Author Conversations
Hidden History of Music Row

Hidden History of Music Row

September 2, 2020

Nashville’s Music Row is as complicated as the myths that surround it. And there are plenty, from an adulterous French fur trader to an adventurous antebellum widow, from the early Quonset hut recordings to record labels in glass high-rise towers and from “Your Cheatin’ Heart” to “Strawberry Wine.” Untangle the legendary history with never-before-seen photos of Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Kris Kristofferson and Shel Silverstein and interviews with multi-platinum songwriters and star performers. Authors Brian Allison, Elizabeth Elkins and Vanessa Olivarez dig into the dreamers and the doers, the architects and the madmen, the ghosts and the hit-makers that made these avenues and alleys world-famous.

 

Elizabeth Elkins is a professional songwriter and writer. A military brat, she holds degrees from the University of Georgia and Emory University. She has written for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Creative Loafing, Art & Antiques and many others. She is president of Historic Nashville Inc. and the author of the upcoming Your Cheatin’ Heart: Timothy Demonbreun and the Politics of Love and Power in Nascent Nashville (Vanderbilt University Press).

Vanessa Olivarez is a professional songwriter and vocalist. A Texas native, she was a Top 12 finalist on the second season of American Idol and received a Dora Award nomination for her work in the Toronto, Canada production of Hairspray.

Together, Elkins and Olivarez are Granville Automatic, an alt-country band that has been featured in the New York Times, USA Today and the Bitter Southerner. Their songs have been used in numerous television programs and films, and they have written songs recorded by more than seventy-five other artists, including Billy Currington, Wanda Jackson and Sugarland. They were the songwriters in residence at the Seaside Institute’s Escape to Create program (Florida), where they wrote a Civil War concept album, An Army without Music. Their 2018 album Radio Hymns focuses on the lost history of Nashville, and the 2020 follow-up, Tiny Televisions, was inspired by Music Row stories in this book. You may have seen their videos on CMT. The pair live in Nashville, Tennessee, and regularly tour across the United States.

While not a musician himself, Brian Allison was born and raised on stories of country music. His father, Joe, was a producer, songwriter, radio personality and pioneer, and without his stories, this book would not have been possible. A professional historian, museum consultant and writer, Brian is the author of two other books for The History Press, Murder & Mayhem in Nashville and Notorious Nashville. He lives in Nashville.

The Revolutionary War in the Adirondacks

The Revolutionary War in the Adirondacks

August 3, 2020

This week we focus in on the fascinating history of the Revolutionary War in the Adirondacks.

Much of New York during the Revolutionary era was frontier wilderness, sparsely populated and bitterly divided. Although the only major campaign in the region would end at the Battle of Saratoga, factional raiding parties traversed the mountains and valleys of the Adirondacks throughout the war. Sir Christopher Carleton led groups of Loyalists, Hessians and Iroquois in successful attacks along Lake Champlain, capturing forts and striking fear in local villages. Mohawk war chief Joseph Brant led a motley band of irregulars known as “Brant’s Volunteers” in chaotic raids against Patriot targets. Marauding brothers Edward and Ebenezer Jessup brought suffering to the very lands they had purchased years before in Kingsbury, Queensbury and Fort Edward. Author Marie Danielle Annette Williams covers the history of the Adirondacks during the Revolutionary War.

Bizarre Bluegrass

Bizarre Bluegrass

July 27, 2020

This week we explore the Bizzare History of the Bluegrass
State with author Keven McQueen.
From ghost towns to circus performers to mass hysteria, the Bluegrass State is no stranger to the strange. Read stories of famed President Abraham Lincoln you’ve never heard before. Find possible solutions to the mystery of Pearl Bryan’s missing head and decipher the outrageous hoaxes involving an unsolvable puzzle and monkeys trained to perform farm work. Learn about the time when the author wrote to Charles Manson as a joke and Manson wrote back—four times. Join author Keven McQueen as
he recounts some of the weirder vignettes from Kentucky lore.

Fort Clinch, Fernandina and the Civil War

Fort Clinch, Fernandina and the Civil War

July 20, 2020

This week we discuss a site who's role is not well known but was vital in bringing about an end to the Civil War. The site? Fort Clinch in Fernandina, FL. 

Even though Fernandina was tucked away in the far southern reaches of the Confederacy, Fort Clinch had been abandoned to Federal forces by March 1862. It proved a boon to the Union war effort, and the island became a haven for runaway slaves, with many joining the Federal army. The military occupation of this vital seaport helped end the war, and the Reconstruction period that followed bore witness to Union and Confederate veterans working together to bring Fernandina into a golden era of prosperity. Author and local historian Frank A. Ofeldt III captures the vital and under-told story of Amelia Island during the Civil War.

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Shark Attacks along the Jersey Shore

Shark Attacks along the Jersey Shore

July 13, 2020

Authors Patricia and Robert Heyer join me this episode to tell us about famous attacks along the Jersey Shore including attacks in the early 1900's that influenced pop culture. 

Every summer, thousands flock to the Jersey Shore for its beaches and boardwalks, but lurking in the depths beyond is a historic threat to tranquility. Dozens of shark attacks and interactions have occurred throughout Jersey Shore history that reveal bravery, heartbreak and the hubris of man. A boy paid a gruesome price for teasing a trapped shark in the first recorded attack in 1842. The three bloody attacks of 1960 left one man’s limb amputated. The horrific summer of 1916 included seven attacks in a two-week span and crafted the caricature of the killer shark that remains in popular culture today. Authors Patricia and Robert Heyer dive into the history of when two apex predators, man and shark, cross paths on the shores of New Jersey.

Hidden History of East Texas

Hidden History of East Texas

July 6, 2020

Join me this week as I talk with the author of Hidden History of East Texas, Tex Midkiff about Texas Rangers, Big Tex, Shootouts, UFO's and theories around the JFK assassination. 

The heritage of East Texas partakes in the same degree of unexpected turns and hidden depths as its backroads and bayous. One line of inquiry meanders into another. Start out searching for La Salle’s grave and end up chasing Spanish gold in Upshur County. From Sam Houston’s Bible to the Longview nightclub that hosted both Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, one tale follows another and introduces a cast of characters that includes Candace and Peter Ellis Bean, Old Rip, Jack Lummus and Vernon Wayne Howell. Part the Pine Curtain with Tex Midkiff for a history as heated as the La Grange Chicken Ranch’s parlor and irresistible as a batch of Golden sweet potatoes.

 

John F Kennedy from Florida to the Moon

John F Kennedy from Florida to the Moon

June 1, 2020

It was September 12, 1962, when Pres. John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at Rice University before nearly 50,000 people. By that time, America had launched but four men into space—the suborbital flights of Alan Shepard and Gus Grissom and the nearly identical three-orbit journeys of John Glenn and Scott Carpenter. Buoyed by the success of those missions and cognizant of the danger that lay ahead, the president rearticulated his vision and reissued his challenge to reach the moon before 1970. "We choose to go to the moon, in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. Because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills." The assassination of President Kennedy, in the words of flight director Gene Kranz, turned his vision into a "quest to do it and do it in the time frame he allotted." On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the lunar module known as Eagle, taking "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

NASA Space Centers with Cindy Manto

NASA Space Centers with Cindy Manto

May 26, 2020

This week we look forward to launching astronauts to space once again from US soil. So what better time to speak with an author of not one but three books regarding NASA testing facilities? Cindy Manto joins me this week as we look to the future while remembering the past.

Flavors Under the Big Sky with Yellow Stone Public Radio’s Stella Fong

Flavors Under the Big Sky with Yellow Stone Public Radio’s Stella Fong

May 18, 2020

With more than eighty recipes and stunning photography, writer and radio host Stella Fong marries cherished local ingredients with world flavors. Sourced from waterways, mountains, plains and local farmers’ markets, Montana’s resources shine in a diverse array of savory and sweet applications. Dishes like Pheasant Stir-Fry with Black Bean Sauce and Elk Kielbasa with Pomegranate bring international flair to familiar game. Rhubarb Raspberry Polenta Cake and Pavlova Roulade with Sour Cherry Sauce and Toasted Almonds give new life to market and garden staples. And stories of local culinary trailblazers pay tribute to the Treasure State’s abundance. The host of Yellowstone Public Radio’s Flavors Under the Big Sky: Celebrating the Bounty of the Region offers a fresh take on Big Sky Country’s finest fare.

Pirates and Lost Treasure of Coastal Maine

Pirates and Lost Treasure of Coastal Maine

April 27, 2020

Maine has never been regarded as a pirate haven, but only because witnesses were few and far between. With a rugged coast and more than four thousand offshore islands, Maine’s dark waters attracted sea raiders like Dixie Bull from the 1600s through colonial times. Pirate treasure still awaits discovery in Phippsburg and Machias, and pirate deceit prompted a massacre in ancient Fort Loyall. The infamous Captain Kidd may have prowled the waters off Deer Isle, while farther down the coast a woman and a bloodthirsty band of cutthroats lured ships to disaster at Isles of Shoals. Award-winning investigative journalist Greg Latimer separates historical fact from fiction and leads readers on an adventure through the state’s foggy and treacherous past.

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