Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Adam Faucett grew up in the suburbs of Little Rock, where he spent a lot of time listening to Otis Redding, Sonic Youth, Nirvana, Neil Young, and Radiohead. He also had a love for horror movies. His influences have led him to blend light and dark themes in songs about love, loss, and growing up in Arkansas. He also makes historical references to things as varied as the southern mystic Edgar Cayce and the Mackay Bennett, the ship that picked up the human wreckage left in the wake of the Titanic sinking.
Adam has a new album out, It Took the Shape of a Bird. As on previous records, he has written songs that are powerful and unique. Adam sits down with Colin in Richmond to talk about life on the road, growing up in Arkansas, and what it's like to be a working musician.
Happy Halloween, y'all! Colin talks about the most recent marathon baseball playoff game, watching the original Phantom of the Opera, and reading about Bram Stoker. He also manages to combine two things--politics and Edgar Allan Poe--courtesy of the great writer E. L. Doctorow.
Colin has New York author, photographer, filmmaker, folklorist, and English professor Bruce Jackson on for a second talk. This time, the conversation covers everything from prison punks to Star Wars and the power of myth. Bruce discusses his literary influences (especially Faulkner) and how his background in literature has informed his teaching of film and television (as in his past college course on Breaking Bad). Bruce also examines the rarity of successful academic couples, close shaves on death row, and his friendship with French philosopher Michel Foucault.
Tom Camden is head of special collections at Washington and Lee University. His career has taken him from Virginia to New Hampshire to Georgia and back again. But Tom is a native Virginian and W&L graduate, who grew up in the historic community of Buffalo Forge, not far from Lexington.
As he tells Colin, working at W&L has opportunities as well as challenges. Going to Italy--as he recently did--courtesy of W&L is nice, but the university has a historical reckoning going on. That reckoning involves two large figures in American history: George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Whatever the daily news cycle, Tom's work shows that archivists can no longer be gatekeepers, but people dedicated to involving students, faculty, and the public in what they do. And for Tom and W&L, such an approach is working.
Gregg Kimball is the Director of Public Services and Outreach at the Library of Virginia. He is the author of American City, Southern Place: A Cultural History of Antebellum Richmond (University of Georgia Press, 2000). He has worked in Richmond a ling time, but he originally hails from New England. Gregg talks with Colin about growing up in New Hampshire, joining the army shortly after the Vietnam War, and going back to grad school to study with Ed Ayers at the University of Virginia.
Gregg's career underscores the challenges (and advantages) of finishing a degree when you already have a job and family. Since graduating, he has tried to connect museums with the public. Gregg is also an accomplished musician who plays with the Broad Street Ramblers and Southside Homewreckers. He talks with Colin about his early influences, American roots music, and some good bands in the Richmond area.
Steve Campbell is a California guy. A native of the Bay Area, he got his Ph.D. in history at UC-Santa Barbara and now teaches at Cal Poly in Pomona. He has a book coming out in January, The Bank War and the Partisan Press, published through University Press of Kansas. Was Andrew Jackson like Trump, as many people have said? Well, yes and no.
Steve and Colin talk about the perils and pleasures of being a historian, from the tenuous and lackluster (at best) job market and maintaining scholarly objectivity, to the ongoing battles between academics and popular historians, to the challenges of getting scholarship done with a heavy teaching load.
Should students become historians? Listen and find out, as Steve and Colin talk about everything from Steve Bannon and Shelby Foote to the Byrds's ill-fated shows in Nashville in the late 60s.