Listening to Drew Lanham is like standing in a field and hearing the sounds of nature wash over you. Lanham grew up in the country in South Carolina and fell in love with watching birds. Eventually, he turned that love into his career.
On a patch of farmland down in South Carolina, a man named Ed Currie grows the hottest peppers on Earth. The Guinness Book of World Records says so – they’ve certified his pepper called the Carolina Reaper as the hottest ever measured. During this episode I try some sauce made from those peppers. It’s called Chocolate Plague. I’m relieved to still be here to tell you about it.
Josh Burford was one of our first guests on SouthBound, a year and a half ago. Josh is an expert on the LGBTQ history of the South, and at the time we talked, he was about to leave Charlotte for Alabama to co-found the Invisible Histories Project, which aims to document queer history throughout the South.
Matt and Ted Lee are brothers who grew up in Charleston and moved to New York. They had what they thought was a great idea – to sell boiled peanuts to all the Southern-themed joints in the Big Apple. It didn’t go well.
Lisa Hendy just became the first woman to be named chief ranger at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She’s in charge of emergency operations for the park, which covers 800 square miles on the Tennessee-North Carolina border and is America's busiest national park, with 11.4 million visitors last year.
I met Tony Jack 10 years ago when I was on a fellowship at Harvard. It was the first day of a sociology class I was taking. Tony walked in looking like an NFL lineman – tall and thick and wearing a track suit. Then, the professor had us introduce ourselves. And about 10 seconds after Tony started talking, I knew he was the smartest one in the class.
Leighton Ford wasn’t born a Southerner, but surely by now he qualifies – he has lived in Charlotte more than 60 years. Before then, back home in Canada, he met a young preacher named Billy Graham. He ended up not just working with Graham, but marrying his sister Jeanie. He went on to his own career as a teacher and mentor to young evangelist. But he and Billy Graham stayed friends to Graham’s dying day.
Yohana Solomon had to learn a different way of living when she emigrated to America 20 years ago. She took political asylum here as her home country of Ethiopia was in the middle of a war. Eventually, she landed in Atlanta. And now she brings the whole world to a Southern supper table.
Chuck Culpepper and I were friends for years before I ever met him — we used to talk about music and storytelling on a chat room created by some fellow writers back in the Internet’s dial-up days. Chuck is one of the few openly gay male sportswriters in America.
Tom Hanchett is a historian. Charlotte is his particular area of expertise, but he has spent years studying how the modern South came to be. So how did our history make the South what it is today? And what are some of the changes likely to come our way in the future?
When Charlie Lovett was a boy growing up in Winston-Salem, one day he put on a record and heard a recording of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland.” When Charlie became a grown man, he would become one of the world’s leading experts on Lewis Carroll and his creations.
A note from Tommy: Today’s episode is a recut version of the conversation I had with Dale Earnhardt Jr. last March. We’ve done some editing and reshaping so it might sound a little different, but we thought it might be a good time to re-air it with the Daytona 500 coming up on Feb. 17. You’ll hear Dale Jr. talk about his mixed emotions about retiring as a race car driver, and his relationship with his legendary dad, Dale Sr. He also talks about getting ready to become a father, which...
In 1976, Janie Mines became the first black woman to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. The Navy fought to keep her and other women out and once she arrived as part of the initial group of 81 women, many of her fellow midshipmen were furious that she was there. What was her life like for those four historic years in Annapolis? And as she changed the Naval Academy, how did it change her?
Chuck Reece wanted to hear a particular kind of voice from the South – a voice that loved and appreciated this part of the world while acknowledging all its faults, past and present. He didn’t hear that voice enough.
(A note from Tommy: This is a replay of our episode with Tayari Jones from back in July. We’re running it again here at the end of the year because Tayari’s novel “An American Marriage” was, by acclamation, one of the best books of 2018. It made the best-of lists by the New York Times, the Washington Post and Time Magazine. And Apple Books named it their book of the year. So if you missed our conversation the first time, or even if you didn’t, I think you’ll enjoy it. As always, thanks for...
Frye Gaillard has been writing about the South for going on 50 years. In SouthBound's home base of Charlotte, he was a legendary feature writer for the Charlotte Observer. But he’s best known for his books, which range from a study of school integration to a biography of Jimmy Carter.