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 Amerikan 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 Amerikan 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!
Kathryn Shively Meier is a professor of the Civil War and military history at Virginia Commonwealth University. She and Colin talk about how a California native with a background in poetry and opera became interested in the Civil War. They also discuss grad school, Kathryn's prize-winning book Nature's Civil War, and their mutual admiration for historians Charles Royster and Gary Gallagher.
David Cox is a UVA graduate, doctor of theology, and the author of The Religious Life of Robert E. Lee. He and Colin talk in Lexington (where Lee is buried) about the general's religious beliefs and how he tried to live the life of a good Episcopalian. In the intro, Colin discusses how the late author James Dickey (who wrote Deliverance) seems to be following him around.
Mehdi Aminrazavi is Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Co-Director of the Leidecker Center for Asian Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg. A native of Iran, he received his education in the United States and has lived and taught in Virginia for decades. He and Colin talk about Islam: how it developed, its central beliefs and practices, and how it has evolved since the time of Mohammad.
In the second part of their talk, Colin and Dr. Johnson discuss the good old days of academia, the Obama presidency, and the dangers of thinking of America as a "post racial" society. Dr. Johnson also explains how he got from Syracuse to Washington, D.C., to the Northern Neck of Virginia. In the intro, Colin explores his dislike of Brad Pitt and his fondness for a certain French actress.
John L. Johnson lives in Virginia now, but he is a native of Detroit. He and Colin talk about his southern roots, slave ancestors, and his long career in education. Dr. Johnson also looks back at growing up in Michigan during World War II, entering college at 16, and his move to Syracuse University and later Washington, D.C. Also, in the introduction, Colin talks about “April Brain,” and why you might be feeling a little crazy this time of year.