Several years ago, The Accidentals, a musical trio comprised of native Michiganders, needed additional funds in order to mount a tour, so they asked their fans for donations. In exchange for contributions of a certain lofty level, the band offered to write a song on a topic of the donor’s choosing.
A man named Mark from Ludington asked the trio to write a song about Michigan. What resulted was the sweet, glorious “Michigan And Again,” a title that, in a just world, would replace the benign “Pure Michigan” as the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s tourist-tempting slogan.
Why is this treasure of a tune from @moreaccidentals not the state slogan AND song, @GovWhitmer? Would be great to see you make that happen, like any true leader would. It blows "Pure Michigan" to smithereens. @BrianWeimer7 @Rafeboogs https://t.co/Q7kr8EnlOH
— Mike Seely (@mdseely) April 14, 2023
The Accidentals’ primary collaborators, Katie Larson (pictured above) and Savannah Buist, met in high school in Traverse City. The first time I visited Michigan, I ventured to that municipality with my wife, who was reared near Detroit. It was Thanksgiving weekend. Perched at a friend’s parents’ pad high above Lake Michigan, the scenery was breathtaking. Pure Michigan, indeed.
As a slogan, however, it’s not so catchy. Nor is the Michigan Lottery’s tagline, “For Fun. For Schools.” To this end, the lottery’s player relations manager, Jake Harris, told MI Bets, “I’m not aware of any plans to explore a Lottery theme song, and our tagline fits the agency well, since all Lottery proceeds go to the School Aid Fund.”
That’s perfectly accurate, and supporting schools is a strong selling point. But in terms of bolstering both tourism and participation in legal gambling, “Michigan And Again” commands the listener to come back for more, which suits the state’s objectives snugly.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board is not in the slogan/theme song business, as its spokesperson, Mary Kan Bean, told MI Bets, “The MGCB will leave it up to the Michigan legislature and the governor to pick the state song and to the casinos to choose their own theme music.”
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office did not respond to MI Bets’ request for comment.
I’ve lived in Seattle for all but four of my 48 years. I know natural beauty when I see it, and Michigan is a foxy specimen.
In spite of this, Michiganders like nothing more than to flee the Wolverine State for greener pastures, even if the pastures literally can’t get any greener than those in their birthplace. This explains why, when I half-jokingly proposed the alt-slogan “Take a Michigander” to a man from Saginaw several years ago, he took it for a double entendre.
Yet even as they decamp to far-flung locales, Michiganders, for the most part, decline to dis their home state. To the contrary, they tend to revel in reminiscing about its charms. Gather more than one Michigander around a barroom table (preferably with a pitcher of Bell’s) and you’ll see Springsteen’s “Glory Days” spring to life in spoken form.
Rife with local touchstones and crisp, two-part harmony, “Michigan And Again” will make these Michiganders wonder, “Why did I ever leave?” And, sure enough, the song’s most moving stanza goes as follows:
Home is where you left your heart behind
Even fortified fossils dissolve over time
When I came home, I went down to the lake
My dad told me he counts up the days
And when I packed my bags, coffee stains of jet lag
There were conifers lining the driveway, whispering
“Stay, stay, stay, stay, stay
Stay, stay, stay, stay, stay”
Stay, of course, rhymes with play. And as The Accidentals’ song reminds us, Michigan is “Canada’s daughter.”
Flattering Canadians is smart, considering how close in proximity Detroit’s casinos and Michigan’s mobile sportsbook and iCasino offerings are to America’s northerly neighbor. Cross the border to gamble, again and again.
Whatever impulsiveness this encourages is balanced out by the sentimentality and sincerity of the song. Michigan is special, a place worth supporting. And that support can be as simple as taking a penny’s edge to a scratcher.
Photo: Scott Legato/Getty Images