Songs about cancer treatment are rare. Songs about cancer treatment that dont border on self-parody and, instead, garner critical acclaim are even more scarce, but White Sulphur Springs, Mont., family physician Ben Bullington managed to pull off that feat with his song Twangy Guitars. Public radio disc jockey Rich Warren recently played the song on his nationally syndicated Saturday evening folk music program The Midnight Specialafter telling his audience to stop whatever they were doing so they could pay attention. Warren also named Bullingtons CD White Sulphur Springs, which features guest appearances by country music great Rodney Crowell and blues singer Tracy Nelson, his programs CD of the week on April 4.
The guys a pretty damn good doctor for a songwriter, notes Crowell in Bullingtons online biography.
The 5-minute, 33-second song tells the story of an uninsured farmer driving his wife through the wintery northern Plains landscape to Bismarck, N.D., for treatment. In one verse, the woman tells her husband she hates this place, because Everything smells like alcohol, white coats walking up and down the hall, waiting room chairs and magazines, it all just seems a little too clean.
Bullington tells Outliers he devotes about an hour or two to music a day, with the rest of his day focused on medicine. In the past few years, he has been able to combine the two each October during visits to Madison, Wis., where he schedules a music appearance before taking in the Hackett Hemwall Foundation Annual Prolotherapy Conference. The conference will be held Oct. 8-10 this year, and Bullington says hes also trying to schedule a performance in Chicago as well as Madison around the time of the conference.