‘Down Across the Delaware,’ James McMurtry




Texan singer-songwriter James McMurtry looks at New Jersey from the perspective of an outsider in his “Down Across the Delaware.”

His protagonist is a Southerner, living in New Jersey or New York (or maybe living in New Jersey and working in New York). Anyway, he’s tired of urban life, and the cold of a Northeast winter, and looking to get out. He pledges to rent a U-Haul truck, pack up his stuff and drive south on the Turnpike, across the Delaware River, into Pennsylvania or Delaware, “Where the Garden State gives way to the real world … We’ll mend our wounds and wait out the winter, down across the Delaware.”

McMurtry released the song on his 1995 album, Where’d You Hide the Body. Below is a YouTube video of him performing it in a radio station studio in 2009.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.


Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


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