Note: I ended the 350 Jersey Songs project — 350 daily posts on songs by Jersey artists, or about some aspect of the state, or recorded here — in September. But there are, of course, more songs to write about. So here’s a bonus entry, on “Here’s to the State of New Jersey,” by Jim Testa.
Singer-songwriter Jim Testa, who previously skewered the city where he lives in the 350 Jersey Songs pick “(Everything Is Swell) in Weehawken,” turns his sights on the entire state in “Here’s to the State of New Jersey.” It’s an update of the Phil Ochs Civil Rights Era protest song, “Here’s to the State of Mississippi” — which Ochs updated himself, in the ’70s, as “Here’s to the State of Richard Nixon.”
The new song, from Testa’s new EP, American Spirits & Artisanal Cheese, is addressed directly to the state’s current governor. Testa sings in the opening verse and chorus:
Here’s to the state of New Jersey
Where bridges are the playthings of the powerful and vain
Commuting is a nightmare by car, bus or train
The Parkway and The Turnpike crumble with disdain
Raise the fares and the tolls, and never mind the pain
Here’s to the land you ripped out the heart of
Chris Christie, find yourself another place to be part of.
The song was written when Christie’s presidential campaign was still active. “I’d sooner vote for Frank Underwood, if it were up to me,” sings Testa, referring to the evil politician Kevin Spacey plays in the Netflix series, “House of Cards.”
Other topical songs on the EP include “I’d Like to Be a Christian,” about modern religious intolerance, and the punk-rock anthem, “(Mr. Trump) You’re Fired!” For information, visit jimtesta.bandcamp.com.
To see the 350 Jersey Songs, listed alphabetically by artist, click here.
On March 13, Crossroads in Garwood will host a benefit concert for NJArts.net, featuring artists from the 350 Jersey Songs list — including Testa — playing their songs as well as others from the list. The benefit’s Facebook event page is here.