#24 Soothing the Savage Beast

26 Pickup—The Half Ton

I discovered the music of Phillip Aaberg because of a reference you made in an interview. Do you create different musical set-lists for each book you write?

-Janet Yager

Hi Janet,

I love music and always have. I’m not particularly musical, but I truly enjoy it in every aspect of my life. All my trucks and cars have radio/cd players in them, along with the entire house, guest cabin, tack shed and even the cabin I have on the mountain that doesn’t have electricity—it has a hand-crank Victrola.

​I’m kind of old-fashioned in that I’m still one of those dinosaurs that buy cd’s. I guess I don’t trust all the download/cloud stuff, and I like holding a book, and still like holding a cd, cassette (Yes, I still have them) and vinyl albums.

​I even send a cd a month to my granddaughter as something we can share, and she should have quite the music collection by the time she’s 18…

​Music is important to Walt as well—predictably—and I knew there had to be a connection for him. But rather than having it be something common, I made him a boogie-woogie aficionado and a pianist. Why piano? I’m thinking his mother had something to do with that, a way of civilizing a rambunctious boy growing up on a ranch in Wyoming. I guess I thought it might be a little more refined than a cowboy with a guitar. I like to think that just when I’ve got him figured out, he takes a hard turn in another direction.

​I talk a lot about how it’s very difficult for any other art form to compete with reading as far as the way that it enters your mind through the interpretation of words. 

​Then there’s music…

​Okay, I’ll admit that one of the most emotive forces is music, which is why we dance, march and a million other things, but when you introduce music into a book you have to be careful—like humor, it can take on a number of personal connotations. 

​I listen to music while doing everything, so it probably won’t come as a surprise that I listen to music when I write. What do I listen to? Everything. If you were to visit me at my ranch, I can’t help but think that you’d be puzzled by the eclectic quality of my tastes. Personally, I’m a big blues fan and enjoy combing the record shops in France for old and strange stuff I can’t find here. I love old Country but have to admit I’m not much into the new stuff, and then there is classic Rock & Roll and any kind of Jazz or Classical.

One of the secret weapons I’ve got is a good friend in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts who gets the soundtracks from all the movies that come out each year. Living in a town of twenty-five, I don’t get out to the movies very much, consequently, I don’t have any imagery to connect to the music she sends me. Soundtracks are wonderfully evocative and when you don’t know the movie they are from you can just listen to them as your own.

Of course, I sometimes listen to the soundtrack from Longmire.

See you on the trail,



3 thoughts on “#24 Soothing the Savage Beast

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s