Hey. The Iowa Goatsinger is mounting a goatsinger show for the Artisan's Sanctuary.

A goatsinger show is a performance of shorter works -- songs, spoken word, staged pieces -- built around a particular theme. 

The title for this show is TAKE A BREATH. The show will be scheduled the Saturday after the election.

I'm contacting poets, spoken-word artists, songwriters, actors, and musicians. In the best possible scenario, we think it's best to cross-pollinate. For example, we've taken work in the past by Marty Christensen, by Sam Knutson, by Milk and Eggs, and scripted and staged them - like a single-song musical; we've had poets develop work inspired by a song chosen; we've combined songs with a trick cyclist.

Goatsinger shows clock in, typically, at around 70 minutes for the show-proper, followed by ten or fifteen minutes of singalong.

The show is scheduled to happen November 10th - the weekend following the election. Hence the theme.

A goatsinger has a sense of the tragedy - and so looks for the jokes. Let's put together something that inspires us all to keep calm and work together.

If you're interested in working with The Iowa Goatsinger in one form or another, or have questions that you need answer before you commit, please contact or call or text at 319-975-6255.

Much love,



a Few Goatsinger Scripts

“In Hank's Brain
A Goatsinger Tale for ‘Your Cheating Heart’”


And I'm thinking. And I'm walking. And I'm thinking. And you left and you were gone. And I'm walking in circles around the place where I used to think your heart was but apparently wasn't anymore, and so I was just walking in circles around my room thinking the rawest thoughts.

And I kicked the bed – boom! But that didn't make me feel better.

So I slammed the door – crack! And that didn't work either.

So I picked up a some lipstick you'd left sitting out and I threw it at the lamp – ponk! And that was just stupid.

So I held a pillow and I punched it. But that was all wrong. So I picked up your picture to punch it, and I couldn't. So I set it down, and I punched the door.

The pain made me so angry that I punched myself! And that felt closer to right, so I punched myself again. And then I punched myself one last time, and I knocked me straight out the window: Crrrashhh…!

And I fell down, down, down......through the trees – piff! pow! boof! –  and – thump! – right into the head of Hank Williams.

I got myself up on my feet there in Hank's brain and I saw the trees moving with the night breeze and the glow of the city over the Tennessee mountain like a promise, and I said, "Dammit, Hank, she left me."

And Hank Williams, sitting there in some motel room in Memphis or outside Nashville or Chattanooga, scratched his head and said, "I’m having the saddest thoughts."

And I walked in circles around Hank’s brain with the trees shaking in the wind and the glow of the city over the Tennessee mountain like the forest had caught fire over there, and I told him the story of where I figured she'd gone and why.

And Hank wiped his eyes and said, "I am truly having the saddest thoughts."

And there in old Hank's brain, I told him what I thought needed to maybe happen to her, that maybe someday she would know what this is like! And then she’d be sorry, her and her cheating heart!

And it was then, with the trees whipping around in this howling wind and the sky an explosion of fire, that good old Hank picked up his guitar and said, "I think I feel a song coming on!"

And he sat himself down on the edge of that motel bed and he wrote a song.

And there in Hank Williams brain, dancing and crying, this is exactly the way I heard it:









            (MAN WITH GUITAR sits on chair UP LEFT. YOUNG WOMAN onstage)



It was supposed to be a picnic at the park around the old quarry. I don't really know Mount Revere all that well, but I know I can get myself to the quarry.


I parked in the church lot there on the edge of the park and went walking down the street -- really, truly down. 


Right on the edge of the park there was a house -- grass overgrown, small statues set like garden gnomes, but gnomes in twisted shapes, and with teeth


And there was a man there -- did he have sideburns maybe? Maybe he just gave off that 1950s fortysomething-greaser-Jack-Kerouac-right-before-he-knew-he-was-retired kind of feel. A James-Dean-if-he'd-seen-forty look to him. Good-looking but kind of intense. 


I'm usually sort of like, "Hey… Hi!" -- but this guy?  I was more like, Nope-don't-see-you-so-you-don't-see-me kind of thing.


            (MAN begins playing an Em underscore with a slow 50s rock-n-roll beat)


Man. So once I step off the end of the street and past the fence posts they got up to keep the cars out, I realize: I'm going into woods, almost. Like: it's all shadowy and dark, and there's like: lots of places to hide.


It's five-thirty, maybe. It's Fall. And I'm thinking: La la la, my friends! They're all just going to be right here, right around this next....


And: nope! Not there.


So, I see the parking lot for the park, right? and there's only one car parked there and I don't recognize it. And it's -- the woods are kind of thick around the quarry. But there's a sign. It says TRAIL. 


So I'm thinking: Oh! they just went up the TRAIL. 'Kay! 


And off I go, straight into the most tangled, overgrown, leg-scratching path ever! 


I'm thinking poison oak, I'm thinking poison ivy, I’m thinking I need to move just a little faster, you know, just: get me out of here and fast, please! 


And then I see the edge-of-the-park guy -- the greaser-poet guy. Or maybe it wasn't him. Maybe it was just someone who looked exactly like him. 


He was wearing jeans -- all dirty and worked-over -- and a dusty, worn-out-looking tee-shirt that, well, he actually wore pretty well, but: hello?


And get this: no shoes. 


No shoes. No kidding. 


And there's no room on this path for the two of us. It's like five inches wide. Literally. 


And he sees me and he says:


(IG begins singing the first verse of "Li'l Red Riding Hood" by Ronald Blackwell -- but in a bass voice, very low and underneath what the YOUNG WOMAN is saying)




And just steps off the path -- just straight into all these plants and weeds and leaves and whatever was under all those plants and weeds and leaves -- god, I don't even want to think about it. And I just say, "Thank you," and keep right on going….la la la -- you're a weirdo fifties-beatnik-hippie-man even if you do look pretty good in that shirt.



            (under the above)

Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood

You sure are looking good

You're everything a big bad wolf could want


            (IG goes back to the Em underscoring)



La la la.  So yeah, then he was gone. 


And then suddenly I'm walking right out of the trail and back into the parking lot!  It was like: what the hell? It was just this little tiny loop! Where are my friends?


There's the sign saying TRAIL and I'm like: yeah, right.



            (YOUNG WOMAN pauses -- underscoring stopped)


Then I see the real trail


It's actually mowed back. Really wide. Spacious. No problem. If I'd've walked ten more steps I would've seen it. But no, I had to turn into the scary, hippie-man path. 


It's starting to get dark. Down the real trail I go. It's like: six o'clock, six-thirty. I get -- I don't know -- some fifty steps in and --



(with opening chord)

Hey --



There he is again. He just appears!


Now, here's the deal -- here's where my brain starts to go, okay? Listen: my mom always told me that men were more than capable of hurting a woman if they wanted --


But I didn't know if I want to be afraid just because Mom always figured I should.


But then, my Grandmother -- my Grammy -- she always told me that men would probably be more afraid of me than I would be of them. 


But I don't know if she ever considered a man who walked barefoot through the woods.


And this time: this greaser-poet guy doesn't say anything. He's up ahead -- not walking along the path, but cutting across it from left to right. He just shoots me this look and almost smiles. 


God: so what's he thinking?



            (singing bass, underneath the above)

-- there little Red Riding Hood

I don't think little big girls should

Go walking in these spooky old woods alone



Is he thinking:



What big eyes you have

The kind of eyes that drive wolves mad

So just to see that you don't get chased

I think I ought to walk with you for a ways



Or is he thinking:




What full lips you have.
They're sure to lure someone bad.


So until you get to grandma's place
I think I oughtta walk with you and keep you safe.



And I say. "What?"


And he says:



You shouldn't be out here by yourself.



And I’m like: I'm not. My friends are here.


And he's like: Oh, were those your friends? They're up in the field. 



Want me to take you?



And I'm like: nah! Pshaw! And then I'm like: which way? But he's gone already, still walking not on the trail. Plus, he's sort of walking on tiptoe. Makes me think of one of, well, honestly: werewolves. Shut up. That's what I was thinking; I can't help it! But he was already gone.


So where the fudge are my friends? 


And then this big wide trail suddenly goes tiny. 


Like: tiny-tiny. 


Like it was before. 


But this time it's like on a really tight ridge with all these roots and things to trip me up and it's going down suddenly really fast. There's the quarry on one side, just a single ker-plunk down, and I can see the highway on the other side. There's a big old eighteen wheeler blowing out its air brakes, and then the highway is gone and it's back to trees putting their arms heavy over me, and plants tight around my legs. 


It's getting dark and there's a werewolf-goatman-jack-kerouac guy wandering around off the path out here.


And I can't find my friends.


And there he is. Again. Criminently. I can see him through the trees on the edge of the water, looking this way and that, almost like he’s sniffing. No kidding. And then -- sploosh! – he splashes water and then he's moving, he’s like running right towards me. 


And it's, like:


All of a sudden, I'm hit with this -- I don't know -- this vision. I'm living in Grammy's house -- my Grandmother's house -- or something a lot like Grammy's house -- but I'm older, like half my life has been eaten up, like I'm forty or fifty; there's a doorway in our house between the kitchen and the living room, and from out of it walks this dude, this guy, and I don't know if he's a werewolf or not or what he is, but it's clear we've already been married a long time -- and he comes hopping through the door all goofy and stupid -- in from the kitchen -- and grabs me around the middle and he says:


What a big heart you have--



the better to love you with.

Little Red Riding Hood


Even bad wolves can be good.



Sometimes, you'll need to be satisfied

just to walk close by my side.


Maybe you'll see things my way before we get to grandma's place.



            (speaking over his last line)

There he is again. Jesus. And I'm all like: la la la -- I don't see you; tra la la! But he moved past me -- I felt the movement of his air, smelt the smell of him, and, baby, it was good! -- and then he was gone.


"Little Red Riding Hood"

by Ronald Blackwell



Hey, there little Red Riding Hood

You sure are looking good

You're everything a big bad wolf could want



            What big eyes you have,
            The kind of eyes that drive wolves mad.
            So just to see that you don't get chased
            I think I ought to walk with you for a ways.

            What full lips you have.
            They're sure to lure someone bad.
            So until you get to grandma's place
            I think I oughtta walk with you and keep you safe.


I'm gonna keep my sheep suit on
Until I'm sure that you've been shown
That I can be trusted walking with you alone.  (Owoooooooo! )

Little Red Riding Hood
I'd like to hold you if I could
But you might think I'm a big bad wolf so I won't.  (Owoooooooo! )



            What a big heart I have-the better to love you with.
            Little Red Riding Hood
            Even bad wolves can be good.
            I'll try to be satisfied just to walk close by your side.
            Maybe you'll see things my way before we get to grandma's place.


Little Red Riding Hood
You sure are looking good
You're everything that a big bad wolf could want.


            (end of tale)