Whether it's Chicago spilling out to Lake Michigan and down to Indiana, or St. Louis spreading into its southwest hump, Illinois is a state where most of the action occurs on the periphery. The Mississippi runs down its western side, while Lake Michigan blows its winds from the northeast. Davenport, Gary, Terre Haute, Dubuque, and St. Louis all lay on or near the Illinois state line.
While the Mississippi is America's river, could Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, be called the most American state? Aside from the Chicago Blues, the state may not be a hotbed of our nation's music. But if you want to hear some American music played in a purely American way, find someone from Illinois. Better yet, find someone from the interior - somewhere free from those border distractions, but inclusive of all that passes through Illinois. Because all that passes through Illinois is a pretty good distillation of America itself.