1. Buffy Root
    Buffy Root November 20, 2019 at 3:24 pm | | Reply

    LOVE IT!

  2. Kelly Green
    Kelly Green November 20, 2019 at 8:36 pm | | Reply

    I loved the show but I have to tell you, most of your fears do not reflect reality. The objective truth is that you look great in a miniskirt and you are more visible than you have ever been in your entire life. You have more listeners, more exposure of your work, more people wearing RumbleStrip tee-shirts, more friends, more ambition than when RS began, and more love than ever. I can’t wait to hear the next big show.

  3. EAH
    EAH November 20, 2019 at 9:02 pm | | Reply

    Simply wonderful. What a 50th birthday party for you and all of the rest of us. I was one of the lucky ones who got to go the party and didn’t have to sing on the little stage. And I didn’t have to muse about turning 50 – and what lies beyond that alarming bench mark birthday. The show made me laugh and to marvel that you have so many interesting, eccentric, loyal friends and admirers who joined so loudly in the last part of the song. And these were just the lucky few who were close enough to be at the party itself. The far flung radio fans join me I am sure, in celebrating your birthday. For the record, I am well beyond my “Use by date” age and predict with the authority granted by experience, that yours will be an extraordinary final 1/3 of life (and maybe lots more) filled with marvelous friends, curiosity and contentment. Keep on doing what you are doing for – yourself and the rest of us.

  4. Deb Fleischman
    Deb Fleischman November 21, 2019 at 9:19 pm | | Reply

    So so awesome! I’m about to turn 60 and it couldn’t be more relevant. And wacky and impossible and hysterical. I love this show and love that it’s you doing it. There’s only one EH. 50, 90. Keep on truckin.

  5. janie
    janie November 22, 2019 at 5:45 pm | | Reply

    This is so FUN!
    I don’t even like the song but laughed and cried, the delivery is priceless.
    Happy birthday, you nailed the spirit of it. . . cheers to the excellent accompaniment too.

  6. Howard Norman
    Howard Norman November 24, 2019 at 7:46 am | | Reply

    Erica Heilman is a rare gem, the rarest. Her birthday party was great fun. I will say that she and Tobin
    (Tobin Anderson, a national treasure of a writer as far as I’m concerned) should definitely NOT go on the road
    as a duet. But the band rocked, the evening rocked, and everyone laughed and cried. The whole party was
    deeply informed by mortality, but probably no one uttered that word. I eavesdropped all over the place,
    and heard “Erica is awesome” oh I’d say thirty times (28 from Erica, but so what?) I don’t love every episode
    of RumbleStrip but even the ones I feel dubious about are inimitable—Erica is that rarest thing on public
    radio—an original voice. I think “Total Eclipse of the Heart” now should be the B-side of
    “Moonlight in Vermont.” (But please, not in Erica and Tobin’s version!) Erica is also, as you know, an amazing
    private investigator. She is the hero —and written of by actual name—in my novel set right next door to Erica’s
    house. She deals with crimes in reality and in fiction. I myself can’t remember turning fifty but I’ll never forget Erica’s
    party. It was so generous. I love the photograph in front of the post office; it looks like a 60’s album cover.

  7. D
    D November 24, 2019 at 9:42 am | | Reply

    I just got a chance to listen to this. I was saving it until could pay attention because I am closing in on 50 *and* I have a thing about Total Eclipse of the Heart and I wanted to hear about both of those things. I realized, almost at the end, that the entire time I had a smile stuck on my face. I laughed so hard where your friend was describing putting you out to pasture and then what the pasture would be like. When I was 11, in 1982, my parents separated and I moved into an apartment with my mom. She was crazy about Bonnie Tyler and that song in particular. (I don’t know, did she actually have other songs? There was a B side at the very least…) My mom listened to that 45 all. the. time. I would come home from school and open the door and hear it blaring. Weekends while we cleaned the apartment? Blaring from the living room. Late at night while she and her friend (also recently divorced) drank wine on the couch? Quietly playing on repeat… I hear it and I feel all cringe-y inside. But listening to your version has given it a new life! I can think about this instead! I got a little bit teary at the end when the people at your party were singing along, too. This was so good.

  8. Sarah
    Sarah November 25, 2019 at 8:31 am | | Reply

    Loved it, thanks for bringing us along for the ride! Happy Birthday Erica!

  9. stan
    stan November 25, 2019 at 6:05 pm | | Reply

    Happy Birthday, Erica Heilman. Total Eclipse of the Heart, being so melodramatic, might have worked wonderfully with that twang. I loved hearing everyone at your party singing along. You tapped deep into something. On becoming invisible – you sure are audible to a lot of people these days. Thanks for sharing a little vulnerability.

  10. Patrick
    Patrick December 5, 2019 at 4:29 pm | | Reply

    I’m so grateful for this entire podcast. Your work is so illuminating! From the brilliant “Problems” series, to your ability to show the majesty in minutae, from the personal dignity that you invite your subjects to offer, to the real time affirmations that I hear in your voice with each piece, I’m just plain grateful.

    I live in Portland, Oregon, but I’m from Massachusetts (and spent some time as a child and adult in Vermont), but when I listen to Rumble Strip, I feel like I’m back in the Berkshires…I don’t know how you do it, but it’s magical.

    I also did my graduate thesis on the Poet/Playwright David Budbill, whom I assume you’re aware of. I haven’t heard a Rumble Strip episode on him (I know, he’s passed, but it’s never too late…he’s the NE Kingdom’s poet laureate in my opinion, but you’d know far better than me).

    Please do a show on his work some time.

  11. Lin
    Lin December 20, 2019 at 6:34 pm | | Reply

    Happy 50th, Erica! This story made me laugh and cry at the same time. Good job! By the way, I turned 51 on my last birthday. I know that song and associate it with a short-lived TV show featuring the hunk, Jon Erik Hexum, who was a guilty pleasure, along with the song. Sadly, he didn’t live to see 50, so we can count ourselves lucky, even though we’re invisible to guys like him.

  12. a
    a January 15, 2020 at 10:45 am | | Reply

    I think about that question that somebody had- how do you be yourself across all these different periods of change? It is a good question, and one I am tuned into in the shift between semesters and long winter and summer breaks… AndI love school. But how can I still prove to myself that I am devoted to my studies, to my art practice while on these long breaks, where time moves differently and my responsibilities?

    I think that impulse to share outward remains the same, and I think the work of covering that song accomplishes that. How cool.

  13. Marni
    Marni February 4, 2020 at 10:30 am | | Reply

    I’m one who listens to your podcasts way down the road because I like to wait until I’m in a reflective, contemplative state, and really ready to HEAR what you and your guests have to say. With that being said… Happy waaaaaay belated 50th birthday, Erica! I really, really loved this episode. I will be celebrating 52 this summer, and I have to say that the 50’s are my best decade yet. I thought it was my 30’s. And then I thought it was my 40’s. But here we are and now I understand the appeal of the aging process. Finer. Sweeter. More deeply meaningful. Thank you for doing what you do. I’m actually sporting my Rumble Strip t-shirt as I’m out and about today! 🙂

    Oh, and I can’t tell you how many times I soulfully belted out Total Eclipse of the Heart as a teenager! So fantastic that this is what you wanted to do for your 50th.

  14. Thomas
    Thomas July 2, 2020 at 7:02 pm | | Reply

    I recently listened to “Fifty. A Phoenix Moment” and feel that it ranks with such Rumble Strip masterpieces as “An American Life,” the “Our Show” series, all of the converations with Leland, and “Problems, Episode 1: Grout and the Contra Dance.”

    As someone who recently turned fifty, I was both astonished and moved by the way this show addresses such phenomena of maturity as becoming invisible to youth, and recognizing that certain clothes are not yours to wear anymore.

    These are precisely the things that have occured to me privately, and I held them inside myself with lonesome sense of shame.

    But Erica addresses these troublesome realizations with such poignancy and tact that, in a sudden soulful rush, I realized that what I’m feeling is not at all unusual.

    Perhaps this doesn’t make these realizations any less sad, but does make living with them a lot less lonely.

    Only a brave and kind human being could have made such a soulful work of art as this—thank you endlessly, Erica!

    PS—You really sing well! You made me realize that “Total Eclipse Of The Heart” is a great song indeed. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ERICA!!!

  15. Todd T Milazzo
    Todd T Milazzo February 27, 2021 at 9:46 pm | | Reply

    I am very late to the game, but so glad that The faceBook (speaking of being of a certain age) somehow introduced me to You. I will be binge listening for a while now, I suspect, and let’s be clear about one thing… Total Eclipse Of The Heart is a masterpiece! Keep up the great work, and wear your kilt whenever you damn well please. Cheers! TM

  16. Denise
    Denise November 17, 2021 at 3:19 pm | | Reply

    Oh my gosh, so great. Thank you from someone in San Francisco, living in the lost decade (we exist!), and turning 54 in a few days.

Leave a Reply to D Click here to cancel reply.

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here


Get the Newsletter

I'll email you when new episodes arrive.

Get the show

Never miss an episode! Subscribe to have the show downloaded to your device:
the iTunes store

Follow me

Extras, chatter, and other observations (and show notices, of course):


  • Ellen Woodhouse commented on Finn and the Bell: THANK YOU Tara for sharing. Mother to mother, (...)
  • Alice commented on Finn and the Bell: Thank you for sharing Finn and his mother's b (...)
  • Finn and the Bell Conversation commented on Finn and the Bell: […] We’re collecting comments on (...)
  • distracted commented on Finn and the Bell: […] and the Bell.” Please, please (...)
  • Amy Tingle commented on Finn and the Bell: I’m astounded, again. Since I listened to the (...)