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From historic downtown Plymouth, Indiana, where the Lincoln Highway and Michigan Road cross the banks of the beautiful Yellow River, it's The Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour. It airs the first Monday of the month at 7 PM on 88.1 WVPE.

Shiny Shiny Black Journeys through the Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour

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Shiny Shiny Black Journeys through the Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour
Nate Butler, the audio producer for the Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour, brought his own band to Wild Rose Moon for this episode of the program (recorded April 30th, 2022). The band, featuring his wife, Amber, on bass, vocals, and acoustic guitar, presented four of their soulful tunes on the program– each punctuated by the glorious, and often bell-like soundings of Nate’s beautiful “Electromatic” Gretch guitar. The guitar lives up to its name and is shiny in more than appearance as the instrument features the inventive “Bigsby,” sound bar. For those not familiar with a “Bigsby,” it is a feature built into the tailpiece of a guitar that allows the operator to use a lever to apply vibrato to the strummed strings. This effect enables the guitar to produce a veritable wall of sound–akin to having an orchestra strapped around one’s shoulders—enabling the often bell-like or buzz-saw sounding chords to rise and swell throughout the songs. The first tune dished up is titled, Another Way Up the Mountain. As the big Gretch serves up the booming melody, Sarah Haag (percussionist for the Ted Yoder band) thumps a steady pounding rhythm, and Simon Hurst adds swells from his Moog and Keys. The rock anthem unfolds–Amber’s bass, firmly grounding the proceedings, as Nate sings:
For a thousand days/We swung our picks in the Northern Face/Now our hands and hearts are broken/But we cannot look away . . . We’ll find another way . . . up the mountain, We’ll find another way . . . Hey, Hey.
The band’s second song, Hometown Stranger, is a perfect dystopian portrait, with the infused in young creatives in small towns all across the Midwest. And although the song feels as if it is sung to a person, the text reaches deeper to a more profound level of alienation, ala Exodus 2:22: I'm a stranger, in my own town. There are a thousand native tongues that I don’t understand. I’m a stranger in my own land, and from a million miles away, I can’t shout loud enough to reach you.
During the interview with host, George Schricker, Amber Butler reflected on songwriting and composition with her partner, “We have a lot of journey songs, it’s one of our themes.” Here with Me, follows, with Amber delivering a haunting vocal, backed up by a halting rhythm that makes her plaintive delivery almost eerie in its forthright language. “I’d like you here with me, another day. With you, I get a glimpse of life and another way.” It’s a love song, but one born of a journey that contains ongoing personal struggle, and like all the band’s songs, suggests a life that’s not easy, but one that is definitely worth it. See the Light, the final song of the band’s program is another big anthem and sort of an anti-gospel tune. Building up from a series of chimes from Nate’s effervescent guitar, it picks up with a steady heartbeat from Sarah’s drum kit, as he sings. Row, row your boat, life is just a dream; is this some cruel joke, to believe in things unseen? Have I wasted my whole life—chasing childish things? I really hope one day, I can see the light!
The tune builds and builds until it breaks into a cacophonous wail. I still believe in love. And pray for my enemies. And pray to God one day, I can see his light!
There’s a salient forthrightness in Shiny Shiny Black’s work that rises out of a certain kind of toughness of spirit. These songs and the questions and statements within them feel hard-earned and developed out of a personal tenacity to get life right and keep things honest. On that level, they bear witness to an inner humility that believes there is truth to be found inside of the simple journey of living and all the rough and tumble of it. Their work helps convince us of the virtue of this path and as anthems, they invite us to participate.
Included in the same show is a performance by the remarkable hammer dulcimer player, Ted Yoder. Inspired by watching a thunderstorm approach on a Spring day, Ted hammers home a piece that is both breathtaking and beautiful. Ted’s been called the “Bella Fleck” of the hammer dulcimer and it is easy to see why in this stunning example of his musical prowess. Ted’s performance is followed by Matt Scutchfield’s hosting of the Shoot the Moon quiz show, featuring a variety of questions related to the biography of Shiny Shiny Black. It’s all served up this coming Monday, July 4th, at 7 p.m. on WVPE 88.1 FM Public Radio. Wild Rose Moon radio bills itself as, “A Home for Humans,” although management is aware that some dogs follow our programming.