It was a snowy December afternoon at Vicki’s Wash & Wear Haircuts. Vicki Honeyman was cutting hair at the barber chair in the middle of her Heavenly Metal boutique while David Menefee, a white-bearded local stonemason and troubadour, modeled what he called his Father Christmas outfit, which he’d cobbled together from a druidic-looking robe, staff, and lantern. “So do you think someone would hire me to just kind of walk around like this—and, you know, play a few tunes?” he asked Honeyman and her client in the chair. “I haven’t made any money all year,” he complained.

Menefee then tuned up his guitar and was serenading Honeyman with “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” when William Bolcom and Joan Morris walked through the door for their haircuts. While the Pulitzer Prize–winning composer settled himself in the barber chair, mezzo-soprano Morris and Menefee quickly found common ground. First they crooned out Irving Berlin’s “Always.” Then she asked him whether he knew Hank Williams’s “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” She sang, he played, the room stood still. Menefee said, approvingly, “Hey, Joan, I didn’t know you liked this hillbilly music.” “It’s a beautiful song,” replied Morris gravely.