Life Along the Streetcar with Tom Heath from The Heath Team Nova Home Loans

Silently Loud with Brain Laidlaw and Tyler Meijer

On this week’s show, we’re going to talk with Brian Laidlaw, who recently released his album Silently Loud, and we’re also going to have Tyler Meyer from the University of Arizona’s Poetry Center. They’re going to share the story behind the upcoming concert with songs from Brian’s album, Silently Loud, featuring lyrics by nonspeakers, including Tucson’s own Joshua Griner and Alton Grubbs.

Today is January 22nd, my name is Tom Heath and you’re listening to “Life Along the Streetcar”.

Each and every Sunday our focus is on Social, Cultural and Economic impacts in Tucson’s Urban Core and we shed light on hidden gems everyone should know about. From A Mountain to the U of A and all stops in between. You get the inside track- right here on 99.1 FM, streaming on we’re also available on your iPhone or Android using our very own Downtown Radio app. Reach us by email [email protected] — interact with us on Facebook at LifeAlongTheStreetcar and follow us on Twitter @StreetcarLife

Our intro music is by Ryanhood and we exit with music from Brian Laidlaw, “The Way That I Was Maid.”

Transcript (Unedited)

Good morning. It’s a beautiful Sunday in the old pueblo and you’re listening to KT. DT. Tucson. Thank you for spending a part of your brunch hour with us on your downtown Tucson community sponsored or rock and roll radio station.

On this week’s show, we’re going to talk with Brian Laidlaw, who recently released his album Silently Loud, and we’re also going to have Tyler Meyer from the University of Arizona’s Poetry Center. They’re going to share the story behind the upcoming concert with songs from Brian’s album, Silently Loud, featuring lyrics by nonspeakers, including Tucson’s own Joshua Griner and Alton Grubbs.

Today is January 22, 2023. My name is Tom Heath and you are listening to life along the streetcar. Each and every Sunday, our focus is on social, cultural and economic impacts in Tucson’s urban core and we shed light on hidden gems everyone should know about, from May Mountain to the University of Arizona and all stops in between. You get the inside track right here on 99.1 FM,

streaming on, also available on your iPhone or Android. Using our very own Downtown radio app, you can interact with us on the show through our Facebook and Instagram pages. If you want more information about what we do, who we are, information on our new book, you can get that on our website, And there’s also a contact button and a link to all of our past episodes. And of course, you can listen to podcasts like this one on platforms such as Spotify, itunes or simply by asking your smart speaker to play Life Along the Streetcar podcast. Well, the 68th annual Tucson Gemin Mineral Show officially kicks off in February. It is the largest, I guess it’s one of the largest in the world and it’s one of the few places where the hobbyist, the consumer, the wholesalers, the whole industry kind of comes together. There are no shortage of opportunities between now and February 9 to check out some fantastic gem and minerals throughout the urban core as shows

have definitely kicked off this week and kind of simultaneously with the Jazz festival. A lot of people in town for all kinds of activities like music and minerals and gems and such things like music and minerals might be a fun show. Anyway, if you want more information on any of this stuff, you can head over to the Facebook page that we have and we’re going to link to the gem and mineral show. Of course, you can just head over to That’s the Tuchun Gemineral show. So, and then information about the 68th annual Gemin Mineral Show upcoming. And there’ll be some links as well to other opportunities to see these fabulous stones. Well, something you don’t have to wait too much longer to see. Brian Laidlaw, he’s coming down from Utah to play a concert at the University of Arizona’s Poetry Center. And that’s an interesting combination, but they are connected through a couple of Tucsonans joshua Griner and Alton Grubbs. These are non speaking individuals. They are neuro divergent.

And Brian will talk to us about what that means. And they have written beautiful lyrics to which Brian has put to music and will be performing a concert, recently released his album Silently Loud, and the concert will feature those songs. And there’ll also be some Q and A town for our Tucson lyricists. Had a chance to speak with Brian and Tyler by phone just a couple of days ago and get all the details on this upcoming concert and how it all came together. So we are joined today by Brian Laidlaw. He is an artist out of Utah, I believe. Currently in Tyler Mayor, who is here in Tucson at Tucson’s Poetry Center. And we’re going to talk about a really interesting project coming up here really soon here on the 29th. And I just want to welcome both of you. Brian, Tyler, welcome to the show.

Delighted to be here. Thanks for having us.


Thank you so much. It’s all to be able to talk a little bit with you guys.

But Brian, let’s start with you. You’re a musician. Well, you’ve got a varied background, but you’re currently out of Utah, but you’re coming down here into Tucson for a really cool concert. Can you give us a little about your background and who you are?

Yeah, absolutely. So I’m currently living in Moab, Utah. Grew up on the west coast. I lived in Minneapolis for a while and then did a PhD at University of Denver. I started out as a poet, primarily writing in traditional verse forms and studying the history of poetry and then sort of gradually transitioned into being a songwriter, also using some of the same ideas of repetition and rhyme and meter, but writing verses and choruses and setting some of my poems to music. And so spent a stint as a touring folk singer songwriter, did a master’s in poetry at the University of Minnesota and then taught songwriting at a music college in St. Paul, Minnesota, for a while. Okay. Then moved down to Denver, did the PhD also in creative writing and always kind of focusing on the relationship between poetry and music, essentially.

Interesting. And then, Tyler, we’ve got you on here. You’re a little bit more local to our audience. You’re at the Poetry center at the university. You’re the executive director. How long have you been in that role?

Yeah, I’ve been here for this is McKenzier. So a full decade of Tucson nearly under my belt. And it’s been a wonderful experience and a truly tremendous one to be able to be connected to the Poetry center, thinking about what makes an excellent poetry center and how we get to sort of lean into that work every day with the really amazing staff here. It’s a special project of the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona. And so it’s about 80,000 items in the collection. It’s one of the largest standalone collections of poetry anywhere, certainly in the United States. And we very much are a public facing effort, and we are a public private partnership in our DNA. So the university is part of where we find support for the work that we do. But then we also raise a lot of funds in the community to be able to do the poetry work that we’re excited to do. So all of that together leads to a rich slate of programs, including the one that we’re excited to be talking about with bringing Brian

here and connecting with levers that he’s been working with who have collaborated on the album that he’ll be performing.

The concert is coming up on the 29th, and it’s based upon an album that Brian, that you released last year called Silently Loud. Tell us about this project.

Yeah, so the work that I’ve been doing for the last five or six years, I started an organization along with a fellow poet named Chris Martin, who’s a wonderful writer based up in Minneapolis. And our organization is called unrestricted interest. And we do creative writing mentorship for folks on the autism spectrum, in particular, working with non speaking and unreliably speaking autistic writers. And so this project, Silently Loud, we got a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to go into the recording studio and record with a bunch of professional musicians and an excellent producer and a great mastering engineer, a full length album of songs by Nonspeakers. And so these are songs that had arisen over the last handful of years of collaborations with these incredible stellars that I have the pleasure of working with, including a couple of folks who live in Tucson. Joshua Griner and Alton Grubbs are a couple of the featured artists that will be I’ll be singing some of their songs at

the event, and then they’ll be part of a Q and A session, too. And we’re just so excited. I’ve been hearing great things about the Poetry Center for the whole decade, Tyler, that you’ve been there. It’s just like the dreamiest place, and I’ve never been there before, but I was just so honored to get to share these collaborators work in such a cool place.

How did you connect with Tyler then? How did the U of Poetry Center get connected with your project?

I can say something about that really quickly, Brian, and then a lot of it’s through Joshua. One of the poets and writers that Joshua mentioned, that Brian mentioned, is Joshua Griner. And so he’s visited the Poetry Center and come to check out what’s here and the work that we do. And so it was an opportunity through that to learn more about Silently Loud and learn more about Brian. And then it became a really exciting possibility to imagine Brian’s interest in traveling to Tucson to present to talk about this work and then more broadly, just to have poets in our space, like Brian, who can come and connect with audiences here in Tucson. It’s due to Joshua visiting the poetry center and checking out the library. That’s a large reason why this has happened. Is that fair to say, Brian? Have I done that justice?

Yeah, absolutely. I think from my perspective, too, it’s incredibly exciting because so much of the work that I’ve been doing has been happening with these writers over zoom and sort of pandemic time ended up being obviously, it brought a suite. Of challenges, but for a lot of folks who use spelling as a means of communication, it was really a great equalizer for so many things to be happening on Zoom, where it’s so accessible to be communicating in the chat instead of having to say everything out loud. And so there’s this incredible flourishing among the nonspeaking autistic community over the last handful of years, during which time I connected with these fantastic writers. And it’s incredibly exciting getting to gather in real space with them and getting to celebrate their work. We do a monthly open mic on Zoom that features poems and songs by nonspeaking autistic folks all across the country and even international ones. But it’s really an extra special treat to get to do it in real

life and get to see these folks gathering in a room. So I’m really looking forward to that.

When you’re talking about these artists, you mentioned Joshua Grinder here in Tucson, and I think Alton Grubs is another one from the Arizona area. When they’re collaborating with you on the music, are you putting to music a poem that they’ve written? Are you working together collaboratively? Are they writing the music? Or how is this relationship kind of coming together?

Yeah, that’s a great question. The process is really amazing and it’s different with every student, it’s different with every song or poem, but basically it’s entirely their language. And for folks who aren’t familiar with the way that this goes, these writers are often working on a letter board, which is like a laminated piece of cardboard that has the letters of the alphabet on it and some punctuation and numbers as well. And so they’re spelling out the words they want to have included in the text. And really, with both Joshua and Alton, they’re fully capable of banging out these incredible verses totally on their own. They have awesome sense of rhyme and meter. They’re like directing what things are going to repeat and what the sort of sequence of verses and choruses is going to be. And then I then get to ask, once we have the complete set of lyrics, what kind of music direction they want to see it take. And sometimes it’ll be, I want it to be a fast country song, or I want it to be

a slow ballad, or sometimes Alton in particular gets these really incredible, sort of more impressionistic, atmospheric kinds of music direction. I think once he said, I want it to sound like a moose covered in frost or I want it to sound like I had another student say, I want it to sound like bird wings flapping. So sometimes using the sort of conventional language of describing music, down tempo, blues song or whatever, but also sometimes really talking about the feeling or the sensation of it. And so I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be getting to see these incredible texts take shape and then being entrusted essentially with the performance of these tunes. And really I see my goal is just trying to get the end version of the melody and the presentation to be as close as possible to whatever it is that’s in the student’s mind when they’re when they’re writing the text.

That was Brian Laidlaw. We’re also joined by Tyler Meyer from the University of Arizona’s Poetry Center talking about their upcoming concert based on Brian’s album Silently Loud and featuring some Tucson lyricist, Joshua Griner and Alton Grubbs. We’ll be back to the second half of that interview in just a moment, but I want to remind you that you’re listening to Life Along the Streetcar in Downtown Radio 99.1 FM and streaming on Downtown

Greetings and salutations, downtown radio listeners. Paleo Dave, your unfrozen caveman DJ, here to spread the good word about the scrambled Sunrise rock mix happening every weekday morning from seven to 09:00 A.m. Right here on downtown radio. From the earliest days of Psych punk and new wave to 80s college rock, 90s alternative and the ongoing wave of 21st century indie rock. It’s all right here on the Scrambled Sunrise. So tune in via 99.1 FM if you’re in the greater downtown area or streaming worldwide via Downtown Radio.

Welcome back. We’re going to finish up that interview with Brian Laidlaw, a musician out of Utah who’s coming down next week to play a concert at the University’s Poetry Center. We have him and Tyler Meyer, the Poetry Center’s executive director, in an interview talking about this concert based on the album Silently Loud. Heard about some of the Tucson artists and we’re going to get some more details here about the rest of the performers, more information about the album and the upcoming details for the concert. You got the two from Arizona, the rest of your lyricist, are they across the country or are they based upon in Utah or where do you find them or how do you find them too?

I have a handful of other students based in Arizona, but folks from coast to coast, a lot of folks from Canada as well. And because of the sort of really cool interconnectedness within the spelling community on the internet, like over zoom and through these not in person gatherings, there’s a really robust national and international community. And so I think that our work has sort of spread by word of mouth is not the right way to put it. Because they’re not speaking, but by kind of hearing these texts and songs, circulate and other folks reaching out to that are interested in giving it a try themselves.

All the music will be converging here in the Tucson area at the Poetry Center and Tyler, the Poetry Center itself.

Is an experience we feel so lucky to have the Poetry Center in Tucson and to be what it is. It is designed to be an aspirational building and also very much a living archive of what poetry is and can be. And that’s one of the interests in this project. In particular, too, is all the ways in which poetry can manifest the ways in which it shows up in the world. This is a new kind of way for us to explore it and we’re so excited to be working with Brian and unrestricted interest to present this concert on the 29th at 02:00. So people want to come visit. 15 eight East Helen Street. 15 eight East Helen Street. The parking around the Poetry Center is free on the weekends and so all the surface lots are available and the venue is our Ruble room at the Poetry Center. So as you come in, it would be very clear where the space is, where the performance is happening. We’ll have our doors opened up and wide open, so we’ll get a lot of good airflow and space for people to move around if they like. And

then we’ll be there to do the performance that will start at two. Brian had mentioned there’ll be some songs that will be played and maybe some conversation, and then also a chance for a Q and A with some of.

The songwriters and then are there tickets available? What’s the plan on that?

Yeah, great question. It’s a free show and it’s open to everyone who might like to come. Bring your friends and then the season is just first come, first served, so lots of good seats. We want people to come and enjoy themselves. And the performance starts at two, so if you want to make sure you’re upfront, come a little bit early.

And Brian, what’s kind of next on the unrestricted interest goals?

Yeah, that’s a great question. Definitely there’ll be a bit of a release tour for this album as it’s coming out. It’ll be also available on itunes and Spotify and YouTube and all those things that folks are interested. Silently Loud Again is the name of the record. So, yeah, we’ll be doing some shows. We’ve also got a poetry publishing imprint that does chat books by Neuro Divergent Writers, chat books of poetry and some single songwriter collections of songs as well. Another thing that I want to plug that is sort of adjacent to our work, milkweed Editions is a wonderful publisher up in Minneapolis and they have a poetry series called The Multiverse Series that is publishing book length collections of poetry by Neuro Divergent Writers. Hannah Emerson’s book, the kissing of Kissing was the first book in that series. And Adam Walmart’s book, The Wanting Way, is the second book in that series. These are edited the series is edited by Chris Martin, the co founder and director of Unrestricted

Interest. So that’s another way for folks to get plugged in with the incredible work that’s coming out of the community that we’re working with. It’s impossible to overstate how incredible these books are, so I recommend them highly.

All this information about the upcoming album releases, the concerts, the books, everything, is that available on Unrestricted Interest website?

Yeah, it is indeed.

Okay, so we’ll definitely do that. And I think it’s just unrestricted.

That’s exactly right.

All right, and then you briefly you mentioned the word, I think, a couple of times. Neurodivergent. Just in a couple of minutes. Can you just can explain what that refers to.

Maybe the best way to think about it is that everybody’s minds are slightly different. The concept behind the neurodiversity movement is that no right or wrong way for a mind to work. And in our society, there’s sort of a set of expectations that, like, this is how a mind should behave, or this is how we expect individuals to move through the world and how we expect them to think. And that way of thinking is not consistent with, in many cases, the way that an autistic person’s mind works. And the idea behind Neuro Divergence or Neurodiversity, is that that autistic mind is an incredible, fascinating, super cool mind that is experiencing the world and experiencing language in ways that are often quite different from what a neurotypical mind would be doing. Everybody’s consciousness is assembling the world around them in a slightly different way. And I think what makes the Poetry Center such a perfect place for this event to be happening and what makes it such a fruitful collaboration is

that I think that poetry at its heart is a form that is invented to explore the differences between each individual’s mind. And we read the poets that we love because their mind is slightly different from our mind. And so seeing the way that they piece their world together and the way that they put language to that world is the great pleasure of poetry reading. And I think in some ways even an added pleasure to be reading these poems and hearing these songs by poets and songwriters whose sensory experiences are wildly different from our own and so rich and so inventive, so deeply felt. And so I think that’s maybe why this work, working with these neurodiverse poets, writers, feels so rich is that every single one of them is seeing the world in a totally fascinating and beautiful way. And they’re so gifted at putting language to those experiences, too, and allowing us, I think, like neurotypical audience members or whatever, a chance to see the world through their eyes and perceive it through

their bodies.

What a beautiful way to talk about why this is so exciting. So I much appreciate that sentiment and those remarks. Thank you.

Wow. Thank you for that. Our guest today have been Tyler mayor. He’s the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s executive director. And we’ve also had the pleasure of speaking with Brian Laidlaw, who is going to be in Tucson on the 29th at the Poetry Center 02:00 performing songs from his album Silently Loud, featuring a couple of local lyricists who contributed to that album. So. Thank you, Father.

Thanks so much for having us.

Yeah. Thanks, Tom. I really appreciate it.

Again, Brian Laidlaw out of Utah, an artist, a teacher, a poet, a singer, a songwriter, and Tyler Meyer, the executive director of the University of Arizona’s Poetry Center, combining forces to bring the album Silently Loud as a live concert with some Q and A with our Tucson based lyricists afterwards, next week on the 29th. And of course, details will be on our Facebook page. My name is Tom Heath. You are listening to Life along the streetcar on downtown radio. 99.1 FM, available for streaming on

You’re listening to Ktdt, Tucson, Arizona, 99.1 FM, downtown radio. I’m Brother Mark, host of a show called Radio Club Crawl that airs every Tuesday at 03:00 P.m.. We try to focus on most of the bands that are coming through Tucson, and we give you a tasty taste of their music. You want to check out what’s happening around Tucson? Check out Radio Club crawl. Tuesdays, 03:00 P.m. Right here on Ktdt. Tucson, Arizona. 99.1 FM. Downtown radio.

Thank you very much. Enjoy your evening. Bye bye.

Well, we do hope you enjoy your evening, but before it gets here, you can enjoy the rest of your day here on Downtown radio. Right after us at 1130 is Ted Brzalski with words and work. He talks with writers and members of the labor movement. Lots of activities happening in both of those arenas, so he’s always got something pretty darn interesting and relevant on his show. Then it’s Heavy Mental with Ty Logan at the top of the hour at noon, back into the music speaker box, X and just some fantastic music for the rest of the day. As always, you can head over to to find out some of the other shows throughout the week.

I’m understating it by saying we have the absolute best radio station that I can possibly imagine in the world. That’s an understatement because we have 50 dedicated volunteers putting out shows that are just absolutely top notch. The level of detail, the research, the commentary, each personality. These individuals are professional in how they manage their day, but they’re volunteers. Our board, our staff, everyone is a volunteer. And I bring this up because, again, I’m hoping when you’re over there checking out that schedule on, you are thinking about that donate button and what you could do to keep Downtown Radio on the air. There are people that listen from all over the world. We have shows that have people that have been disc jockeys on major radio stations here and in other places, but they have, for one reason or another, decided that downtown radio is the best outlet for them to share what they love. For one, as a Tucson, I’m very appreciative that we house that

station in my city of Tucson, but I can tell you when I travel, I have the app and I just plug that into the rental cars bluetooth and I got downtown radio anywhere I go. Next week’s show here in downtown radio is going to be kind of fun. Of course it’s going to be fun, right? What would I say? Next week’s show is going to be horrible. Don’t listen. But I am looking forward to next week’s show again because it’s kind of where are they now? We’re going to check in with a couple of artists that we’ve had on the show in the past, eric Grio, who’s about to release an album, and DCA Fletcher, who she’s been on for a few reasons outside of her art, but she just recently had a big gallery opening in downtown. So we’re going to catch up with both of them and talk a little bit about what they’ve been doing and accomplishing since we last spoke. And I always like to see the growth of these individuals that take time to come on the show and even when they become more successful, they still talk to

me. After that. We are going to have a tie back to this show as we’re going to have people talking about the impact of this concert on the 29th with Brian Leila. I want to talk about the impact in our community with some people that are directly impacted by what he is doing. And if you ever have a topic that you want us to cover, hit us up. Facebook, Instagram, head to our webpage There’s a contact button, just share, tell us what we need to cover. Brian Leylaw was our guest today. Whenever we have a musician that’s a guest, we’re going to leave with music by said musician. And our song today comes from Brian’s album in 2014. It’s called a moratorium. The song is.

The way that I was made.

What if I saw it in the church and I stole a whole head? What if I left you we in the lurch and I call you the cold bread? What if the cops came in a town making the same offer? You saw them with the trousers down and their hands are

afraid of God.

With your high school year

what do you need to nemesis to know how your own fears look?

Take a Sunday walk and I’m taking prisoner with my lord is mostly talk and he’s a lousy listener. Afternoons not take us to roll. It never make her roll and save your time.