Around this time of last year I was looking online for our state song...I had been raised singing it (like all Nevadans) and wanted to hear some recordings and find out who wrote it. I was disappointed that I could find only a couple female vocal recordings of it out there, but in the process I discovered this gem of a story on how it came to be our state song. I reckon'd maybe it was time for another female recording of it. ;)
Growing up in Nevada was a magical experience for me. As a child, I loved its rugged desert landscape peppered with pine trees, golden sunlight bathing the earth and mountains at dawn, the lullaby of a coyote's howl at night outside my window, the smell of wet sage after rain, the power and beauty of the Truckee River, and the strong cool evening winds that became a game to lean into as a child. I was charmed by sunsets so epic they lit up and saturated the open sky with colors so fierce I could've sworn the sky was on fire.
The story behind how 'Home Means Nevada' came to be written is a charming one, so I'll share it with you for a bit of Nevada 101. In August of 1932, Bertha Raffetto stayed up late into the night writing the majority of this song (until 4am to be exact). She had accidentally marked her calendar wrong and discovered that the event she had been invited to sing a song about Nevada for – the annual picnic for the 'Nevada Native Daughters' held at Bower's Mansion – was the very next day. Months prior, she had determined to write a new song because she couldn't find a song that quite expressed her feelings about her home state.
With little sleep, the next day she sang her new song from the balcony of the Bowers Mansion. Governor Morley Griswold and former Governor Roswell K. Colcord, who were both attending, liked the song so much that Bertha recalled, "Former Governor Roswell propped his gold-headed ebony cane against the old square piano, removed his high topper from his leonine-head, and looking every inch the statesman, said to me, 'Honey, that's the prettiest Nevada song that I have ever heard. It should be made the State Song of Nevada!' And that's exactly what it became.
I hope you enjoy my personal take on this song I grew up singing as a child: Home Means Nevada
(And for my fellow Nevadans: I'm pretty sure you know the chorus by heart. Feel free to sing along).