Monday, August 3, 2009

Patty Griffin is "Making Pies"



I spend an inordinate amount of time alone here in Terlingua, Texas. If not for bumping into my landlord when she walks her dog in the mornings I could go for days without any human contact or conversation. And apart from the chirping birds and the occasional clap of thunder, it’s also incredibly quiet here. (I’m not complaining, as I am hardly longing for the sounds of honking horns and sirens!) But there is a need for some kind of “noise” to provide stimulus. When Kurt Vonnegut died, National Public Radio’s obituary said “Vonnegut believed music is the meaning of life.” I took note and have allowed more music in my life ever since.

It is for these reasons I love listening to the radio. But a radio station in Terlingua, Texas is not your ordinary radio station!

KYOTE-FM – whose irreverent slogans include “Perhaps the best radio in Far Out West Texas” and “Community supported radio, strangely enough for THIS community” -- plays a diverse range of music. Unlike other radio stations that would have an hour (let alone an entire station) devoted to one genre, here on 100.1 FM, you can hear Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Foreigner, Dave Matthews Band, Dire Straits, Jackson Browne, Grateful Dead and some cowboy honky tonk – all within the same hour. The exciting thing is you never know what you’re going to hear next. Some days they play the same song three times in a row. Other days the power goes out and you hear nothing.

There is one artist – a female folk singer -- they play over and over. Her voice is distinct, somewhat haunting and sorrowful, but pretty, a voice that sticks with you. I didn’t know who it was for two months as they never announce the songs. (The upshot to this, of course, is that there are no interruptions – and no ads.) I finally emailed the radio station, which is run by a blind man who calls himself “Uh Clem.” Yes, it did occur to me that a blind man isn’t going to be able to read my email, but I sent it anyway, describing a few lyrics I had remembered, and asked if he could tell me who it was, and in return, as an avid listener, I would be happy to help support the radio in any way I could.

To my surprise I got a prompt reply (KYOTE radio is apparently not running on Terlingua Time!). “Patty Griffin is the artist you are hearing. To support us, you can buy t-shirts and bumper stickers at the Leapin’ Lizard art gallery. And in the fall we want to have a fundraiser for the station.” Fundraiser? My first thought is…..bake sale! Or maybe a pie auction! (Stay tuned.)

Meanwhile, I run into my neighbor, Ralph, who hosts his own radio show on KYOTE-FM on Thursday nights. “I am hearing you play a lot of Patty Griffin songs on your show,” I tell him.
“Yeah, she’s great. You know she has a song called ‘Making Pies,’ don’t you?”
“What?! I have to hear it!” I practically run home to get online and look up the song. I find it on You Tube, I go to save it in my “Pie” favorites folder, and wouldn’t you know it – it is already saved in there. This is one of the reasons my husband wants a divorce – my memory is terrible and it usually takes hearing information two or three times before it sticks in my little peabrain. Apparently, this annoys him.

Well, I won’t forget it now. I not only have two copies of “Making Pies” (which, sadly, is not the most uplifting song -- see the lyrics) on my computer, I now have an entire Patty Griffin album on my iPod. That way, the next time the power goes out and KYOTE-FM offers nothing but dead air space, I’ll have someone to keep me company and remind me there is indeed a meaning to life.

NOTE: KYOTE radio is doing a 30-day trial on shoutcast.com. To tune in online, go to www.shoutcast.com and search for KYOTE or Terlingua.

2 comments:

Pigmy said...

Pigmy Will here. thanks for sharing my pie video. we are of like minds. the world needs way more pies and happy pie days.

Here's who we are: alleewillis.com and prudencefenton.com (under construction at the moment).

If you are on facebook, please add the Pigmy as a friend and join his fan page. And then of course there is PigmyWill.com. pigmywill is going to tweet your blog today.

We will be putting 2 new Pigmy Will's up every week on youtube- With a lot more pies to come. Pies are his favorite subject.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Nick said...

Three days after my ex-wife and I had the big break-up moment, I saw Patty Griffin at the 2nd Austin City Limits festival. I'd seen her several times before, and had most of her music. It was a gray, drizzly day, my head was still spinning and I wasn't even sure which way was toward the ground. As Patty started playing "Making Pies", the rain increased to a steady thrum.

Standing in the middle of 6 or 8 thousand people, I bawled my head off for 4 minutes. In truth, it was probably somewhat longer. I don't remember the next couple of songs.

It was the first moment of catharsis after several months of torment. It took many more such moments to be able to move forward, but I'll always be grateful to Patty for that first step.

Beth, I know my loss was in no way comparable to yours, but "making pies" did help me as well. I still think of that song and that moment the few times each year that I make pies, and I still get a little choked up every time I hear the song, which I do fairly often here in Austin.