Jeffrey Abugel is a native of New York who now calls Petersburg home. He talks with Colin about growing up in NYC, living in California and writing about surf music, and suffering long winters in Iowa before landing in Virginia. He is an authority on depersonalization disorder, a prevalent but not well-known affliction that has historical roots in existentialist philosophy but has only recently entered the lexicon of mental health. Plus, Jeff discusses his work on Edgar Allan Poe, a new novel, and playing cards with Al Pacino.
Colin runs down his December, which included an accidental attendance at a Confederate Pride Christmas Parade in Mechanicsville and a welcome night at a concert given by by Drive-By Truckers front man Patterson Hood. Also, to start the show, Larry and David and Marlon Brando stop in for a spirited reading of The Night Before Christmas. It's Christmas! You'll laugh (hopefully) and cry (over your credit card bills)! Throw another yule log on the fire and snuggle in with some free online content!
Erin Devlin is a professor of History and American Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. She has written a book Remember Little Rock (University of Massachusetts Press, 2017), about racial integration in Arkansas's capital from the 1950s onward. As she discusses with Colin, the story of Little Rock integration was one of progress and setbacks, and it's a story that resonates not just throughout the South, but in the North as well. It is also a story important to today's politics and battles over public education.
In their first episode in Richmond, Bun and Hawk take on the usual topics: film, politics, sexual deviancy (with focus on Louis CK), Mother Teresa, and Harriet Tubman. Why can't Bun keep the Jewish Community Center and the Byrd Theatre straight? Why does Hawk think that "no one is clean?" It's another R-rated foray into the world of pop culture and current events.
Colin survived Thanksgiving. And on this episode, he talks about his run up and down I-95 with the family, describes the glories of the fire pit, sees some dinosaurs, and offers a brief Tony Soprano impersonation. Will he keep the tree up until MLK day? Listen and find out!
Bill Martin is the Director of the Valentine Museum in downtown Richmond. A Virginia native with stops in Georgia and Florida, he has lived in RVA for over twenty years and seen big changes in the city's landscape, demographics, and attitudes. Bill has dedicated himself to telling RVA's rich and often controversial story. Along the way, he corrects some common misconceptions about the capital and its history. Tatted hipsters! Craft beer! I-95! Bill and Colin discuss it all.
Colin discusses the recent political campaigns in Virginia, the cold weather, and some of his favorite alt-country albums. Wilco! Drive-by Truckers! Bobby Bare, Jr.! We're sure they were very happy to make the list.
Stan James plays drums for two bands: the southern metal group Iron Tongue and the alt-country outfit Jeff Coleman and the Feeders. Stan talks about playing music from an early age, his days with Cry Havoc, the Little Rock music scene in the 1990s, and what it's like to teach high school kids. Stan also remembers his first tattoo, discusses his Kiss worship, and recounts the decline and fall of 80s hair band Warrant.
Colin is back in Arkansas to do research on the prisons and give a talk on Johnny Cash. Along the way, he reconnects with some friends, visits historic Dyess yet again for a concert featuring Rosanne Cash and Kris Kristofferson, and discovers what it's like to spend a night in a Cormac McCarthy novel. It's fall in the South, where the country-rock bands are jumpin' and the cotton is high. A very special American Rambler travelogue!
In anticipation of his talk in Dyess, Arkansas, Colin uploads his paper on the relationship between Johnny Cash and his father Ray, which is part of his book, Country Boy: The Roots of Johnny Cash. In the outro, he discusses a recent, belated purchase of two classic rock albums, the horrors of getting a hair cut, and the arrival of fall.
Patrick Carr knows music. A writer for the Village Voice and Country Music Magazine, Patrick collaborated with Johnny Cash on his second autobiography, which was published in 1997. Patrick talks with Colin about growing up in northern England and his early love of "the Hanks," moving to New York City, and what it was like to know and work with the Man in Black at the height of his 1990s comeback.
It was a horrible beginning of the week, but it got better, right? Colin discusses the tragedy that took place in Las Vegas and the sadness of Tom Petty's unexpected passing. He also talks about a rare date night and seeing a Johnny Cash tribute band in Henrico. To quote from a "Boy Named Sue": "this world is rough, and if a man's gonna make, he's gotta be tough." Let's hope next Monday isn't as rough.
He works in Charlottesville now, but Brendan Wolfe is a native of Iowa. This year, he published a book on Davenport jazz legend Bix Beiderbecke. Brendan worked more than ten years on Finding Bix: The Life and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend. He talks with Colin about Bix's short, brilliant, and controversial life, doing non-traditional biography, and dealing with nasty reviewers.
Alan Taylor is one of the most accomplished historians working today. A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and professor of history at the University of Virginia, his latest book is American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804. He talks with Colin about the craft of history, his time in California, moving to Virginia, being a loyal Red Sox fan, and, of course, the War of 1812.
What do the Richmond Confederate monuments and the band Drive-By Truckers have in common? Colin sits down with Chris Graham, a Ph.D. in history, Richmond transplant, and Truckers fan, to talk about intersections between the 19th and 21st century South. As it turns out, the Civil War's legacy has a lot to do with the Truckers, whose most recent album, American Band, got political.
Also, legendary drummer Ginger Baker stops by the studio to dispense a few words of wisdom.
Recorded the day after the deadly rally, Colin talks about the battle over the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia, and what it might mean for the debate over Confederate monuments in Richmond. Also, Colin remembers Dr. Chad Vanderford, a friend from Louisiana State University and scholar of early America, who died suddenly last week.
Recorded back in July, part one of Colin's tour through his vinyl collection gives him the opportunity to discuss his eclectic taste in music. It also gives him to do "both halves" of his Ginger Baker impersonation. Plus, Jack Davis draws a Johnny Cash cover! Colin defends prog and Colin shows he knows next to nothing about Delaney and Bonnie! It's another solo podcast with American Rambler!
Allen Guelzo is a three time winner of the prestigious Lincoln Prize and a professor of the Civil War era at Gettysburg College. But as he tells Colin, he began as a scholar of colonial religion and philosophy. In their talk, Colin and Allen discuss religion, Abraham Lincoln, and Robert E. Lee (about whom Dr. Guelzo is writing a much anticipated biography). Colin also asks about Dr. Guelzo's appearance on The Daily Show during the 2008 presidential campaign.
John J. Hennessy is an author and historian who has dedicated his career to the National Park Service. He is now chief historian at the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. He sat down with Colin for a talk at Chatham, a colonial mansion that overlooks the historic city of Fredericksburg. John discusses how he got involved in the NPS, his books on the battles of First and Second Bull Run, and how historians navigate the sometimes choppy political waters surrounding history.
After a 4th of July visit to North Carolina, Colin discusses being a "beach guy," a visit to a record store in Wilmington, and the logic behind people who fly both Confederate and United States flags. He concludes with a meditation of the meaning of patriotism in American politics today.
A California native, Mike Caires got his Ph.D. in history at the University of Virginia, where he studied under Gary Gallagher. For the past year, he worked at the American Civil War Museum in downtown Richmond. Mike has a book coming out next year on the economics of the Civil War. He and Colin discuss everything from ska music to the class divide in America, the continued importance of the Four Freedoms, and the perils and pleasures of grad school.
Recovering from a move to Richmond, Colin does another solo podcast, this time on Henry Charles Bukowski, the notorious Los Angeles skid row writer and poet. Colin talks about an ironic Bukowski-related Boston trip, getting to know "Hank" as a grad student, and the similarities between L.A. and Baton Rouge. Colin also reads passages from Post Office, Women, and Notes of a Dirty Old Man. Colin concludes that as far as Bukowski goes, you come for the debauchery but you stay for the social commentary. It's another R-rated episode!
Jean Violet, the lead singer of the band Kashmir, has been performing Led Zeppelin songs for a long time. In his talk with Colin, Jean talks about where he's from, how the band got started, and what his nephew's band Deviate the Plan has been up to. In the intro, Colin discusses his recent move to Richmond, a poignant Drive-By Truckers song, and how big an influence Led Zeppelin has been in his life.
Outro music: "It's a Fine Line," by Country Kitchen.
In their last porch talk (for a while anyway), Colin and Sydney (aka Bun and Hawk) recap their unusual experiences in Colonial Beach, Virginia ("the CB"). With a move to Richmond coming up, the two take time to talk about a foul-mouthed stalker, Basquiat paintings, and the moxie needed to start a restaurant. It's the most profanity-laden episode yet!
Does Colin love D.C.? He's not sure. But earlier this month, he had a good weekend in the nation's capital, where he visited the White House, saw a show, and got close to the Pentagon. They say you shouldn't meet your heroes, but Colin did: comic and podcast guru Marc Maron, who was playing at the Warner Theatre. You'll also hear about graffiti art, a Russian lifeguard, and Colin almost getting killed by an umbrella. It's Amerikan Rambler's super terrific happy D.C. adventure!