Home of Michael Perry – New York Times Bestselling Author, Humorist, Singer/Songwriter, Intermittent Pig Farmer


Posts From The Box: Me In Pencil

Even at my non-famous level (9 out of 10 times no one recognizes me at the Farm & Fleet) (and then half the time it’s a relative, neighbor, or Moose Country 106.7 listener), my calendar is such that I meet many, many thoughtful people in passing and simply cannot do justice to their kindnesses or adequately recognize their hard work or support their latest project the way they might hope. I keep a box of books and notes and CDs and miscellaneous objects given to me on the road, and when I can I jot a note or make a mention. Thus, Posts from the Box.


Thank you to Jeannie, who gave me this at a reading a while back. Always touched when people do something nice just because. Also wish I could draw like this. And appreciate that she kinda held back on the gray eyebrow(s).

Long Beds in Sheboygan

Michael Perry Sue Orfield @ Heide (16 of 104)-7

The Long Beds and I will be playing in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, next Thursday (August 27) as part of the the Levitt AMP Sheboygan Music Series. The outdoor concert series takes place Thursday evenings at the city’s new green space at New York Avenue and Seventh Street. Concertgoers should bring blankets or portable chairs as seating is not provided. Food and beverages will be available at the concert site. A variety of food trucks will be at the event. Free and open to the public.

(photo by Mike O’Brien)

Why Writers Should Blog, Not Log


NOTE: Logging is deadly dangerous and has even taken a life in our extended family. The note below is intended to have fun at the expense of one specific writer, not make light of real danger.

When writers pretend to be loggers… Saw it coming, stood there anyway. My one good decision? Safety glasses. Got off light, nothing my daughter’s makeup can’t fix. At least when my brother–a real logger–gets hurt on the job, he has the decency to wind up in intensive care (twice). It’s called professionalism.

Eaux Claires Intros, Thank You

(video credit Volume One)


To say more after all that has been said is to risk beating a dead unicorn, so I will simply express one final time my deep gratitude for being included in the recent Eaux Claires festival.

For those who requested text of the narration I did to introduce The National on Friday and Bon Iver on Saturday, here they are (video of the Bon Iver intro above) (I dunno, you get in front of that many people you tend to either go goggle-throated or get your preacher on…):


(Backstory: I first met Aaron Dessner of The National just two miles from my farm in the middle of winter.) 

Last winter a man stood bundled in the snow not far from here.

The air in his nose was alcohol cool, his white breath hung like surrender.

Oxygen, expired as ice.

Winter is the great equalizer. Knocks everything flat. Kills it dead.

This leaves us with the miracle of spring. Followed by the decadence of summer, when the man returns. Stands in the deep swampy green and understands he has witnessed a slow-motion resurrection. That some seed he dropped that long ago frozen day has thrust itself from the earth to shatter every icicle, send them running to the river, the river right behind you, the river right behind you, the music…right in front of you.



(Backstory: Through some high-level contacts I knew Bon Iver was going to open with Heavenly Father.)

Hey dere.

It’s good to see you here. Everybody gathered around for vespers. Nothin’ much left to do here in the evening hour now but gather round and sing a few hymns.

My name is Michael Perry. It’s been my honor and my privilege to be the narrator of the Eaux Claires Festival. We are so grateful you joined us here. We’re pretty much an unbeautiful bunch, man. We are flat-footed clodhoppers who feel inside like maybe we could dance, and we don’t really know any other way than to just get at it and have at it.

And we know it wouldn’t happen without our neighbors, without those who raised us, without this Chippewa Valley, and without you.

If you hold yourself still and silent now, you can feel that river behind you. Runnin’ through the night. Runnin’ through all time.

It’s good to have music near a river. There’s this idea of baptism. Of absolution. No matter what you believe. Better yet, it’s good to have music near a place where two rivers come together. A confluence. For what are we but a confluence—a confluence that lives and breathes, a confluence of dream and song, a confluence of 22,000 beating hearts.

And so here we are, cradled by a river in a sanctuary of sound.

Craving consecration.


On bended knee, seeking…benediction.


Lonely Guy Music

Lonely Guy Vol 2

I was a bachelor for 39 years. Pretty poor batting record relationship-wise. Back around the time Population 485 came out, my friend Gene burned a series of CDs for me to play on book tour. I recently uncovered one of them in a dusty corner. As you can see by the cover Gene chef’d up he’s a physical therapist, not a graphic designer. But you can also see he possesses a pitiless sense of humor.

Track Listing:

Lonesome Day Blues — Bob Dylan

Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room — Dwight Yoakam

Long on Lonely — Randy Travis

High Lonesome Sound –Vince Gill

Walkin’ the Streets Alone — The Marshall Tucker Band

Alone So Far — Old 97’s

One and Only — Texas Tornados

Lonely Weekends — Tom Petty

Lonely Yukon Stars — Riders In the Sky

Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie — Riders in the Sky

Lonesome Valley — Fairfield Four

Solitude — Billie Holiday

It’s a Lonesome Old Town — Frank Sinatra

Only the Lonely — Frank Sinatra

I’ve Been Lonely for So Long — Frederick Knight

So Lonely — The Police

Co-Signing Population 485 for Eaux Claires


News from the Eaux Claires music and arts festival: Justin Vernon and author Michael Perry co-sign 50 copies of Perry’s book, Population 485. “This book specifically and devastatingly defines the admiration and deep relationship I have for and with northwestern Wisconsin,” says Justin Vernon. Email with a copy of your two-day ticket receipt and you will be entered for a chance to win one of these signed books! Festival site with additional photo and more details here.

ReVisiting Tom

Throughout The Jesus Cow tour, folks have been asking about Tom from Visiting Tom. My younger daughter and I visited him just the other day. We had a good visit in the kitchen. He’s doing well. He misses Arlene. Both things at once.

I’ve never had someone capture my feelings about a book the way Dan Huiting did in this video (and that DeYarmond Edison soundtrack is so sweetly matched):

And then there was the time someone asked Tom to shoot their silo down: