Paste’s partnership with singer-songwriter Ben Arthur’s storytelling podcast SongWriter, in which writers and musicians share stories and songs responding to those stories, respectively, isn’t over just yet: Though SongWriter’s first season concluded in early November with its 12th episode, Arthur and company are serving up an added bonus episode, premiering right here at Paste today (Nov. 21) ahead of its official release on Tuesday, Nov. 26. The extra episode features bestselling author Jonathan Lethem reading his story “Vivian Relf,” with songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill performing the song she wrote in response to it. Arthur and Lethem wrote a response song of their own, as well, which you can also hear today—the track will appear on Arthur’s forthcoming album Perspective.
“I’ve been a fan of Jonathan’s work for years, and have enjoyed the opportunity to write a few songs with him, so was really excited to do a performance together for SongWriter,” Arthur tells Paste. “He invited his friend Cindy Lee Berryhill to write a song in response, and Jonathan and I wrote a song for the performance, as well. I love hearing how the music of Jonathan’s story bleeds into both the songs in different ways.”
Previous episodes of SongWriter to premiere at Paste have featured Anna North and Missy Eaves, Patricia Lockwood and Sasha Dobson, Rita Mullaney and Byron Isaacs of The Lumineers, Kurt Andersen and Vienna Teng, and Rick Moody and Xenia Rubinos. Season 1’s stacked lineup of authors and artists has also included Susan Orlean, Gary Shteyngart, Elissa LeCoque, Deborah Copaken, Tommy Siegel (Jukebox the Ghost), Dolan Morgan, Emily Hope Price, Joyce Carol Oates, Ted Leo, Roxane Gay, Aya Aziz and Arthur himself.
Listen to today’s bonus episode of SongWriter via NoiseTrade here, and hear Arthur and Lethem’s “Vivian Relf” here. “Jonathan Lethem + Cindy Lee Berryhill” premieres across digital podcast platforms on Tuesday, Nov. 26.