Willi Carlisle decries “Life On the Fence: A NineVoltHeart interview

Willi Carlisle’s “Peculiar, Missouri” will be fully released in mid-July but we heard two of the three singles released on today’s show. We also talked about a myriad of things from punk to poetry, gay cowboy icons to masks and puppet theater. Along the way, we touched on pivotal events in Willi’s life including heading to the Ozarks to teach poetry, his discovery of square dancing, an intentional community called Meadowcreek, and we talked songwriting of course. Willi’s songs have stuck with me since I first heard him at 2021 Freshgrass Festival. His latest release confirms Willi’s claim that “folk music allows him to be as weird as wants to be” but listeners will hear the insanely clever turn of the phrase and imagery that remains long after the last note. We hear “Tulsa’s Last Magician” to open the segment and Willi dedicates the song to the many folks whose jobs and vocations are being phased out and replaced. “What the Rocks Don’t Know” from “To Tell You the Truth” is a spoken blues about many topics including Walmart, Conoco stations and “finding Jesus in a barbeque line”. The Ozarks that Willi has called home gets a reference in “Folk Art Masterpiece” and we finish with a dramatic personal song called “Life on the Fence”; a song about the difficulties of being a male bisexual in our culture. Willi Carlisle’s songs are personal yet universal; he just wants to love everybody. He’s a literate redneck with a heart. He always speaks his truth to anyone ready to listen. One of the most riveting and unique performers I’ve seen in many a year. Peculiar? Perhaps. But never Misery.

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