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American Rambler with Colin Woodward

Based in Richmond, Virginia, American Rambler discusses history, music, film, politics, and pop culture. The show is hosted by Colin Woodward, a historian, writer, and archivist. Episodes feature long form interviews that looks at people's upbringing, education, career path, and creative work. Along the way, Colin talks with guests about how artists and intellectuals must navigate the changing technological, creative, and political waters in America. it's a show that talks about everything from the Civil War to Netflix.
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American Rambler with Colin Woodward
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Now displaying: May, 2020
May 29, 2020

Joseph L. Galloway is the author of the 1992 bestselling book We Were Soldiers Once and Young, which was made into a hit 2002 movie starring Mel Gibson. The book was inspired, oddly, by a scene from the sequel to American Graffiti.

Joe wrote We Were Soldiers with the help of Hal Moore (played by Gibson in the film), who was then a colonel. The book and movie examined the battle of Ia Drang, fought in November of 1965. It was the bloodiest battle of the war, and Joe Galloway saw it unfold. Joe has a new book out, They Were Soldiers: The Sacrifices and Contributions of Our Vietnam Veterans, which he co-wrote with Marvin J. Wolf.

Joe spent many years as a reporter, who traveled the globe, including time covering the Iraq War. In 2008, We Were Soldiers was named one of the 10 best war books of all time by History.Net. Joe has also been played by not one, but two Hollywood actors. And though Joe has experience with Hollywood, as he makes clear, he'll not be working with Oliver Stone any time soon.

In the intro, Colin talks about the recent unrest, which happened in many cities this last weekend, including his home town of Richmond, Virginia.

May 21, 2020

Heath Carpenter, a professor of English at Harding University in Arkansas, is the author of The Philosopher King: T. Bone Burnett and the Ethic of a Southern Cultural Renaissance (2019). He is also a native Arkansan, who is friends with previous podcast guest Bonnie Montgomery (featured in his book). Heath has traveled widely, but his globe-hopping has only emphasized the importance of having strong roots in his home state.

Musician and producer T. Bone Burnett has worked on such landmark soundtracks as Crazy Heart, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, and Cold Mountain and produced acts such as the Secret Sisters and Gregg Allman. His studio wizardry has changed the way Americans think about roots music.

Colin talks with Heath about how his book combines elements of history, film, literature, and music in its exploration of southern identity. In doing so, they examine how much the South has and hasn't changed and how people's perceptions of it are often at odds with reality--sometimes, as in the case of Deliverance, horrifyingly so.

Whatever you think of it, the South remains distinct and likes it that way. Arkansas has produced everyone from Johnny Cash and Al Green to Charlie Rich and Levon Helm as well as more recent acts such as The Gossip. Music remains one of its greatest exports. The state's unique blending of Delta blues, gospel, country, and rock and roll keeps musicians and fans interested. Also, it still has cotton fields, if that's your thing.

May 9, 2020

Dr. Court Carney returns to the podcast to talk about Bob Dylan. Court is not only a fan, he has taught a class on Dylan at Stephen F. Austin State University, where he is a professor history. 

Court's interest in Dylan began when he listened to his dad's copy of Nashville Skyline thirty years ago. In grad school, he took a deeper dive into the Zimmerman catalog by absorbing such classics as Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks, and John Wesley Harding.

Court has also been fascinated by the Dylan-Guthrie connection, which has taken him to archives in Tulsa to examine Guthrie's personal papers. Guthrie died in 1967, by which time Dylan had retreated to Woodstock, NY, to recover and reconceptualize his art and music. While in Woodstock, Dylan began recording with The Band. What emerged was a new kind of American roots music.

In a country founded on legends and self-made men, Court and Colin examine the myth vs. reality of Dylan. They also tackle such questions as: how political was he? Is his Christmas album worth listening to? Was he really seriously injured in a motorcycle crash? And is "Rainy Day Women 12 & 35" a drug song? Dr. Carney explains all!

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