From The Side of the Road… bluegrass haiku for publicists

We haven’t done any bluegrass haiku in a while. I’m starting to get complaints about this from the Iowa Corndog Queen who is also president of the Bluegrass Haiku Appreciators of Iowa and Parts of Northern Missouri (or BHAOIPONM, pronounced “Bow-ee-pahn-um”), so I thought we’d better address it.

It turns out this is the perfect time to do it because I’m just back from a quick tour of Sweden, and in a jet-lagged state, so short form poetry is pretty much all I’m good for right now, with maybe just the occasional sigh or grunt.

In previous columns about this, we’ve primarily used bluegrass haiku as a way of condensing longer bluegrass songs into this traditional Japanese poetry form. This enables us to save massive amounts of time, making it possible to perform Barbara Allen, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, and Hills of Roane County in the same set, still leaving time for a lengthy CD plug, unless you want to put that in haiku form, too:

yes we have CDs
even if you don’t play them
buy one anyway

Just to review, we try to take the entire body of a song and condense its plot into the traditional Haiku form of three lines of poetry, of five, seven, and five syllables, including a reference to nature (like “CD”) and a “break” (usually fiddle or banjo). This, for example, is Banks of the Ohio:

I drowned her, it’s true
oh great! here comes the sheriff!
call Johnny Cochran

Note: Haiku aren’t supposed to contain punctuation or the names of lawyers, so that one is slightly non-traditional.

Or Rocky Top:

I like it up here
no phone bills or smoggy smoke
we’re completely lost

This time around, though, I’d like to introduce the idea of condensing bluegrass press releases into haiku form. Who knows? Radio stations and other media might be inclined to stick with a standard new single press release past the first two sentences if phrases like, “the uplifting new love song is bursting with relatable descriptions expressing how it feels being with that special someone,” are condensed to line 1 of a haiku as:

bursting descriptions

The whole press release could be boiled down to this:

bursting descriptions
if that’s what descriptions do
single drops Friday

Then there’s the press release for the band, Hardwood Municipality, and their new single Heartbreak County:

The band’s new original, Heartbreak County, tells the heart-wrenching story of a love that couldn’t stand the test of time, leaving the singer forlorn and in the depths of despair in a mythical place called “Heartbreak County.” Augmented by some of bluegrass music’s top pickers, Hardwood Municipality delivers a performance drenched in feeling, one that is sure to be relatable to listeners who have had their own experiences in “Heartbreak County.” “This one is deeply personal for me,” says Municipality lead singer Troy Caleb. “I lost someone, and I really really want her back, but it looks like that’s not happening, LOL.” Caleb’s heartfelt and emotion-dredged delivery is one that’s been shown to touch listeners hearts at the core of their emotional beings during the band’s festival-ready live performances of Heartbreak County. The new single drops Friday.

new song from Hardwood
a tale of heartbreak and pain
Troy Caleb is sad

Or perhaps a less subtle appeal for airplay:

new single drops soon
one that’s sure to touch your heart
Hardwood says “add me”

What about the new single from Mandy Chadwick, Mama’s Gloves? This is the press release (abridged) from the publicity firm, Truth Serum Publicity:

Mandy Chadwick has released her latest original composition, Mama’s Gloves, to radio and streaming platforms and rave reviews are already pouring in: “This is Mandy’s best effort yet,” says KTMA program director Lyle Bunyan. Chadwick tells the personal story of the gardening gloves her mother wore before a tragic grain auger injury made it impossible for her to garden anymore. “Her gloves are still there in the basket where she always kept them,” Mandy relates. “No one else will wear them because they’ll always be ‘Mama’s gloves.'” It’s a story that will touch listeners’ hearts as it already has at Chadwick’s many capacity-bursting live performances, as others relate the song to their own parents’ gloves. On the recording, Chadwick is backed by some of bluegrass music’s most respected musicians like Charlie Vestal, Ernie Crouch, and Harold Ickes. The heartfelt new single is available on AirPlay Direct and on all major streaming platforms.

This might be more successful in this form:

Mama’s Gloves is out
perhaps it should be “are out”
I’ve never been sure

Okay, that’s a first draft. Maybe this is better:

heartfelt new single
Mandy Chadwick’s best effort
it’s about some gloves

Or perhaps:

her latest single
Mandy Chadwick touches us
with song not with gloves

Next week: social media political posts and IBMA award acceptance speeches as haiku.