On today's episode, three stories told in words and music. Producers Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister are the creators of Song + Story. They go out and record interviews and sound for a radio story, then they find the right musician to write an original song inspired by the recordings. The song becomes part of the storytelling.
The Natural State
There's a modern day gold rush in Faulkner County, Arkansas... this one, for natural gas. Since 2005, more three thousand natural gas wells have been drilled in the area. Each of these wells was hydro-fractured or “fracked,” a controversial technique in which millions of gallons of water – and some chemicals - are injected into the shale, breaking the rock and allowing extraction of embedded natural gas. In the town of Greenbrier the natural gas industry has benefited plenty of people. But in recent months, residents have had to contend with another, absolutely unexpected boom. A swarm of mysterious earthquakes began last fall along an ancient and heretofore unknown fault.
Musician Bonnie "Prince" Billy, also known as Will Oldham contributed an original song called "Mother Nature Kneels."
Loaves and Fishes
Since the 1930s, tourists have gathered just outside Linesville, Pennsylvania, to toss bread to a writhing stew of carp and ducks at the Linesville Spillway. The carp are so thick that mallard ducks literally hop, skip and jump on the fishes' backs to compete for a slice of bread. Famous worldwide as the place “where ducks walk on the fish,” the Spillway draw as many as a half million tourists a year, part of a small but critical tourism economy bolstered by the sale of day-old Wonder Bread from bread shanties that line local streets. But a few years back, the people of Linesville learned about some big changes planned for the spillway.
Musician Tim Fite contributed a song called "Bread in the Water."
By now, millions of migratory birds have coursed their way through the continental United States, and have arrived at their northern breeding grounds. But, as in years past, many birds did not complete their long journey. Hundreds of dead songbirds were picked up and stuffed into bags outside Baudette, Minnesota, a town of about a thousand people on the Canadian border. The producers travelled to Baudette to find out what happened.
They collaborated with the musical group Mountain Man, who contributed an original song.
All the stories in this episode were produced by Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister. You can find more stories at Long Haul Productions.
Note: This program was originally broadcast on June 7, 2011.