Wilderness Plots

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Note: For information about the latest Wilderness Plots program from WTIU, please visit Wilderness Plots In Concert.

“There was an element of fate, there was an element of serendipity.” This is how Tim Grimm, folk singer and songwriter, describes his discovery of Wilderness Plots, a book by Indiana author Scott Russell Sanders. The book is a collection of brief tales about the settling of the American frontier. Grimm, together with other musicians began writing songs inspired by Sanders’s stories. What resulted was an innovative venture that blends genres into a complete experience.

WILDERNESS PLOTS features a selection of these songs in performance and readings by Sanders, all complemented by interviews with the artists and views of the Southern Indiana scenery. The interviews provide background information and offer insight into the artists: their work, their perspectives, their love for music, writing and history.

The idea of the Wilderness Plots songs started with Tim Grimm who was fascinated by the characters described in Sanders’ book. He challenged himself and four fellow Indiana songwriters to write songs that capture the realities, ironies, and aspirations of early pioneer life. Aside from Grimm, Wilderness Plots features Carrie Newcomer, Krista Detor, Tom Roznowski, and Michael White.

Early pioneer life was more simple than it is today but it was not necessarily easier, and it was frequently violent and beset with danger. Wilderness Plots contains lessons for today and holds appeal for people of all ages. “It’s about dwelling more consciously in the present by learning more deeply about the past,” Sanders said.

The program offers a glimpse into the creative collaboration of these artists. The footage was shot in the historic Mitchell Opera House (built in 1902) and at other scenic and historic sites: a one-room school house, a quarry, an old log home, a rural church, and in the Hoosier forest.

Susanne Schwibs is the producer/director of the program.