Song of The Week: The Need To Believe by Joy Mills | inspired by the poetry of Gabriela Denise Frank

In November of 2012 Bushwick teamed up with Jack Straw Productions to create original music inspired by the Jack Straw Writers Anthology 2012. For this event, each Bushwick artist was paired with one of the writers from the Anthology.  And it was the poetry of Gabriela Denise Frank that inspired Joy Mills to write this song.

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“The Need to Believe” by Joy Mills | inspired by the poetry of Gabriela Denise Frank

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Song of the Week: Some People by Alice Howe |Inspired By Jim Bouton’s Ball Four

220px-BallFourThe Bushwick  song of the week was inspired by one of the most critically acclaimed sports books of all time Jim Bouton’s Ball Four.

Published in June of 1970, Jim Bouton’s “tell all behind the scenes style” story about his 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots was pretty controversial for the time.  So much so that then Major League Baseball  commissioner Bowie Kuhn issued an official statement declaring that “Ball Four” was “detrimental to baseball.

Bushwick performed original music inspired by Jim Bouton’s Ball Four at Columbia City Theater on October 13th 2014.  Alice Howe was one of the many talented artists  that night who read the book, wrote a song inspired by it, and played it live for house full of readers.

Her tune is called “Some People” and you can listen to it below (or even download it for FREE!).

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Song of the Week: The Golden Key by Galen Green | Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland

This week’s Bushwick Song of the Week is a bluegrass tune written a few years back by Galen Green. It’s titled The Golden Key and was inspired by Lewis Carroll’s  Alice In Wonderland. Here is what Galen had to say about his inspiration behind the song:

I was listening to a lot of bluegrass and old-timey music at the time I wrote that song. Ralph Stanley, murder ballads, that sort of thing. I really enjoy the language in bluegrass music. It can sound fancy and flowery, but really plain at the same time. It usually has a strong narrative. Plus there are certain lyrical motifs and metaphors that always pop up, like traveling, alienation, despair, longing, salvation, damnation, the promised land, and of course getting really drunk. I thought Alice In Wonderland – a book about a young girl getting lost, eating magic mushrooms, carousing with disreputable creatures, finding a hidden magic kingdom, pissing everyone off, nearly being executed, and finally finding her way back home before anyone noticed she was missing – was a bluegrass song waiting to happen. After that, it pretty much wrote itself. The only problem was that I could fit just a single chapter of the book into my song, so it might work better as some sort of bluegrass-opera concept album.

— Galen Green

Did someone just say “bluegrass-opera concept album?!” That sounds incredible. I’m really hoping that happens at some point. But until then, check out Galen’s fantastic song below —  plus you can download it for FREE. It was recorded live on January 6, 2012 at the Fremont Abbey.

Don’t forget to download it. It is FREE! Just click on the blue “download” link below and you’ll be all set.

For more info about Galen Green visit his website —


Song of The Week: Making Me Beg by MoZo | Inspired by Timothy Egan’s Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher

short-nights-of-the-shadow-catcherLast fall Read and Destroy went on a mini-tour through the Timberland Library system, performing a program of tunes we’d written inspired by Timothy Egan’s “Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis”.

The book is a biography of Curtis (1868-1952), who spent decades tirelessly working on his 20 volume series “The North American Indian”.  As Wikipedia so conveniently describes:

Curtis’ goal was not just to photograph, but to document, as much American Indian (Native American) traditional life as possible before that way of life disappeared. He wrote in the introduction to his first volume in 1907:The information that is to be gathered … respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost.” Curtis made over 10,000 wax cylinder recordings of Indian language and music. He took over 40,000 photographic images from over 80 tribes. He recorded tribal lore and history, and he described traditional foods, housing, garments, recreation, ceremonies, and funeral customs. He wrote biographical sketches of tribal leaders, and his material, in most cases, is the only written recorded history although there is still a rich oral tradition that documents history.

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Song of the Week: Don’t Put Yourself Down by Sean Morse | inspired by L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Imagine you just got hit in the head with something that might have been part of your house. Imagine you’re a young woman in blue and white checked gingham. Imagine your friends have extremely limited powers of self-reflection. You just want to help, so you tell them everything you love and respect about them, the things they themselves can’t seem to see. Then they sing along in glorious harmony and agreement at how awesome they are. This is the story of Dorothy’s friends, and how they learned to love themselves.

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Song of the Week: Let Me Go by Vince Mtz. | inspired by H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine

After reading H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine I was inspired by two main concepts:

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Song of the Week: The Stance by Wes Weddell | inspired by Nick Wong’s essay entitled A Fight for Shared Spaces

Bushwick’s annual collaboration with the Jack Straw Writers Program has become one of my favorite shows of the season, with a different songwriter paired with each writer to produce a song inspired by the different pieces (which range from fiction to poetry to journalism to memoir and beyond in any given year). In 2012 I drew wandering pugilist Nick Wong, who had contributed an essay titled “A Fight for Shared Spaces” about his experiences in boxing gyms across Latin America.

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Song of the Week: Dish’s Lament by Ryan H Barber | inspired by Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove

The first time I heard Dish’s Lament by Ryan H Barber I was at Slim’s Last Chance Saloon. It was beautiful late summer day. Everyone was outside in the courtyard, eating chili and listening to the Bushwick artists perform songs inspired by Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove. There weren’t enough wooden benches to go around. I ended up sitting on the dirt steps next to a girl who I was in love with at the time.

A few weeks earlier she broke my heart. She really crushed me. I sat by her anyways. Ryan took the stage and played his song.

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Song of the Week: Cool To Be Weird by Tai Shan | inspired by Dr. Seuss

I remember my father reading Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches and Other Stories to me as I lay on the floor and colored one night for reading time. Reading was always a nightly event. It started when my mother would leave to work the night shift and would go until my brother and I would fall asleep in our crayons. When The Bushwick Book Club Seattle asked me to write a song inspired by one of Dr. Suess’s stories I told the curator, Geoff Larson, that I’m a late addition to the show so let everyone else choose their favorite story and I will take what’s left. The Sneetches was the last picked mostly because it shirted around issues like segregation and bigotry, some of our darkest parts of society.

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Bushwick Song of the Week: Monster by Don Hopwood | inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” is one of my favorite books of all time. Getting the opportunity to write and perform a song inspired by this book was a lot of fun. I wrote it from the perspective of my favorite character, the monster. A creature created hideous and grotesque on the outside, yet kind and innocent on the inside. The story of how the wretch truly became a monster is a heartbreaking tale. Only through the torturous events and cruel treatment from the “beautiful” people in the world did the aberration become vile and murderous. Rather than focusing on the crimes that the monster committed, my song’s inspiration comes from the crimes it suffered.

Check out the video below. Enjoy!

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