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Season 4

Episode 17: “Your Pretty Head”: a conversation with Hewitt Huntwork Part 1

Wednesday, November 29, 2023   #84

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Lionel Hewitt Huntwork showing off his readers and Jim

Just a note: Hewitt was recording into his tablet and there are lots of digital glitches that Jim could not remove. We begin with Lionel’s favorite part of the podcast which we almost never capture: the sound check before we press record. Obviously, we pressed record this time. Jim launches in with a tweet from Elon Musk and we reminisce about the movie Stripes. Jim introduces Hewitt Huntwork, one of his favorite songwriters and one who is invisible in the current music landscape. Jim talks about The Cantab Lounge and Geoff Bartley's open mic there, previously mentioned by James O'Brien. Hewitt talks about the first time he saw Jim at Passim. Jim mentions Hewitt’s first album The Only Drowning Goldfish and plays a clip of Your Pretty Head from it. We talk about the fallout for songwriters after the death of Kurt Cobain. Jim laments that the album is not available anywhere anymore, mistakenly thinking it was recorded by Tom Dubé. Hewitt talks about Tom as the subject of a book, and his near-death experience with Marc Cohn. Lionel points out the sticker on Hewitt’s glasses, which is shown in our poster image for this episode. His other glasses will be featured in next week’s episode: part 2 of our conversation, which lasted over 100 minutes.

Lionel talks about Roy Clarke and his appearances on Hee Haw. Lionel mentions a few of his favorite of Hewitt’s songs, made available to us for this podcast, first The Thief, then Leaning On You, and Just Rock and Roll. Jim added 2 clips in post-production. Hewitt mentions his conversation with storyteller, jewelry maker, Raelinda Woad. Hewitt talks about how his dad encouraged him to speak publicly at an early age, and express himself with music. When he was five, he stood up at a toastmasters banquet and gave a speech about dolphins. Hewitt grew up in New Brighton, MN which was mentioned in the movie In The Line of Fire. While we are on the subject of movies, Lionel mentions Burn After Reading, but we get back on track. Hewitt's family moved to Acton, MA, home of Bill Morrissey, Steve Carell, and Caroll Spinney. A friend of his from there, Christian Finnegan used Hewitt’s music in his standup show, Show Your Work.

At this point, Lionel derails us with a story about rodents being shipped by a humane society to another humane society. We hope this story is not too disturbing to listeners. We decided to keep it in. We meant no disrespect to the rodents. Jim tries to get us back on track by playing a clip from an unreleased song by Hewitt Huntwork: No Mistake. Hewitt talks about what inspired it and his recording history, and we end part one of our interview.