Michael Perry is a roughneck contemplative. A term that I am hoping he will half smirk at in self-recognition from his deer stand. We got together to talk about his latest book, Montaigne in Barn Boots: An Amateur Ambles Through Philosophy, a book that mind you, made me deeply reflect on my own life and laugh out loud while reading in crowded public spaces. A combination that doesn’t happen as often as I would like. So I wondered, what would a conversation with Michael Perry be like? Perry falls into the category of conversation partner that I admire, one who can belay between foolish laughter to gut-punch vulnerability in the span of a couple minutes.
As a music lover, for me to hear the connection between Mike Perry, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Justin Vernon and Phil Cook made me giddy. To learn that Justin Vernon and Phil Cook were once a part of Perry’s band was more than my ears could take. And this is just the tip of the conversation. Mike and I delve into how a kidney stone got him interested in the philosophy of Michel de Montaigne, why one might hesitate when they write an entire chapter about shame, the known and unknown seasons of marriage, and multitude of moments where Perry makes me snicker like a schoolboy. So pick up this book, Montaigne in Barn Boots, if you also like to philosophically bob and weave between laughter, tears and sighs of recognition. Or perhaps just like the term, roughneck contemplative.