The Steer

Hosted ByJoshua James Amberson, Karleigh Frisbie Brogan & Jeff Alessandrelli

Hosted by Joshua James Amberson, Karleigh Frisbie Brogan, and Jeff Alessandrelli in Portland, Oregon, The Steer features leading musicians talking about their favorite writers and books and leading writers talking about their favorite musicians and albums. Conversations often go elsewhere and following each talk is a playlist of songs or sounds discussed during the interview. New episodes drop every two weeks.

All Episodes

Poet & Essayist Wendy Bourgeois

Poet and essayist Wendy Bourgeois talks about growing up working class, shoe shopping, conservative relatives, her love of minor-key country & western music, and her new book of essays “The Devil Says Maybe I Like It,” published by Propeller Books.

Willy Vlautin–Playlist

A track from the Pogues, then music from Willy’s bands Richmond Fontaine and The Delines.

Novelist & Songwriter Willy Vlautin

Critically acclaimed novelist and musician Willy Vlautin (“Lean on Pete,” “The Motel Life”) talks about growing up in Reno, Nevada, writing his early work at horse tracks in Portland, Oregon, and how much a brief encounter with The Pogues’ singer Shane MacGowan meant to him. His band, The Delines, is currently touring their newest album, “The Imperial.”


Dao Strom–Playlist

Music by Dao Strom, music talked about in her interview, and tracks that are particular favorites of hers. Full playlist on our website.

Musician & Multigenre Writer Dao Strom

Born in Vietnam, Dao Strom grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills, where she first began writing and thinking about the world as a beautiful place yet filled with contradiction. She talks with us about learning to play music in Iowa City, how she maintains her creativity from project to project, Cat Power, and why people are occasionally surprised by her love of folk and country music. Strom’s latest book is You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else and, recording as The Sea and The Mother, her latest album is a 6 song EP entitled Sense.

In addition to her own creative work Strom is also a founding member of She Who Has No Master(s), a collective of women writers of the Vietnamese diaspora, co-director of a PoC library collective/social engagement project, De-Canon, and the editor of diaCRITICS.

Janice Lee–Playlist

Music that Janice Lee talked about in her interview.

Multigenre Writer & Publisher Janice Lee

Janice Lee talks about her secret dance performances and how the music of “Godspeed You! Black Emperor” carries her through writing sessions. Lee is the author of KEROTAKIS (Dog Horn Press, 2010), Daughter (Jaded Ibis, 2011), Damnation (Penny-Ante Editions, 2013), Reconsolidation (Penny-Ante Editions, 2015), and The Sky Isn’t Blue (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). She is Founder & Executive Editor of Entropy, Co-Publisher at Civil Coping Mechanisms, Contributing Editor at Fanzine, and Co-Founder of The Accomplices LLC. After living for over 30 years in California, she recently moved from Los Angeles to Portland, Oregon where she is an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Portland State University.

Songwriter & Story Writer Laura Gibson

Musician (and writer) Laura Gibson discusses the nature of her MFA experience at Hunter College, the role author Colum McCann has had on her writing life, New York City living vs. Portland living, screenplays, and her new album Goners.

Novelist Jonathan Lethem

Acclaimed author Jonathan Lethem (“Motherless Brooklyn,” “Fortress of Solitude”) talks about making art while the world is on fire, writing female characters, his life-long love of music, and of course, his newest book, “The Feral Detective,” published by Harper Collins.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter