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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.

Rupert Wates on the Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour

Rupert Wates
Wild Rose Moon
Rupert Wates

Reservedly measured in his choice of words, Oxford-bred singer-songwriter, Rupert Wates brings his English wit to bear in this week’s episode of the Wild Rose Mood Radio Hour. Drawing from a hefty catalogue of work and a huge raft of musical influences, Rupert graces the show with a moving presentation of five beautifully rendered ballads in the spirit of fellow Englishman, John Renbourn. Laying down a beautiful tapestry of arpeggiated notes, Rupert delivers his songs with a kind of intimacy, sharing each song as a special secret for each of his listeners. It is a style of performance that is disarmingly personal and lends his literary songwriting a unique sense of heart.

During the show he reflects on attending Oxford, his work as an actor, growing up with a musical twin brother, working on a jazz album with his friend, Liz Fletcher, and the stories behind each of his songs. Early in the program he explains his approach to songwriting: “I base a lot of my songs on reading texts. I pick up a lot of my sense of imagery from them. I don’t so much as tell the story of what I am reading, I write about a moment in the story and describe what’s going on with that.” In the song, “The Sea,” he recounts an old English Folk tale, which tells the story of a woman who “Follow (s) the river to the sea,” awaiting the sailors as they return home with gifts, in exchange for her love. His next song is from a story of his wife’s charity organization, “Realize Your Beauty,” a group that promotes positive body image to youth through theatre art. The song, “The Ballad of the Brown-Eyed Girl,” tells the story of a girl who spends three days on a desert island and instead of embracing the loneliness of the place she engages the island around her by writing in the sand, singing a song, and planting a rose.

During the second part of the show, South Bend songwriter, Mark Snell reads two poems from the latest book of poems and stories from writer, Luke Wallin. An author of award-winning young adult novels suffused with lessons from the natural world, the poems reflect this self-same understanding. The Night We Called the Owls and Community Moon both convey this deep sense of gratefulness for humans being alive on a wondrous planet.

In the third section of the show, Rupert sings his song for the veterans of World War I called “Floran to the Beam,” which tells the moving story of a makeshift war memorial that still exists in a pub in England. As the soldiers went off to war, each would nail a penny to the roof beam to be retrieved upon their return. Of course, twenty-five of them are still nailed to the beam to this day, thereby creating the tribute to those who lost their lives. The next song, “Guinevere,” recounts the moments near the end of Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur (1469 CE), when Lancelot attempts to retrieve his love from the nunnery - but, as the original story goes, he is turned away. The show concludes with one of troubadour Wates’ most beautiful songs, “Further Down the Road,” a song that blesses the audience with good wishes as the songwriter takes his bow.