HPPR Arts, Culture & History

Native American history
early exploration
trails and railroads
community settlement
farming & farm life
Dust Bowl era
ghost towns
personal remembrances & biographies

ethnic groups

folk art
visual arts
events & festivals

Thanks to Jess and Greg for stopping by HPPR in Amarillo for a live set on High Plains Morning today! They're in town to play Fire Songs at Fire Slice Pizzeria TONIGHT. Doors at 6:30p; show at 7-8:30p. Come on out and support live music on the High Plains!  

Thanks so much to Jason Crespin for stopping by High Plains Morning today to tell us about Amarillo Little Theatre Academy and the ALT Guild's presentation of  HONK!, a heartwarming musical for kids (and their parents!) about the tale of the Ugly Duckling. This delightful and award-winning adaptation of one of the world's most beloved fables is being presented March 29th– April 7th. Tickets and information can be found on their 

Writing What You Know

Mar 25, 2019
Phillip Periman

This is Bill Durham, author of Amarillo. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I started reading mystery novels and true crime books. I graduated from Muleshoe High School and received my B.A. degree in Theatre Arts and English, a double major from Texas Tech University.  After graduating from Tech I moved to New York City, and while I was looking for work I started going to the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library and reading books that I wanted to read, as opposed to the previous four years reading what I had to for school. That’s when I started to read true crime.

IQ Crackles

Mar 22, 2019

This is Danny Caine, owner of the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, with another Book Byte. Today I’d like to tell you about a mystery series that features one of the more memorable murderous conundrums: how do you kill a disillusioned rapper who won’t leave his house? A rapper who’s burned all his jewelry and listens to self-help tapes exclusively? One of the answers—which doesn’t end up working—is apparently a humungous Pitbull named Goliath. Let me tell you: this isn’t even the most outlandish thing in Joe Ide’s winning first mystery, IQ. The book crackles, buzzing with outsize characters and hilarious dialogue on every page. But below it all hums a sense of tragedy that keeps it grounded. It’s one of the most engaging and original mystery series to launch in recent years.

Joe Ide’s protagonist is Isaiah Quintanabe, aka IQ. He lives in a Long Beach overrun with gangs and drugs. As an adult, IQ is awkward but intelligent, living quietly and simply in small surroundings. He’s gained a reputation as a neighborhood crime solver, finding solutions to small mysteries in exchange for money sometimes, but occasionally for baked goods too. His Sherlockian intellect makes him a razor-sharp sleuth, and he’s soon drawn into a larger case. Enter Black the Knife, the house-bound rapper. Black the Knife, aka Cal, is pretty sure someone is trying to kill him, and he thinks it’s probably his ex-wife. The case, of course, ends up spinning far beyond the disheartened housebound rapper and the pit bull rampaging after him.

COLLECTORS! MUSIC LOVERS! VINYL HOARDERS! AGING HIPSTERS! LISTEN UP! Across the US, vinyl enthusiasts celebrate RECORD STORE DAY™ in April. We're doing our event a week later than the national holiday, so we'll have to have TWICE THE FUN! This year, join HPPR for our 2nd Annual POP-UP VINYL SWAP! It's at The Rocking OT (3100 SW 6th Ave., Amarillo) on Saturday, April 20th from 12:00p to 3:00p.

Andy Wilkinson is a High Plains artist, poet, songwriter, activist, educator, and storyteller—and this weekend he’s performing with the Amarillo Symphony during their 94th season. We hosted him live on High Plains Morning to hear more about the event, as well as his work at Texas Tech.

Poison is Everything

Mar 20, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Hello High Plains Radio Book Club Listeners. My name is Nina Blakeman and I’m the author of the Blow-up Man, a fictional thriller that takes place in a dispirited region of West Texas. I want to discuss with the listeners the scientific angle taken in the book.  Having a doctorate in pharmaceutical science, I’m fascinated in a compound’s ability to first, do nothing. Secondly, possess a moderating or curative effect, or thirdly, be lethal.

In pharmacology, it’s termed the dose response relationship. To further explain, I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes from Paracelsus, a 16th century alchemist and Renaissance physician., “Poison is everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.” With this we learn that one acetaminophen tablet kills the headache, 100 tablets kill you. Another quote of the alchemist states,” What the eyes perceive in herbs or stones or trees in not yet a remedy; the eyes see only dross.”

Today we meet Adam Snow, an IT professional and multi-instrumentalist from the Texas Panhandle who’s hosting a Worldwide Didgeridoo Meditation on Wednesday, March 20th in Spearman, TX. This is a global celebration of the changing of the seasons, so he has four per year.

Finding Redemption in Amarillo

Mar 18, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

This is Bill Durham, the author of Amarillo. Since Amarillo was published, the greatest compliment I have received from readers is that the characters are very authentic to the Texas Panhandle and that the Panhandle itself is an essential character.

Mystery Author Bill Durham Speaks of Amarillo

Mar 18, 2019

Native Texan Bill Durham wanted to be three things when he grew up: a writer, an actor, and a cowboy. He has achieved all three goals. His novel achieves the first. As an actor, his specialty is the classics, but as noted, “he also has an affinity for playing folks who are either crazy or evil and sometimes both at once.”

Oleander - U.S. 81and Dividing Lines

Mar 16, 2019
Ks Department of Transportation

If you're curious, you're probably wondering:  "Where is Here, Kansas?"  I'll tell you:  real close to Highway 81.  Why, I can walk from Elmer Peterson's Drive-Thru Pharmacy and Car Wash at the corner of John Brown and Kansas streets down to the Co-op at the corner of Wyatt Earp and Kansas streets, and feel like I've moved from Prairie to Plains.

You know, U.S. 81 gets blamed for being a dividing line.  In Kansas, it divides Eastern from Western Kansas.  Folks west of Concordia, Salina, McPherson and Wellington are thought by eastern Kansans to be "out there."  In fact, one Kansas historian named his book WEST OF WICHITA because he thought the experiences west were so different from those east of Wichita.


Listen each Friday, March 15 through April 5 as mystery book store owner Danny Caine of Lawrence, KS, explores four emerging authors.

Radio Readers BookBytes are aired at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and again at 6:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.

The Raven Reads The Dry

Mar 15, 2019

This is Danny Caine, owner of the Raven Book Store in Lawrence, with an HPPR Book Byte. Reading Jane Harper’s thriller The Dry, you’d never know it was her first book. It’s so well-plotted, so full of twists and clues and red herrings, that it feels like the work of a veteran.

Readers are tossed into the whitewater rapids of the story right away: Aaron Falk, a financial crimes investigator in Melbourne, has been summoned back to the small town of his youth for the funeral of his former best friend.

Garden City Community College, in partnership with HPPR and the Tumbleweed Festival, are proud to present MARTIN GILMORE at the first-ever HPPR Living Room Concert on the GCCC campus on Thursday, March 21 in the Beth Tedrow Student Center Portico on campus at Garden City Community College  at 7:30 pm. Suggested donation is $15. 

Thanks so much to Griffin Harrison, upright bassist for the Rock Bottom String Band, a bluegrass/alt-Americana group from San Marcos, Texas that’s playing GoldenLight Cantina TOMORROW, Thursday, March 14 at 9pm CT. They’ll be joined by the Tejon Street Corner Thieves from Colorado Springs. GoldenLight Cantina is located at 2906 SW 6th Ave. in Amarillo. For more info about the band, check out their website.

Pharmacalogical Researcher Pens Her Own Mysteries

Mar 13, 2019
Nina Blakeman

Listen each Wednesday, March 13 through April 3 to hear Tulia, Texas’ Nina Blakeman explore the life of an author of crime novels, including her own series. Radio Readers BookBytes are heard at 7:45 a.m. during Morning Edition and again at 6:44 p.m. during All Things Considered.

Inspired To Write - 'Blow Up Man'

Mar 13, 2019

Hello High Plains Radio Book Club Listeners. My name is Nina Blakeman and I’m the author of the Blow-up Man, a fictional thriller that takes place in a dispirited region of West Texas.

I always have loved reading, especially suspense and thrillers, but had never considered writing one of my own. Not until the winter of 2014-15, where a move took me to the rural countryside about three miles outside the agrarian town of Tulia, Texas. It was there that I became inspired.

From the East Texas piney woods and with a heart for the high plains, Adler & Hearne (AKA The Song Farmers) bring their signature brand of original Folk, Jazz, Blues and Gospel to this Spring’s HPPR Music Ambassador Tour.

Thanks so much to Joyce Knight, the Resource Development Director & Volunteer Coordinator at Catholic Charities of the Texas Panhandle, for stopping by High Plains Morning today to share information about their 20th Annual Salt & Pepper Luncheon that’s happening next Thursday, March 21st. For tickets and info, visit their website. They’re also on Facebook.

Here are the details:

Thanks so much to sax hero, multi-instrumentalist, & composer, Matt Bauder of Hearing Things. He spent some time with High Plains Morning on the telephone, despite having a new baby girl. (Thanks, Matt!) Hear the "things" (i.e., our full interivew) by clicking the link below. The new album, Here's Hearing Things is out THIS WEEK!

You asked for it, and you got it! Beth Wood is back on the High Plains, so don't miss this modern-day troubadour and believer in the power of song. 


Friday, April 5th

Chalice Abbey (2717 Stanley, Amarillo)
Doors @ 7:00 pm | Show @ 7:30 pm

Suggested Donation: $15 
***Make life easy & please bring cash!***

BYO + Coffee provided by Palace Coffee Company

About "Amarillo," From Amarillo

Mar 11, 2019

I’m Joe Lovell, a trial lawyer from Amarillo, Texas, here to tell you about Amarillo, a crime and courtroom novel by Bill Durham, set in -- you guessed it – my town. 

This book is called Amarillo and it’s about a broke, lonely, disenchanted, sober-alcoholic, Jewish criminal defense lawyer from Brooklyn, whose car breaks down in Amarillo on the way to Phoenix, during the middle of a cold, fall dust storm, leaving him to find work so he can fix his car and blow on down the road.

Thanks so much to Alec and Mariah of Whole Milk for sharing their distinctive "surf jazz" sound on High Plains Morning today. If you're in the Texas Panhandle, you can check them out TONIGHT at Mariposa Eco-Village (1501 N. Soncy, Amarillo) or again on Tuesday night at GoldenLight Cantina (2906 SW 6th, Amarillo). Click below for our full interview and their in-studio performance. 

Joe Lovell

Joe Lovell, an Amarillo trial lawyer will open a series exploring Bill Durham’s novel Amarillo.  Although he began his career in banking, he graduated from Texas Tech’s School of Law and began his law career in 1987. 

Author and actor Bill Durham shares Texas Tech as alma mater and both share a respect for the people of the Texas Panhandle, so it is fitting that Joe opens the series exploring a mystery set in “his town.”

Killers Of The Flower Moon - The Impact

Mar 8, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Hi, y’all. I am Eli Wilkerson, a Certified Fraud Examiner and US Army Veteran (Afghanistan 10/11). I have served 10 years in Texas Law Enforcement and have earned a Master of Business Administration.

Thanks to author Katie Young Foster for sharing her work with us today on High Plains Morning. She's got a reading tonight, March 7th, at Burrowing Owl Books (419 16th Street) in Canyon, TX from 7-8pm CT. It's a free event.   

Thanks to Dr. Michael C. Johnson for stopping by High Plains Morning today, sharing information about the Bach's Lunch concert series, featuring organ recitals at churches across Amarillo every Friday during Lent. 

Fill your Friday lunch hour with live classical music. Just bring a “box” lunch and some friends with you.  The Bach’s Lunches are a wonderful time for Lenten reflection and good music among friends. 


Hello, this is Steve Johnson, and my topic for the Radio Readers Book Club is the original Hardy Boys Mystery Series.  The Hardy Boys series was launched by Edward Stratemeyer of the Stratemeyer Syndicate in 1927 under the author name of Franklin W. Dixon.

The series would be penned by several ghostwriters over the first forty years, but the first, and arguably the best was Leslie McFarlane, a young Canadian who was working as a reporter for a small-town newspaper in Massachusetts in 1926 when he answered an ad in the trade journal "Editor and Publisher" seeking fiction writers to work from publisher's outlines.

High Plains Public Radio returned to Spicewood, Texas to visit the highlight of every year: the Luck Reunion, the best live-music lineup in the country, if you ask me.

Girl Waits With A Gun - Early Woman Crimefighter

Mar 4, 2019

Hi, this is Stacie Frobenius with a BookByte for Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart.  When choosing books for this series, I tried to pick books that I had already read and known were good.  I hadn’t read this book or had it recommended to me. 

It was the result of an Amazon search for books about detectives.  Amy Stewart takes a true news article about one of our nation’s first female crime fighters, Constance Kopp and weaves a story around the events surrounding her time in the spotlight.