I always go round and round in my head about using music under an author’s reading. Sometimes it seems appropriate and sometimes it just doesn’t work. But I think it made sense under the long reading that starts Bob’s interview with Arthur Phillips about his new novel “The Song is You” - especially since music plays such a vital role in the book’s plot. And to make things easier, I was thrilled to hear this sentence in the reading, “…Julian sat in the fall air and listened to Dean Villerman on his Walkman…” Perfect, I’ve never heard of him, but I’ll find a Villerman song and see how it sounds underneath the reading. Only, as far as I could tell, Dean Villerman is not real. Time for Plan B. The first and only song I tried putting under the reading is called “Past Reference” by Chad Lawson. It’s one of my favorite pieces to use on the show as break music or in the background to wrap up a segment (what we call “deadrolls”). It sounds like the kind of song The Dean Villerman Trio might play, if the musician wasn’t fictitious.
I also use “Solitude” by Duke Ellington since Bob and Phillips mention it in their conversation — and a live, but not so high fidelity version of “I Cover the Waterfront” by Billie Holiday — which figues prominently in the story. At the end of his novel “The Song is You,” Arthur Phillips includes an author’s note which lists in alphabetical order the actual artists whose song titles he incorporates in his novel. It runs almost a full page. He also went to the trouble of assembling a play list on iTunes and with the online radio station Pandora. If you’re interested in hearing more of the music that inspired Arthur Phillips, you can find those links on his website, www.arthurphillips.info.