A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Faces of Bushwick: Reggie Garrett

To celebrate our longtime partnership with Bushwick Book Club Seattle, we’re speaking with local musicians who have composed and performed songs inspired by the written works of SAL speakers over the years. Learn more about these hometown talents and discover their work in our Faces of Bushwick interview series.

In this second installment, we speak with singer, songwriter, and acoustic folk musician Reggie Garrett.

What SAL event did you write a song for? What book inspired your song?

The “not-quite-livestreamed” event with poet Douglas Kearney (SAL’s Poetry Series, March 2021). My song was inspired by his poetry collection Buck Studies, particularly his exploration of the types of mythic Black epics represented by songs like “Stagger Lee,” [a folk song that has been recorded by hundreds of artists.] My song is “Ballade de Stace A.”

Where can people find this song online?

You can find it on my YouTube channel along with a few other songs.

What surprised you about the song that emerged from the process?

What has surprised me is how much I enjoy performing this song and all the little inside-jokes peppered throughout for listeners to discover. What I appreciate most about writing songs inspired by books is that the process almost always leads me into new and unexplored territory in terms of subject matter. That often leads me to explore new and different forms and formulae.

What are you reading right now?

As usual, I have several books in play at the moment. However, one that I’ve read recently that stays with me is Caste by Isabel Wilkerson.

Thank you, Reggie! To learn more about Reggie’s work, visit his website.