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you may also want to consider Jon Vezner. He doesn't quite fit your profile in that he is a songwriter now, but spent a good amount of time working in wood while figuring out his way in to that career. I've interviewed him in the past and his thoughts on the parallels are worth hearing.

As you consider creating such a program, and music for it, I'd also suggest to you a song by Carrie Newcomer called Betty's Diner. Sounds a little stuffy to say she sees the diner and the people who stop by as an intersection of human and divine, but anyway, I think you may want to give it a listen. Newcomer explored the lives of the people she sketched in that song (which is on the retrospective album Betty's Diner: the best of Carrie Newcomer) later on through an album called Regulars and Refugees -- sort of became taken over by their stories for a time, she says.