The penultimate episode of the first season of Ben Arthur’s SongWriter podcast premieres on Paste today (Oct. 22) ahead of its Oct. 29 official release. Episode 11 features poet Patricia Lockwood reading from her trenchantly funny memoir, Priestdaddy, with a response in song by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Sasha Dobson, who is a member of the alt-country group Puss ‘n Boots alongside Norah Jones. The episode was recorded live at Joe’s Pub in New York City in June of 2017.
The chapter read by Lockwood, “Hart and Hind,” recalls her eccentric, blustering and shameless Catholic priest father taking her brother on an unsuccessful hunting trip with unflinching humor, especially when her brother’s overexcitement culminates in a scatological accident. Struck by Lockwood’s strained, complex relationship with her father, Dobson took the opportunity to reflect on her positive memories of her own father and his influence on her creative life in a tender ballad, “Cross on My Heart.”
Arthur notes the “stark tonal shift” of the episode in a statement:
This was one of the first SongWriter shows I organized, and I was so excited to work with Patricia, since her book had me snort-laughing all summer. And I love how Sasha’s song is such a stark tonal shift, as the subject of family has very different connotations for her. This episode was a lesson to me in how distinctly a given work of art can resonate within each of us.
Arthur also wrote a song in response to “Hart and Hind” back in 2017, which appeared on his album American Castles and Lockwood requested be written from the perspective of the deer in the chapter. Arthur’s “Hart and Hind” can be heard here.
Listen to episode 11 of SongWriter via NoiseTrade here. The final episode of the season will feature flash fiction from Anna North and a song by rapper Miss Eaves.