Nebraskai/nəˈbræskə/ is a state that lies in both the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. Its state capital is Lincoln. Its largest city is Omaha, which is on the Missouri River. The state is crossed by many historic trails and was explored by the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The California Gold Rush brought the first large numbers of non-indigenous settlers to the area. Nebraska was admitted as the 37th state of the United States in 1867. The climate has wide variations between winter and summer temperatures, and violent thunderstorms and tornadoes are common. The state is characterized by treeless prairie, which is ideal for cattle-grazing. It is a major producer of beef, as well as pork, corn, and soybeans. The largest ancestry group claimed by Nebraskans is German American. The state also has the largest per capita population of Czech Americans among U.S. states.
Nebraska's name is derived from transliteration of the archaic Otoe words Ñí Brásge, pronounced [ɲĩbɾasꜜkɛ] (contemporary Otoe Ñí Bráhge), or the OmahaNí Btháska, pronounced [nĩbɫᶞasꜜka], meaning "flat water", after the Platte River that flows through the state.
Sparsely-recorded on a cassette-tape Portastudio, the tracks on Nebraska were originally intended as demos of songs to be recorded with the E Street Band. However, Springsteen ultimately decided to release the demos himself. Nebraska remains one of the most highly regarded albums in his catalogue. The songs on Nebraska both deal with ordinary, blue collar characters who face a challenge or a turning point in their lives, but also outsiders, criminals and mass murderers, who have little hope for the future - or no future at all, as in the title track, where the main character is sentenced to death in the electric chair. Unlike his previous albums, very little salvation and grace is present within the songs. The album's uncompromising sound and mood, combined with its dark lyrical content has been described by a music critic as "one of the most challenging albums ever released by a major star on a major record label."