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The Road to Now

Conversations about the history of right now. Hosted by Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) and Dr. Benjamin Sawyer (Middle Tennessee State University).
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Now displaying: 2020
Mar 23, 2020

Note: Bob and Ben start off talking about the Covid-19 outbreak and plans for upcoming episodes of this podcast. We shift to our discussion with Dr. Cohen at about 10:30.

The suburbanization of the American landscape after World War II left the country’s older urban centers in crisis. Revitalizing cities was no easy task, and many of the most inspiring plans for reconstructing America’s urban space went unfulfilled. These visions may have never come to fruition, but Lizabeth Cohen says there is much to learn from the visionaries. In this episode Dr. Cohen joins us for a conversation about post-WWII America, the pros and cons of biography, and her new book Saving America’s Cities: Ed Logue and the Struggle to Renew Urban America in the Suburban Age, which recently won her a second Bancroft Prize for American History.

Dr. Lizabeth Cohen is Lizabeth Cohen is the Howard Mumford Jones Professor of American Studies and a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of History at Harvard. Cohen’s previous books include Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939, winner of the Bancroft Prize and a finalist for the Pulitzer, and A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America.

Note: Bob and Ben start off talking about the Covid-19 outbreak and plans for upcoming episodes of this podcast. We shift to our discussion with Dr. Cohen at about 10:30.

 The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.  

Mar 16, 2020

Disasters abound, and what comes next is all about making good decisions. Ben talks about the Nashville tornado of 1998, the Nashville tornado of 2020, and the coronavirus, and Dr. Andy Bruno shares his expertise on the origins of natural disasters and what we can learn from studying them in history.

Mar 9, 2020

Bob and Ben speak with Dr. Chuck Keeney about the history of coal in the United States. Chuck explains the ways that the coal industry has shaped not only the physical landscape of mining towns, but also, through lobbying efforts and information campaigns, the way we understand our nation’s history. Chuck is uniquely qualified to tell the story of coal; not only does he hold a PhD in history from West Virginia University, he is the great-grandson of coal miner and labor organizer Frank Keeney, who was part of The Battle of Blair Mountain.

(The Battle of Blair Mountain was a 1921 shootout between coal miners and the coal companies that was the largest domestic insurrection since the Civil War. If you want to know more, it’s all in this episode. Or you could stop by the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum where Chuck Keeney is on the Board of Directors).

Chuck Keeney was featured in the 2017 NatGeo Documentary From the Ashes, which was directed by Michael Bonfiglio. We highly recommend you take the time to watch!Chuck Keeney was featured in the 2017 NatGeo Documentary From the Ashes, which was directed by Michael Bonfiglio. We highly recommend you take the time to watch!

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

This is a reair of RTN #61, which originally aired on July 19, 2017. You can get the other episodes in our history of energy series by supporting us on Patreon.

Feb 24, 2020

For many years now, Tim Mossberger has been building an incredible collection of material objects, music, and information on Bob’s band The Avett Brothers. In this episode, Bob and Ben talk with Tim about how he became the Avett Archivist, where he gets his rare items, and how he processes, preserves, and organizes the massive amount of material he’s acquired over the years. Bob and Tim also talk about the history of The Avett Brothers & the turning points that helped the band bring their music to a wider audience.

The Avett Archives are open and available to the public at http://www.asmylifeturnstoasong.com/. You can follow Tim on twitter at @AvettArchivist.

We’ve also posted some of Tim’s deep cuts on the page for this episode, available by clicking here.

Bob and Ben are taking the show on the road and we’ll be hitting towns across the US this year. Click here for show dates and tickets!

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. This episode was edited Gary Fletcher.

Feb 17, 2020

The Road to Now is celebrating our fourth Presidents’ Day by launching our first Presidents’ Day episode! To mark this momentous occasion, Bob and Ben both sat down with a list of three significant moments in presidential history and discussed how they changed the country. Are there Roosevelts? Yes. Are there presidents born in three different centuries? Yes. Should you listen instead of asking any more question? Yes! We hope you enjoy the episode!

 

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher. The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network

Bob and Ben are taking the show on the road! See our calendar of events by clicking here.

Feb 10, 2020

When it comes to food, knowing what you’re getting can be tricky. On the surface, words such as “pure” and “natural” seem straightforward, yet defining them in the modern world has required experts, laws, and administrative structures. In this episode, Bob & Ben speak with Lafayette College’s Benjamin Cohen about the pure food crusades of the late nineteenth century, the origins of the Pure Food Act of 1906 and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), and the lessons this era offers us as we seek to make decisions about food policy in the 21st century.

Dr. Benjamin R. Cohen is Associate Professor of Engineering Studies and Environmental Studies at Lafayette College and the author of Pure Adulteration: Cheating on Nature in the Age of Manufactured Food (University of Chicago Press, 2019). Learn more about his work at his personal website or by following him on twitter at @BRCohen95.

This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Join Bob & Ben for a live podcast recording! Click here for dates and ticket links.

Feb 6, 2020

In the last few decades, NASCAR has taken stock car racing from a regional sport anchored in the south, to the national level. Though NASCAR has a reputation as a family-friendly organization, its history is inseparable from the moonshining and bootlegging of the prohibition era. And while the cars on today’s tracks have little in common with their mid-20th century predecessors, many of the sports traditions have endured. In this conversation, recorded as the second part of RTN Live in Charlotte, Bob and Ben talk with third-generation racer Kyle Petty and Dr. Dan Pierce of UNC-Asheville to find out more about the history of stock car racing and the changes that have transformed the sport in the 21st Century.

Kyle Petty spent three decades as a professional stock car racer and is currently an analyst for NASCAR on NBC (NBC Sports). He is also the founder of the charity Victory Junction, which enriches the lives of children with serious illnesses by providing them with life-changing camping experiences at no cost to the children of their families. Victory Junction was inspired by Kyle’s son Adam, who tragically died in a racing accident in 2004. For more on Victory Junction, visit their website: https://victoryjunction.org/

Dan Pierce is Professor of History at UNC-Asheville and the author of Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France (UNC Press, 2010). His newest book Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World was published by UNC Press in October 2019.

Our show opens with an original song by Kyle Petty, performed live w/ David Childers and Bob Crawford.

This episode is the second of two episodes recorded live in Charlotte at the McGlohon Theater on January 24, 2020. A full list of our upcoming live shows is available at http://www.theroadtonow.com/live-events.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Feb 3, 2020

Charlotte, NC has grown tremendously in the last half-century, yet it still lacks a clear national identity. While many know it today for its professional sports franchises or its prominence as a banking hub, the city was once recognized for its leadership in school integration following the 1971 Supreme Court ruling in Swann vs Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education. Bob and Ben both spent pivotal years of their lives in the Queen City, so they dedicated the first portion of RTN Live in Charlotte to a conversation on the city and its history with two people who know it best: historian Tom Hanchett & journalist Pam Kelley.

Dr. Thomas Hanchett served as Staff Historian for 16 years at Levine Museum where he curated the permanent exhibition Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers (named best in the Southeast by the South East Museums Conference), and a string of national-award-winning temporary exhibitions including COURAGE about the Carolina roots of the Brown v Board Civil Rights case. The second edition of his book, Sorting Out the New South City: Race, Class & Urban Development in Charlotte, 1875-1975 (UNC Press) will be available for purchase on February 3rd, 2020 (the very same day this episode launches!).

Pam Kelley is a freelance journalist who spent 35 years covering Charlotte for The Charlotte Observer. Her book Money Rock: A Family's Story of Cocaine, Race, and Ambition in the New South (New Press, 2018) tells Charlotte’s history through the life of Belton Lamont Platt, aka Money Rock, who went from one of Charlotte’s most successful cocaine dealers to a redeemed man who now inspires others to change. “Money Rock is a deeply American story, one that will leave readers reflecting on the near impossibility of making lasting change, in our lives and as a society, until we reckon with the sins of our past.”

Our show opens with a song by musical guest David Childers, whose new album Interstate Lullaby is now available streaming or through his website- www.DavidChilders.com.

Jan 27, 2020

Dr. Molly Worthen (Department of History, UNC-Chapel Hill), Doug Heye (CNN/former RNC Communication Director) & Rufus Edmisten (Deputy Chief Council, Senate Watergate Committee/ former NC Secretary of State & Attorney General) join Bob & Ben for a conversation about charisma in American politics and society. Recorded live at the legendary Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC on January 25, 2020.

Our gratitude to everyone who attended this sold out show! If you’d like to join us for a future recording, check out our calendar of live events by clicking here.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.  

Jan 20, 2020

After our last episode on the separation of powers in the Constitution, we heard from several listeners who said they wished we’d spent more time on the topic. The people have spoken, so we’re following up with another episode on modern politics and the Constitution with special guest, RTN-favorite Matt Negrin!

Matt Negrin holds the record for most appearances on RTN. He is also Senior Producer for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. You can hear him as host of “Slowbama,” on the The Daily Show Podcast Universe, available on apple podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you get The Road to Now. You can follow Matt on twitter at @MattNegrin.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast Network. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

Jan 13, 2020

2020 begins with an Impeachment Trial in the Senate and will end with a Presidential election, so Bob and Ben are kicking off the year discussing the relationship between the Executive and Legislative branches of the federal government. Their conversation covers the articles of impeachment against Trump, the gap between the modern Presidency and the Executive imagined by the founders, and the problems that might be solved by changing our expectations of Presidents moving forward.

The Road to Now is part of the Osiris Podcast network. This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

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