“Unwanted Dogs,” was originally written years ago after a good friend came out to his family and friends. The occasion most importantly marked a joyous event in his life, but the greatest affect his announcement had on me came in recognizing that he had lived a very long time in hiding and possibly in fear. A part of his life was forced to a kind of confinement that I couldn’t quite relate to, but found myself thinking a lot about. A reason and inspiration to record the song was presented when music was needed for a one-act production of the Tennessee Williams play The Chalky White Substance.

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A small synopsis of the play’s setting:

The Chalky White Substance takes place on a few desolate rocks stretched out over the Arroyo Secco of Southern California — once a river; now a bone dry. Most of the area’s water has evaporated and the trees have died, and what’s left is rock or dust. The chalky white substance that has covered the earth is constantly blowing around in the wind and finding new places to settle into. The barren wasteland and its deserted canyon walls serve as a meeting place for Mark and Luke. Both characters, especially Luke, live in fear of an oppressive government and aggressively violent society. Young men have to work to avoid being raped, killed, or kidnapped at all times.

The Chalky White Substance will be performed at UWEC’s Riverside Theatre on April 19 at 4pm, April 20 at 7:30, and April 21 at 4:00. Hear more music from Utah Salt and Dirt Deposit on its Bandcamp page, including the play’s introduction track.