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Songs From the End of the Road
If you listened to Wednesday morning's show, broadcast live from the Fishtrap retreat in the heart of Enterprise, you heard briefly from Heidi Muller, a Fishtrap veteran who has taught songwriting workshops at the writers' July gathering. We caught up with Muller after the show, and she shared with us how Eastern Oregon informs and inspires her work.
Her reverence for the land of Eastern Oregon is reflected in the lyrics on Songs From the End of the Road, an album created with three fellow Fishtrappers and begun during a workshop in the summer of 2007.
"When I write songs, I use a great deal of natural imagery," said Muller. "It helps me evoke a sense of place." (Incidentally, "Sense of Place" was the title of a songwriting course she taught at Fishtrap in 2005.) That sense of place is palpable in Muller's song "In Wallowa":
Rivers and range land, rigs and four-wheelers
Redtails and cottonwoods, hounds and blue heelers
Glacial erratics, Terminal ale,
Rodeos, sled dogs, magpie and quail
On the same show, writer Pamela Steele said that her partner, a member of the Umatilla tribe, says to her at the end of each day, "Thank you for sharing this struggle." That same sentiment — of strength and satisfaction gained through weathering tough times — is echoed in the chorus of Muller's "In Wallowa":
It's hard but it's worth it to live on this land
There're no guarantees of a bird in the hand
We carve and we chisel, we plant and we plow
We're sticking it out in Wallowa
Listen to the full song here.