Life 'Up On The Divide' Lures A Songwriter Out West | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Life 'Up On The Divide' Lures A Songwriter Out West

Play associated audio

For singer Martha Scanlan, the inspiration for the first song she ever wrote came on a trip to eastern Montana about 10 years ago.

"I had come out to this ranch for the first time to play at my friend's wedding," Scanlan says. "But I was so struck by the place, and I think I was just painting pictures of what I was seeing."

Even after she left, the place pulled at her for years — until she finally decided to make it her home.

"I was writing about things I didn't understand yet, I guess is the strange thing," she says. "Like how much the work ties you to the land, and all the stories that the work tells. There's one verse that says, 'Oh Charlie, he sold out and he lost everything / A '52 Chevy and a Navajo ring / Busted flat broken and split open wide / And the springtime's a comin' up on the divide.' "

Scanlan has now lived in Montana for 2 1/2 years. She says she spends a lot of time with her friend Irv, an octogenarian who lives on the same ranch where his grandfather homesteaded.

"I feel so genuinely blessed to have someone who's a friend and a teacher, and a very patient teacher," Scanlan says. "And that's the other thing about it — the importance of preserving agricultural lands like this, and that kind of heritage is that there's knowledge that people only gain by doing the work."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The Technology Of Books Has Changed, But Bookstores Are Hanging In

The debate over whether digital books are better continues. But in the age of Amazon, the number of independent booksellers is up. The revival is fueled, at least in part, by digital natives.
NPR

Bugs: Not What's For Dinner — Until They're Tastier, Maybe

A U.K. researcher says the environmental argument for eating bugs isn't working on its own. She says chefs and policymakers must "make insect dishes appeal as food, not just a way to save the planet."
NPR

Nebraska Lawmakers Override Veto; Abolish Death Penalty

Nebraska's governor had tried to veto a bill repealing the death penalty but the one-house legislature overrode the veto. Nebraska has executed only three prisoners since the 1950s, the last in 1997.
NPR

The Technology Of Books Has Changed, But Bookstores Are Hanging In

The debate over whether digital books are better continues. But in the age of Amazon, the number of independent booksellers is up. The revival is fueled, at least in part, by digital natives.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.