Monday, October 5, 2020 at 9 PM
Over the course of 38 episodes, John Bahler has shepherded the Wild Rose Moon Radio Hour with his sprightly cross-picking, spirited singing, and remarkably fun theme music for the show’s various segments—Shoot the Moon Quiz Show, A Moment with Nate, and the Mt. Olympus Radio Hour intro. As the music producer of the show, John is responsible for introducing traveling artists to the show’s theme and has from time to time played in the guest spot of our program. This show was different as he was the featured artist.
Marshaling a hollow-body, Cort guitar (once owned by area musician, Bill Wagoner), John demonstrated his songwriting skills with four remarkable songs, each with a host of different influences, each containing beautiful lyrics and a unique and distinctive sound.
The first of these songs, Snowfall in Autumn, recounts a fleeting moment of time that helps John express the temporal fragility of life through its fleeting natural images. The song captures the feel of a Hoagie Carmichael tune and eases into the lyric like a lullaby: Snowfall in Autumn/dusting yellow leaves/a morning light hangs in the midst/a moment of relief.
Moonlight, John’s next song, was composed initially as the short theme music for Wild Rose Moon’s streaming program of the same name. Inspired by Moonlight producer, Ryan Mear who viewed the program as something creative rising from the ashes of COVID darkness, John sings: I live in chains and the nights are long/ hit my pillow without a song/but tonight we rise up/from where we are/find the melody beneath the stars—Maybe it seems like a deep dark night, but follow me, follow me outside, into the moonlight.
John’s work with troubled teens fueled the development of his third song concerning a young ward who passed away too early—unable to live out a full life. Though he was a troubled soul—so taken to the waterfall/His 15 years had not been kind/but rivers give us peace of mind. Here the guitar’s bass notes function like a gentle heartbeat that ebbs and flows through the piece, its nursery rhyme simplicity fits perfectly with the entreat of the chorus: A life is a frail thing—ever on the edge of breaking, a life is a beautiful thing, a life is a frail thing.
John ends his set with an early song from his college days involving memories from the last day of an important relationship: Who am I to call this day disaster? Who am I to try and turn the tide? Maybe there’s a reason why it’s all over now? Who am I to say it’s not alright? As the questions unfold, much is revealed concerning John’s searching and inquisitive mind—never failing to unveil a new song just around the corner. Throughout the show, John talks earnestly about his craft, casually quotes Wordsworth, and shares his beautiful music. It’s a remarkable show you won’t want to miss.
The middle of John’s show features a Ralph Waldo Emerson poem read by the fannouncer, Jacob Moreno, and a poem by Cindy Boener (who plays harp), read by Cindy Davis. Ryan Mear is also on hand to share a beautiful ballad about a mystical woman who walks into a bar and sings a strange song that everyone seems to know—much to the amazement of the barkeep.