This page will not link to everything I write month to month. Instead, I’ll include a selection of stories from various publications, and especially those that were necessarily shortened for space. The original length will be posted here with a link back to the story as it ran in print, and wherever possible, credit will be given to the respective photographers, artists, etc.
Parker Millsap was in a van on his way to New York when he talked to us. He’s playing the AmericanaFest NYC at The Lincoln Center, and later this year, he’ll be touring with Sarah Jarosz. He’s busy because people are noticing that he is talented in a way that few are. In church, we would have called that gifting; it’s something God gives you. That’s how you talk about things in the Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal denomination in which Millsap (and I) grew up.
Much like the opening sequence of a movie in which the camera moves from a shot of the earth and then zooms in stages to a lone man on the corner of an intersection, the nationwide discussion of opioid addiction needs to move from the number—330,000 overdose fatalities and counting since 2011—to the young woman with a needle in her arm or a pill bottle on her nightstand.
Asking Krista Tippett, the host of NPR’s “On Being,” to give me the elevator pitch for her new book “Becoming Wise,” was probably not, in retrospect, the best idea. Tippett, the Brown- and Yale-educated professional interviewer and deep question asker, said, “I’m not great with elevator pitches.”
John Moreland writes sad songs. That observation seems to be the consensus of writers and reviewers when describing the Tulsa-based singer/songwriter. Even the Wall Street Journal followed the conventional wisdom in their June 30, 2015, profile of the artist, titling the piece The Sad, Sweet Songs of Oklahoma’s John Moreland.
Of all the ironies Randy Potts, grandson of Oral Roberts, lived through, this may be one of the greatest: “There’s a tremendous power in being an authentic human being, on being honest, according to one’s likes.” The words are Oral’s own, uttered to his faculty at Oral Roberts University in a chapel service in 1974. In fact, it was about three months before Potts was born to Oral and wife Evelyn’s youngest daughter, Roberta. The Roberts family would suffer tragedy more than once: their oldest daughter killed in a plane crash in 1977, and their oldest son, Ronnie, heir to the Roberts kingdom, appears to have committed suicide in 1982, six months after coming out to a Los Angeles pastor.