“Have you seen the movie I Heart Huckabees? It was like that … a series of little coincidences that were not coincidental at all, but rather tightly integrated fibers in the space time continuum, the result of which was me on the radio,” Cary Ann Hearst says of her recent NPR Weekend Edition interview. Though, she quickly adds, she’s mostly kidding. The real story: A friend of hers that she met in Charleston years ago now works at NPR, and he suggested the singer/songwriter for the show. An e-mail later and Hearst was on the air on April 3, talking about her dog, Townes Van Zandt, and life after her song “Hell’s Bells” appeared on an episode of True Blood last summer.
Currently on tour (Hearst answered questions via e-mail while on US Highway 94 between Minneapolis and Madison, Wisc., where she was on her way to play a show with Hayes Carl), she had to dial into the interview from a remote studio in Oklahoma City. She says it was like talking on a phone, only the phone was a hi-fi microphone. “I was nervous to be well spoken. They don’t let many raving maniacs on NPR, and so I was on my best behavior,” she says. “It was a neat moment.”
She’s shy hear herself in interviews, so she hasn’t listened to it yet, but the response from her friends and family has been really good. “It was satisfying to get so much feed back from it, lots of encouraging words, and a maybe some ego checking eye-rolls from loved ones whose can see the attention going to my head already.” Still, hindsight is 20-20: she wishes she had been more articulate about Shovels and Rope, her band with husband Michael Trent, and their transition into a “two-man-family-band” after they each released solo records. “Since the interview, I have thought of the most clever things to say in place of things I wished have phrased differently. Alas,” she says.
Hearst hopes that the spot, which she feels is about as good of exposure as you can get without a kick-ass publicist, will help her sell some more copies of Lions and Lambs, the album she talked about in the interview. She got a lot of new traffic on her various social networks in the show’s, and at a recent Minneapolis show, a fan said she had heard the interview. “I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I felt legitimized and affirmed by the whole thing, simply because we are such fans of NPR and the kind of programing they put on the air,” she says. “Hope my measly $5 a month donation helps to keep the smarts a-coming.”