Thursday, June 7, 2012

Dear Dirty Roots Radio Listener (Beautiful, Ugly, Rough Music + Complete Freedom)

Dear Dirty Roots Radio Listener,

I want the WGRN airwaves for the two hours between 8 and 10 p.m. (central) every Thursday to be well known as a “safe zone”.  I realize that sounds a little “therapy-ish”.  But, the truth is, this IS therapy for me.




These are the only two hours of my entire week where I’m not on the line for something.  I’m not reporting to anyone.  I’m not waiting on anyone.  No one is depending on me.  There are no demands or requirements of me.  There are no progress reports, compensation to earn, or checklists to fulfill.

It’s just me.

It’s also, obviously, the music, and you.

Even though I’m using other people’s art and emotion to do it, I look at Dirty Roots as a form of expression for me.  On Dirty Roots and through my blog, Otis Ryan Productions, I strive to be real in all that I do.  I share about myself and my life.  The one common thing that nearly everyone says about the music I play (and about roots music, in general) is that it’s REAL.  It has some type of organic integrity because it’s honest. 

Life is amazingly beautiful.  But it’s also ugly and rough.  I believe that the music that moves me, the music that I share on Dirty Roots, fits that description, too: it’s beautiful, it’s ugly, and it’s rough.  It makes you move.  It entertains.  It lightens your spirits.  That’s beautiful.  But it also deals with real topics, like the sharing of pain.  That, in its own way, is beautiful AND ugly.  The pain is ugly but sharing it with someone is beautiful.  Being real and truthful can be rough, but truth is never ugly.  The music I play is generally very raw and unpolished; straight from the artist’s heart and soul.  Raw and unpolished = rough.  Sometimes some of it can even be hard to listen to.  Think of the nearly-paralyzed Cedell Davis playing his guitar with only a butter knife to fret the strings.  It’s out of tune and he’s unable to keep a consistent beat.  It sounds rough.  But it’s how Cedell expresses himself.  And that’s beautiful.

Maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of this than it’s worth, but I’ve thought a lot about it lately.

The ability to be yourself, unconditionally, is the ultimate freedom.  In our various relationships we’re able to achieve differing levels of that freedom.  But seldom can we achieve it in full.

You can here.

You and I are connected by nothing more than radio waves and love of good, unique music.  Your background doesn’t matter to me (it’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that it doesn’t figure in to our DJ/listener relationship), nor does mine to you.  Music bonds us.  Beautiful, ugly, and rough music.

That music does something different to and for me than it does to and for you.  I let it take me different places than you do.

I generally shout and scream over the music and have fun expressing myself in that way.  I hope you sing along or dance or do whatever you’re moved to do to express yourself while you listen.  I hope my words resonate with you on some level.  I hope the music I play speaks to you in some way.

Starting at 8 p.m. (central) tonight, and every Thursday night, please feel free to listen and experience things how you want, and I’ll play it how I want.  And we’ll celebrate the beauty together, bear the burden of the ugliness together, and jam on the roughness together.

And for those two hours, we can pour out our hearts and sound our barbaric yawps and nourish our souls in the most primal of ways.  And enjoy complete freedom. 

We won’t worry about 10 p.m. until it gets here.  And when it does (or maybe I’ll go a little past my designated 2 hour time slot), we can rest with sore feet, tired voices, and satisfied souls, until we have to get up Friday morning and go back to having everything at stake.

Broadcasting live from the corner of 4th & Tibbs, Dirty Roots Radio is a Quentin Tarantino-ization of a spaghetti western style old-school record show featuring renegade country, vintage gospel, raw blues, greasy soul, punk, and funk.

Join your host Ryan Mifflin every Thursday night from 8 to 10 p.m. (central) as he explores the twisted roots of American music. Tune in from anywhere in the world at

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