Do we sound a little verklempt this week? Our show is full of fond farewells, from Paul Simon’s goodbye tour to our own producer Aaron Scott’s departure for green “Oregon Field Guide” pastures. But it’s not all tears. Before Aaron goes, he’ll tell what he’s learned reporting on arts for the better part of a decade. We also chirp with the writer who followed Paul Simon’s life story and mix it up with one of the top practitioners of pop criticism working today.
Reconsidered: Johnny Cash’s “At Folsom Prison” Album at 50 - 1:08
Fifty years ago this month, Johnny Cash released an album that was unlike anything that came before it. Not for the music, but for the place it was recorded: California’s Folsom Prison. Two Portland artists wondered: are those songs still relevant to the incarcerated population today? So they put together the band Luther’s Boots to restage the concert at prisons around the state to find out.
To help fund their Folsom50 tour, they’re putting on two concert for those on the outside at Portland’s Polaris Hall May 20.
“When he talks about prison and doing time and stuff, it’s like he got it. It’s time away from everything that’s normal and natural to you, and Johnny seems like he got it.” — Patty Turner at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility
Pop Culture Talk with Chuck Klosterman - 8:33
If the first 18 years of the century have left you gasping for breath, take heart. The post-Avengers, post-Kaepernick, post-#MeToo, post-Beyonce era is not just an amazing time for pop culture; it’s also a golden age of pop culture critics. Chuck Klosterman is one of the best. His bracing essays on music and sports feature in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Esquire and Grantland (RIP).
Klosterman will read from his latest book, “Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century,” at Powell’s in Portland next week.
You can find our full conversation from Wordstock 2017 with Klosterman here.
“First you recognize that you find something compelling, either because you like it or it disturbs you … so you ask yourself, ‘Why is that?’ … and you just keep asking yourself that question until there’s no questions left.” — Chuck Klosterman
Paul Simon’s Farewell Tour - 19:17
This summer concert season is rife with acts doing farewell tours — Joan Baez, Elton John, Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) — but one of the most significant is legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon. His “Homeward Bound Tour” hits the Moda Center May 19. To send him off, we listen back to our interview with Peter Ames Carlin, author of the biography “Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon” at Wordstock 2016.
“Assimilating is Paul’s story. When you think about somebody whose career has been so wildly diverse … it’s all one assimilation after another.” — Peter Ames Carlin
Aaron Scott’s Greatest Hits - 30:32
It’s our bittersweet duty to inform you that this is “State of Wonder” producer Aaron Scott’s last week on the show. He’s staying at OPB, moving on to report and produce stories for “Oregon Field Guide.” We’re totally excited for him and couldn’t resist the chance to pull him in front of the mic one more time to talk about some of his favorite moments and trends he’s observed in the regional arts ecosystem as he’s reported on it for the better part of a decade.
Here are links to the stories we excerpt:
- A Day in the Life of Artists Rep’s ArtsHub
- opbmusic Session with the Last Artful, Dodgr
- “State Of Wonder” Travels The Path Of Totality
- Portland’s Indie Remix Pioneer, RAC, on His Grammy-Nominated Work
“Part of the reason I wanted to come work at Oregon Public Broadcasting was the Oregon part. I was so excited to get out and tell stories from around the state and the region. ” — Aaron Scott