It’s a thing I made about another thing I made where I ask guests to come on and talk about the other thing I made with me. The album, and the podcast about the album, represent the last 4 years of my creative life. I never really imagined I’d make a podcast, but it just kind of seemed like the right thing to do for this particular album. And after experiencing the way Pádraig Ó Tuama is able to illuminate and access the depths of each poem he explores in Poetry Unbound (can’t recommend it highly enough, btw) it became possible to imagine a podcast about an album could do something similar. So, I went for it. And my buddy Jason joined me on this journey, pouring so much heart, love, and care into producing, scoring, editing, and mastering each episode. He’s made this podcast something I never could have on my own.
One thing I didn’t anticipate about making this podcast: the way having all these conversations would help me continue to process the fallout of the Mars Hill experience. What a gift it has been to hear the perspectives of each guest, and to dive into the songs together. At times for me it’s felt like we’re recovering fragments and pieces of what’s been lost - like the richness and beauty of community in the early days at Mars Hill (which truly was amazing). I went into this process not really knowing how it would go, whether I could carry a conversation, and came out so grateful for these people who gave their presence and reminded me how important and healing mere presence can be.
So I have a favor to ask: If you’ve been listening, would you reply to this email and let me know how it’s going? I’d love to hear how you’re experiencing these conversations.
Jeremiah Webster’s happy place is a giant Hogwartsian library. Domed ceiling, multiple levels, the coziest light, and teeming with curious people pouring through the pages of poets and philosophers looking for magic. The kind of magic that animates the imagination in the pursuit of the good, the true, and the beautiful. Talking with Jeremiah, you’ll see what I mean. He’s always ready with a poem, recited (or more accurately, relished) from memory, to elevate the conversation. I asked him once how he has all these poems committed to memory, and he gave me a simple answer I wasn’t looking for, “It makes for a rich inner life.” I believe him.
We chat about the difference between being jaded and cynical, the importance of language in songs intended to be sung by many, and he sends us off with the last two stanzas of Auden’s September 1, 1939.
Check out Jeremiah’s book of poems After So Many Fires, and read his latest works at Mockingbird.
Tim Wilson doesn’t always quote Def Leppard songs spontaneously, but when he does, he does it with a seriousness and gravitas that transports statements like I’m hot, sticky sweet, from my head to my feet. Yeah! into fodder for a serious discussion on the existential patience required while enduring the long everyday mundanities that occur between life’s few mountain-top moments. It’s true. He does it in this episode.
If you don’t know Tim, he’s the lead singer and songwriter in Seattle indie band Ivan & Alyosha. We chat about I&A’s new record, the many months of waiting, waiting, waiting that happen between when an album is written/recorded, and when it is released; how When Will My Day Come might be the least rock & roll concept ever, and how living in the Halflight necessitates a sort of deeper waiting for all things to be made well.
Okeydokey. That’s it for now. Talk soon…