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On 'Roadrunner!', Kaitlin Butts reimagines a Rodgers and Hammerstein classic

Kaitlin Butts
Thomas Crabtree
Courtesy of the artist
Kaitlin Butts

Growing up in Oklahoma, Kaitlin Butts' first performances were on stage acting and singing in musicals, so it's not exactly a huge surprise that her favorite musical is Oklahoma!, the legendary work from Rodgers and Hammerstein.

What was a surprise was that her husband, Cleto Cordero, who's a member of Flatland Cavalry, had not seen the 1955 movie adaptation. So, during the pandemic, they took in the turn-of-the-century story of love triangles among cowboys and ranch hands. Butts realized that a lot of the songs she was writing at the time echoed the musical she fell in love with a long time ago.

Enter Butts' new album, Roadrunner! Inspired by her favorite movie musical, every song on the album pulls from a plot point in the musical. It features an appearance from Vince Gill and songwriting from Natalie Hemby. In this session, Butts talks about why she loves Oklahoma!, how she gave it her own twist, and why her cover of a Kesha song on the new album makes a lot of sense.

This episode of World Cafe was produced and edited by Miguel Perez. Our senior producer is Kimberly Junod and our engineer is Chris Williams. Our programming and booking coordinator is Chelsea Johnson and our line producer is Will Loftus.

Copyright 2024 XPN

Miguel Perez
Miguel Perez is a radio producer for NPR's World Cafe, based out of WXPN in Philadelphia. Before that, he covered arts, music and culture for KERA in Dallas. He reported on everything from the rise of NFTs in the music industry to the enduring significance of gay and lesbian bars to the LGBTQ community in North Texas.