Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

March 15, 2014

Terri Schlichenmeyer: “Shotgun Lovesongs” by Nikolas Butler

c.2014, St. Martin's Press $25.99 / $29.99 Canada 320 pages

It all seemed like a good idea.

You’d graduate from high school and take three months to bike across country. Or build a house. Or start a business, hitchhike Europe, or any other harebrained plan your teenage minds thought up. It would be a bonding experience. Friends forever.

It didn’t take long to learn that, sadly, plans and friendships are fragile things - and in the new novel, “Shotgun Lovesongs” by Nickolas Butler, both are riddled with holes.

Leland Sutton never gave anybody a straight answer when asked about the title of his first album. Shotgun Lovesongs was about suicide, a tribute to another band, a nod to heartbreak, a different title-reason every time. It was what made Lee famous, and what took him away from the small town of Little Wing, Wisconsin.

Lee was perhaps Little Wing’s most famous son, but Ronny Taylor was the town’s first major celebrity. Ronny had been a rodeo rider once, flat-stomached, and cool under pressure and on a bull. Ronny’s only flaw was that he was an alcoholic, which is how he ended up a little bit not-quite-right. Everybody loved him anyhow, mostly because of his big heart.

Few knew that Lee paid most of Ronny’s bills.

Kip Cunningham wasn’t aware of it, in fact, but there weren’t a lot of things Kip was privy to anyhow. He’d always kept his boyhood friends at arms’ length and, truth was, he didn’t really quite fit in. He wasn’t good at people things; he was good at making money. So it came as quite a shock when he bought the ancient mill that towered over Little Wing – and it failed, financially and spectacularly.

Solid, dependable Henry Brown watched his friends’ worlds widen, but his home was on his western Wisconsin farm. His wife, Beth, was his life. His kids were his life. All he’d ever really wanted was in the town where he’d grown up. Little Wing was where he could go to the VFW and they knew him. It was where his friends came home when they wanted to let their hair down.

Text Only
Columns
  • Spaulding Outdoors: The Inside on Indiana's Outside Nature’s BountyOur daughters were raised in the country and definitely couldn’t be considered “citified” children. Not with Dad around! From the time I was a little boy, I learned there are a lot of good things coming from the wild, and I set about e

    July 29, 2014

  • Word of advice So, what’s the word?Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which th

    July 29, 2014

  • 9/11 Commission chair scolds Congress for national security failures INDIANAPOLIS – Retired Congressman Lee Hamilton has warned of the perils of political ideology, calling the body where he spent 34 years “noxiously partisan.” Now, he worries the divide is downright dangerous. A co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Ha

    July 29, 2014

  • Brian Howey: Rising up to meet Putin's thuggery BLOOMINGTON – Any illusions I had about the progressive nature of the Vladimir Putin’s Russian regime quickly dissipated when I returned to my Moscow Grand Marriott room in August 2007. Upon opening the door, I was greeted with the spectacle of my pa

    July 29, 2014

  • Pat Smith: A reader's special note Before beginning this week’s column it must be stressed that I love getting emails from readers, love getting telephone calls from readers and love seeing readers when I’m out and about – especially those who very generously tell me that they read th

    July 24, 2014

  • Spaulding Outdoors: The Inside on Indiana's Outside Early Migratory Bird 2014 Season Dates The 2014 early migratory bird season dates have been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by the Indiana DNR as listed below. The dates are not final until the USFWS approves them, which typically hap

    July 24, 2014

  • Why incumbents get reelected Incumbents are masters at posing as outsiders, when in fact they are insiders who produce the Congress they disdain. It’s no news that Congress is unpopular. In fact, at times it seems like the only real novelty on Capitol Hill would be a jump in its

    July 24, 2014

  • Lessons from the largely forgotten war As we approach the official date on which the First World War started, July 28, 1914, when the first shots were fired by the Austro-Hungarians who invaded Serbia, it’s appropriate to think about the lessons that catastrophic event has taught us one h

    July 24, 2014

  • Protecting Indiana's agricultural heritage With the 4-H fairs in full swing, I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about agriculture. Since Indiana became a state back in 1816, agriculture has played a vital role in our livelihood. For those who are not from Indiana, our state is practica

    July 22, 2014

  • Improving Indiana's infrastructure It is always a happy time when my family visits, especially to celebrate a wedding. I recently played hostess for my niece and her wedding party when she was looking for somewhere to hold her rehearsal dinner. I absolutely enjoy when family comes to

    July 22, 2014