Movers and Thinkers is all about why people do what they do. We take you into the minds of some of the most interesting people in Nashville and discuss their motivations, passions and challenges. Each episode is produced from a conversation with Nashville Public Radio's Emily Siner.
Stranger Than Fiction
Best-selling author Ruta Sepetys spends months or years researching for her novels, interviewing dozens of people in the process. Because she's doesn’t write about fictional dystopian worlds — she writes about dystopian reality. Spanish baby-stealing. A German shipwreck that's the largest in history. Soviet work camps. Historical fiction that reminds people about unbelievable stories largely forgotten to time.
In this conversation, Emily Siner interviews Ruta about why some of these epically interesting stories have been left out of our collective remembrance, and how she approaches telling histories that are not her own. (And — we'll talk about what it's like to have your first best-seller confused with one of the most popular erotic novels of all time.)
Movers & Thinkers is a production of Nashville Public Radio. This episode was hosted and produced by Emily Siner, edited by Chas Sisk and Anita Bugg, and mastered by Carl Pederson. Find more in-depth interviews with fascinating Nashvillians at wpln.org/movers.
Music That Makes You Shake
It's been six years since composer Joel Thompson sat down to write music about the deaths of black men who'd been killed by police. The resulting piece for chorus and orchestra is called Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, a biblical reference to the last words uttered by Jesus.
In this special crossover episode with the podcast Classically Speaking, producer Colleen Phelps talks to Joel and Nashville-based opera singer Patrick Dailey, both black men, as they explore the question: How can music be used to process tragedy, embody it and lead to change?
"I could not stop shaking throughout the performance," Patrick says. "To this day, it haunts me … because it actually informs the work that we do in this community."
Movers & Thinkers is a production of Nashville Public Radio. This episode was hosted and produced by Emily Siner, in conjunction with Colleen Phelps, edited by Chas Sisk and Anita Bugg, and mastered by Carl Pederson. Find more in-depth interviews with fascinating Nashvillians at wpln.org/movers.
The Funniest One In The Room
DJ Pryor was catapulted to national fame after a video of him and his young son went viral in 2019. It showed off his natural humor — DJ is a standup comedian — as well as an example of genuine parental love.
But DJ's own childhood was far less positive. And his experiences of abuse and pain, told as comedy, have connected with audiences just as much.
"You'd be surprised how many people walk up to me at the end of shows that had that experience and they say, 'I went through the same thing,' " DJ says.
I'll Have What Dolly's Having
Dolly Parton has long been an icon in Tennessee, her home state, where she's beloved for her philanthropy and raunchy wit. And in a moment when celebrities are almost expected to take political stances, Dolly is noticeable for her lack of controversy. How does she manage to charm everyone? What does that say about her as a person?
No, this is not an interview with Dolly Parton. But it is an interview with Jad Abumrad, another native Tennessean who has spent months interviewing Dolly fans, Dolly experts and Dolly herself for his new podcast Dolly Parton's America.
"For me, what's fascinating about Dolly is not that she's liberal or conservative but that she defies all those categories," he says.
Movers & Thinkers is a production of Nashville Public Radio. It's hosted and produced by Emily Siner, edited by Blake Farmer and Anita Bugg, and mastered by Carl Pederson. Find more in-depth interviews with fascinating Nashvillians at wpln.org/movers.
The Butcher, The Vegan Baker, The Potions Maker
When we decide what to eat or drink, we're making choices that go beyond flavor. What we consume can be a tool for social change, a connection with generations past, and a major influence on our well-being.
In this lively episode, WPLN's Emily Siner talks to Chris Carter of Porter Road Butcher, Tiffany Hancock of The Southern V, and Leah Larabell of High Garden Tea — three food entrepreneurs who are merging innovation and tradition. How did they start down the paths of local meat production, veganism and herbalism? And how do they navigate pushback from skeptical customers?
Support our podcasts by donating at wpln.org/give and noting that you listen to Movers & Thinkers.
Writing About Life, Death And Grief In The South
Margaret Renkl is a Nashville writer perhaps best known for her regular columns in the New York Times. "Late Migrations" is her debut book, and it's part-essay collection on coming of age and aging in the South, and part-observations of nature.
Margaret began writing the book after the death of her mother, in an effort to process her grief. "If I forced myself to see this rat snake coming out of the chickadee nest box and the crow stealing the cardinal's babies … then I would stop feeling so singled out for suffering," she says.
In this poignant and powerful episode, Margaret talks to WPLN's Emily Siner about documenting complicated families, grieving with animals, and writing a book in 15 minutes.
Support our podcasts by donating at wpln.org/give and noting that you listen to Movers & Thinkers. Hear previous episodes of Movers & Thinkers on our website, Apple Podcasts or Google Play Music.
Thanks for such a wonderful podcast!
I love the local podcasts that y’all have been doing and hope everyone discovers them !
A great peak into some of Nashville's most interesting people
Emily does a great job finding intersting people, hosting the discussion, and editing this podcast down into an amazing show!
Incredible people, wonderful interviews, and led by a great host. Highly recommended!