hearstMusician, composer, multi-instrumentalist, and writer Michael Hearst has a new project out through PBS Digital Studios, a series of online episodes entitled “Songs for Unusual Creatures.” Hearst, who received his degree in music composition from VCU, was a founding member of musical group One Ring Zero, which was begun here in Richmond in 1997. One Ring Zero went on to produce numerous albums, including the acclaimed “As Smart as We Are,” in which published authors and writers like Dave Eggers, Margaret Atwood, and Neil Gaiman wrote lyrics which were then set to music by Hearst and fellow bandmate Joshua Camp. Hearst’s writing has appeared in many literary journals as well, including McSweeney’s, Parenthetical Note, and The Lifted Brow, among others.

“Songs for Unusual Creatures” is based on the nonfiction book written by Hearst Unusual Creatures, in which he introduces a wide variety of the world’s most peculiar animals. The series, hosted on the internet and through PBS Digital Studios, is a fantastic look at some of these interesting animals and the songs inspired by them, created by Hearst and a few musicians with a variety of ‘unusual’ instruments as well. The series is fun, unique, and educational; something people of all ages can truly enjoy.

We are very excited to be featuring a piece on shopping/to-do lists of interesting people by Michael in our next issue, Hunt, Gather.

Watch the first episode below, and check out his website here for more information.