bright future.

As the song goes, “I’m gonna hit that western road, I’m gonna hit that Oregon Trail this comin’ fall.”

5. “Coming Home” by Mat Kearney 

Next up, we have Mat Kearney’s newer 2015 tune, “Coming Home,” in which he talks about the scenery and coffee growing up in Oregon. As he mentions the catchy lyrics, “I left my heart in Oregon.”

Matt Kearney is a Nashville-based singer from Eugene, Oregon, with five top 20 hits. On top of that, his soulful voice has been featured on the famous hit show Grey’s Anatomy. Matt credits his home state for its solid community and nostalgia of Eugene, Oregon.

Also, his song “Coming Home” has over a million views on YouTube and continues to play during football games at Autzen Stadium. Go Ducks!

6. “Portland, Oregon (You’re My Home)” by Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen

This song is a 2011 feature of the television sketch comedy show “Portlandia.” Carrie Brownstein is from Seattle, and Fred Armisen is from Missouri but later moved to Portland.

The song features at the end of the show credits. Lyrics describe the Oregon town’s local shopping, vintage wear, biking, books, hippies, and farmers’ markets. Also, the bridge mentions how the people of Oregon are thankful for what they have in life.

While Oregon may be home to vegans, hillbillies, and forward thinkers, the people sure are thankful and probably a little more zen! As the tune goes, “Portland, Oregon, you’re my home.”

7. “Twin Rocks, Oregon” by Shawn Mullins

Next is “Twin Rocks, Oregon” by Shawn Mullins. Shawn grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. The song is on his 1998 album “Soul’s Core.”

The song details meeting an older man on a cliff in Twin Rocks, Oregon. Throughout the song, he spots a man. The nice man tells him stories about his life—everything from wine, women, and even the county jail.

However, everything became clear to both of them while enjoying the simple things in life, like the beautiful scenery of the Twin Rocks around them. It’s hard getting rich, but taking time to see the sunset view is worth so much.

8. “Portland Water” by Michael Hurley

Michael Hurley is a folk singer who grew in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s. His song “Portland Water” was first released in 1976. Although Hurley grew up in Pennsylvania, he lived in various locations, including Vermont, Ohio, California, and Florida. However, Oregon is also a part of that list, where he still resides today!

The song emphasizes the Portland rain, the canyon overlooking the river, and not to mention the cold wind blowing!

Between the great hillside and people all around, and where the injuns died. However, the song is quite catchy! “It sure is rainin’ here in the state of Oregon.”

9. “Oregon Girl” by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, also known as SSLYBY, is a pop band from Missouri that united in 2005. Their song “Oregon Girl” was released in 2011.

The song is about having a crush on a girl from Oregon! Talk about young love never wanting to be far apart, even on a mountain. The piece depicts a girl kissing her lips, and although seeing the world, you haven’t met another Oregon girl!

Throughout the song, capture plans for the present and future! Finally, build a life and home together on a dreamy Oregon hill!

10. “Back to Oregon” by Broadway Calls

Broadway Calls is a punk band that’s part pop, originally from Rainier, Oregon. While the band has been around since 2005, their song “Back to Oregon” debuted in 2008!

“Back to Oregon” is all about seeing the world yet still finding your way back home to Oregon, where it all started. Home to rest your feet and get through the rough times. While you see the beautiful California waves, mountains, and deserts, going home will always be waiting.

As the song says, “I won’t feel home ’till I have Portland under my feet” and being around the familiar once again.

11. “Light Rail Coyote” by Sleater-Kinney

Last, we have Sleater-Kinney on the list with “Light Rail Coyote!” The girl rock band from Washington started in the early 90s. One of the members is Carrie Brownstein, who we mentioned earlier! Corin Tucker is the other lady in the group from Eugene, Oregon!

Written by both ladies, “Light Rail Coyote” is a love song dedicated to Oregon. The song ignited after reading an article about a coyote on the light-rail transit.

The song mentions meeting in a city with rivers, bridges, and streams. It’s also a place filled with bookstores and punk rockers, and diners to meet. So let this song take you back to your young glory days, awaiting the urge to branch out and have fun.” Big Oregon city draws you in,” after all.

Summing Up Our List Of Oregon Songs

From classic figures of our time to modern sounds and ballads, Oregon holds a special place in people’s hearts.

So feel the warmth and love, and embark down a new road of music, songs, and scenic adventures.

Discover pieces that take you back to the Pacific Northwest, from sips of coffee to mountain landscapes!

Did we miss any songs that you think need to be on our list? Lets 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.