A coyote yip and howl and the tender crunch of gravel below ft herald every new episode of “Desert Oracle Radio.” And as creator and host Ken Layne quietly broadcasts, “Night time has fallen over the desert,” underscored by a moody soundscape, it’s straightforward to image the crackling campfire barely holding again the encroaching darkness. There are eerie mysteries on the market within the wilderness.
For a half-hour every week or so, Layne unravels dark tales and folklore of the American Southwest, broadcasting from the small group radio station KCDZ in Joshua Tree, California, and distributing “Desert Oracle Radio” as a podcast. The present is an outgrowth of a collection of pocket-sized “discipline guides” Layne started publishing in 2015, and “Desert Oracle Radio” episodes have lined matters from odd mountaineering deaths and unusual desert creatures to UFO sightings, conspiracy theories and the actually unexplainable. Woven all through is a respect for the desert’s complexity and its non secular draw — there’s a clear have to protect the land.
“Desert Oracle Radio” is targeted on the American Southwest, significantly in Layne’s residence within the Mojave Desert, however the tales he tells really feel common and might grip anybody within the inexplicable.
“Lots of these tales, you might join with the stuff even should you haven’t been to the precise locations,” Layne says from his automotive on the street to Austin, Texas. “There are echoes of those conditions and tales just about wherever, whether or not that be the swamp or the mountains or the pine forest — anyplace outdoors of busy 24-hour fuel stations.”
Layne’s small tour of “Desert Oracle Radio” reside reveals hits New Orleans on Wednesday, Dec. 8, for an episode at Gasa Gasa. The present begins at 9 p.m., and tickets are $20.
The author and radio host was born within the Decrease ninth Ward and hasn’t but hosted a present right here. He moved to Phoenix, Arizona, when he was in center college and have become fascinated with landscapes of the Southwest. Nonetheless, Layne says, rising up in New Orleans “has quite a lot of blame for my lifelong pursuits.”
“My kin had been all spooky folks. All people had ghosts and demise candles,” Layne says. “They’re Cajun and Irish, these had been the 2 sides. All of them moved to town, I feel throughout the Melancholy, and so you bought used to that [eerie] stuff.”
After a profession as a journalist — as a political reporter, Gawker correspondent and one-time proprietor of Wonkette — Layne left the hectic online media landscape for the desert. He went in the other way of the digital-first tempo, publishing the “Desert Oracle” as a quarterly print version and filling the yellow and black covers with tales about desert natural world, legends, paranormal exercise and cryptids. In 2017, he launched “Desert Oracle Radio.”
Stations across the nation have picked up the present, and the podcast has developed a cult following, prompting Layne to host reside reveals across the Southwest. This tour additionally takes him to Austin, Dallas, Memphis and Norman, Oklahoma.
Layne adjustments up the reside present each evening, combining new and previous tales and telling them over an atmospheric soundscape, just like his radio present. He locations a “haunted, previous phone” related to the sound system close to the stage, and a part of the present is reserved for a “call-in” phase, the place viewers members can share their unusual tales.
“Virtually each time folks have [spoken] on the reveals, afterwards, if I discuss to them, they’ll say, ‘You understand, I’d sort of forgotten about this expertise, and once you requested about it, it type of got here again to me,’” Layne says. “Since we don’t have a neat place to place it in our world, it typically simply sort of will get put again into the unconscious and we overlook about it.”