Programmer Spotlight Blog: Hattie Belle

text by digital-media

18 June, 2022

It was a hot sticky summer afternoon in 2018. The kind of afternoon that eagerly awaits the night. The Déjà Vu Circus was set up on the southbound shoulder of a two-lane highway. The dusty road rose to life as the show began. Acrobats, clowns, fire breathers, trapeze artists, cats and dogs.

Sweat glazed every surface as I eased into my contortions. An offering to dance the starlight home and the wind into motion. Passersby stopped, pulling over their carts to sit in the patchy grass and look on.The people delighted, but something was missing. The organ player was passed out in a nearby drainage. Although we were committed to transforming the relentless sunlight into bustling joy, with or without a tune, we struggled to maintain our joie de vivre.

It was while contorting my body through the upper branches of an old oak tree that I heard it: a lonesome fiddle streaming down from the mountains, illuminating every roadside heart. I contorted as never before. The acrobats flipped and twirled. The clowns vomited with laughter. Cranky old men led the crowd in a jig.

Exhausted, I stopped to look for the source of this otherworldly sound. I locked eyes with the Candy Mountain Rambler, at once an old wizard and a handsome devil. He had come down from the mountains and was walking up the southbound lane, the sounds of his fiddle lighting up the rising moon. That sound. The sound of music hitting the empty spot in your heart.

“Heaven has a radio,” he told me, and I knew it was true. So I followed him across the country to KCSB and up into the Candy Mountains.
Utopia was upon us. Country blues, old jazz, folk, rock’n’roll, and soulful home recordings filled the air. But he was a rambling man, and I knew clocks couldn’t be smashed forever.

“You are the starlight,” I said.
“You are the streetlight,” he replied.
“Ramble on rambler,” I smiled.

And he did. But every Friday, in the waning light from 4-6pm, he returns and we
reunite with that sound on the airwaves of 91.9, KCSB-FM.