by Genevieve Williams (New Colonist, 2005)

The city of Baltimore is something of an enigma. It’s not a popular film setting, unless you’re John Waters; it’s frequently overlooked in favor of such neighboring metropolises as Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. But in a way, that’s what gives Baltimore its charm. It’s a city where opera finds its roots as popular entertainment, where one finds a distinctly northern spirit despite Baltimore’s southern sympathies during the civil war; it’s a place that was once the home of H.L. Mencken and Billie Holiday. Despite its aristocratic roots–it’s named for the former proprietors of the Maryland colony–there’s something determinedly everyday about the city. At the same time, it’s keenly aware of its history, and songs about Baltimore tend to reflect this.

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