Tom Waits’ public persona might be that of a bourbon-swilling junkyard denizen clad in pork-pie hat and an A-shirt. But, thanks to Tom Waits Map, he can be seen as a world traveler too, or at least someone with a good Rand McNally hookup. The site, from Swedish web designer Jonas Norstrӧm, uses the magic of Google Maps to compile all references to any city, state or country mentioned by Waits in one of his songs. Click on a marker to see the lyric and/or song that references that location, plus the album it comes from. Planning a trip to England? Keep in mind the potential for heartbreak (“Had me a girl in England / She done split for the mainland” from “Had Me A Girl” on The Early Years, Vol.1). Portland might already be weird, but this is weirder: “Pasties and a g-string / beer and a shot / Portland through a shot glass / and a Buffalo squeeze” (from “Pasties And A G-String” from Small Change)?
Tom Waits Map also lets you view indexes that catalog the site’s content by place and by song. It’s a handy for trivia too, as you can see all the places Waits hasn’t mentioned in song, such as Canada, Russia and South America. If nothing else, the site is a handy reminder of Waits’ ability to ground his songs in actual locations, giving them a real sense of place.
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