359 episodes

Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Ben Sawyer (MTSU History) share conversations with great thinkers from a variety of backgrounds – historians, artists, legal scholars, political figures and more –who help us uncover the many roads that run between past and present.

For more information, visit TheRoadToNow.com
If you'd like to support our work, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow

The Road to Now RTN Productions

    • History
    • 4.8 • 534 Ratings

Bob Crawford (The Avett Brothers) & Dr. Ben Sawyer (MTSU History) share conversations with great thinkers from a variety of backgrounds – historians, artists, legal scholars, political figures and more –who help us uncover the many roads that run between past and present.

For more information, visit TheRoadToNow.com
If you'd like to support our work, join us on Patreon: Patreon.com/TheRoadToNow

    An Unholy Traffic: Slave Trading in the Civil War w/ Robert K.D. Colby

    An Unholy Traffic: Slave Trading in the Civil War w/ Robert K.D. Colby

    The American Civil War and the end of slavery in the US may seem like one and the same from our modern perspective, but for those living through the conflict, the abolition of human bondage was anything but certain. Even into the last days of the war, slave traders in Confederate-held cities continued to auction off human beings, realizing handsome profits as they imposed violence and family separation on their subjects.
    In his new book, An Unholy Traffic: Slave Trading in the Civil War South, Robert K.D. Colby brings together a wide variety of sources to offer up a never-before seen look into the slave trade during the American Civil War. In this episode, he joins Ben and guest co-host Tim Talbott to explain how the slave trade evolved, why slave traders remained confident in the future of slavery even during the Civil War, and how the combined trauma of slavery and war impacted enslaved Americans long after their freedom had been secured.
    Robert K.D. Colby is Assistant Professor of History at Ole Miss who specializes in the Civil War and the history of slavery. His newest book, An Unholy Traffic was published by Oxford University Press in April 2024 and is available in both print and audiobook.
    Tim Talbott is the Chief Administrative Officer for the Central Virginia Battlefields Trust in Fredericksburg, Virginia and founding member and President of the Battle of New Market Heights Memorial and Education Association. Tim holds a MA in Public History from Appalachian State University, where Ben had the great fortune to study alongside him.
    Relevant Links:
    ·      The Smithsonian Digital Volunteers Transcription Center website
    ·      RTN Episode 270: Women & American Slavery w/ Stephanie E. Jones Rogers
    ·      RTN Episode 117: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism w/ Edward Baptist
     
    This episode was edited by Ben Sawyer.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Bonnaroo: The Story Behind the Festival w/ co-founder Ashley Capps

    Bonnaroo: The Story Behind the Festival w/ co-founder Ashley Capps

    In 2002, Ashley Capps took a gamble- he rented hundreds of acres in rural Tennessee and put on a music festival. Coming on the heels of the infamous Lollapalooza ’99 and an unsuccessful festival at the same site two years earlier, few thought Ashley could pull it off. As you (and the 80,000 people who attended the festival this year) know, Ashley and his partners proved the doubters wrong and created one of the most iconic festivals in modern America.
    Bob and Ben caught up with Ashley Capps back stage at Bonnaroo to talk about the history of the Bonnaroo Music Festival, how Ashley selected Manchester, TN, and the changes in the live music industry that have happened since he began working in live music decades ago. He also shares his insight on building the relationships that make a major festival sustainable. Bob also shares his experiences playing Bonnaroo with the Avett Brothers from the small stage in 2006 to the main stage in 2019.
    This episode was recorded live at Bonnaroo on Friday, June 14, 2019 and originally aired as episode #133. This rebroadcast was edited by Ben Sawyer.

    • 52 min
    1984: The Year that Changed Music Forever w/ Michaelangelo Matos

    1984: The Year that Changed Music Forever w/ Michaelangelo Matos

    In this episode, music writer Michaelangelo Matos joins Bob and Ben to discuss why 1984 was a pivotal year in music history. Michaelangelo also shares why he loves books about a single year.
     
    Michaelangelos’ book, Can't Slow Down: How 1984 Became Pop's Blockbuster Year (Hachette Books) was selected as a Rolling Stone-Kirkus Best Music Book of 2020. You can follow him on substack at @michaelangelomatos.
     
    Love a good trivia night? Want to support The Road to Now? You can do both at the same time by joining us for RTN Patreon Trivia! The next round will be in the last full week of June so let us know your availability by Fri. June 7 and then look for the schedule on our Patreon page on Monday, June 10. We look forward to seeing you there!
     
    This episode is a rebroadcast of RTN #230, which originally aired on April 11, 2022. This rebroadcast was edited by Ben Sawyer.
     
     

    • 50 min
    Music and Mind with Renée Fleming and Dan Levitin

    Music and Mind with Renée Fleming and Dan Levitin

    We guarantee you will feel better after listening to the Road to Now this week. We are joined by world-renowned soprano and arts/health advocate Renée Fleming and neuroscientist, cognitive psychologist and the best sell author of This is Your Brain on Music, Dan Levitin. We are discussing Renée’s new book Music and Mind about how to harness the arts to improve health and wellness. The book is a collection of essays from leading Doctors, scientists, researchers, as well as artists Yo-Yo-Ma, Rhiannon Giddens, and Rosanne Cash.
    Renée and Dan join Bob to discuss the history of the study of what happens to our brains when we are listening to or even thinking about music. Our guests also discuss how music and art are being used in therapy for certain illnesses and conditions and how they might effective treatments for other conditions. This is an episode you don’t want to miss!
     
    This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

    • 49 min
    Swept Away w/ John Logan and John Gallagher

    Swept Away w/ John Logan and John Gallagher

    This fall, the musical Swept Away, which is based on the music of Bob Crawford’s band The Avett Brothers is coming to broadway, and to celebrate, we’re re-sharing our conversation with writer, John Logan, and lead actor, John Gallagher Jr.
     
    This conversation was recorded just after Swept Away premiered at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, CA in January 2022, and when you hear the passion from the folks who brought the musical to life, you’ll understand why the show has been such a great success (and why you should go see it).
     
    John Logan is Swept Away’s writer whose previous credits include Any Given Sunday, Skyfall, & Red.
     
     John Gallagher Jr. is Swept Away’s lead actor who previously starred in American Idiot & The Newsroom.
     
    Learn more about the musical at sweptawaymusical.com and by following @sweptawaymusical on Instagram.
     
     Click here to hear John Gallagher Jr. performing “The Once and Future Carpenter” from Swept Away.
     
    This episode originally aired as RTN #219 on January 17, 2022. Original editing by Gary Fletcher. Rebroadcast editing by Ben Sawyer.

    • 48 min
    #306 The Wide Awakes: The Forgotten Force that Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War w/ Jon Grinspan

    #306 The Wide Awakes: The Forgotten Force that Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War w/ Jon Grinspan

    Jon Grinspan has done something remarkable: in his new book, Wide Awake, he tells a thoroughly researched and brilliantly crafted story that may change your understanding of the origins of the American Civil War. In this episode, Jon joins us for a conversation about the Wide Awakes, the anti-slavery youth movement that played an instrumental role in electing Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and took part in some of the first acts of violence between pro and anti-slavery Americans in 1861. Jon also discusses the ways that the past and present interact in powerful ways, and how politics can evolve, step-by-step, into violence.
     
    To quote Jon’s recent article in The Smithsonian: “The most consequential political organization in American history….began when a few working-class kids designed a costume, which grew into a movement and ultimately an army. And it ended with a civil war.”
     
    Dr. Jon Grinspan is a curator of political and military history at the National Museum of American History. His book Wide Awake: The Forgotten Force that Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War is out May 14, 2024 from Bloomsbury Press. Click here to order your copy!
     
    You can hear Jon’s previous appearance on The Road to Now in episode #220 Processing the Past w/ John Grinspan.
     
    This episode was edited by Gary Fletcher.

    • 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
534 Ratings

534 Ratings

elvanmcm ,

Great podcast!

Find it very informative and interesting! Thank you!

ky dano ,

Language disappointment

Dudes! I really do love your exceptional podcast covering the details of history. I was especially tracking with your third-party candidate series. But you guys dropped the ball with the 2016 election edition. Come on guys, can you not have given your guest a heads up that you run a fairly clean language show. It just took me by surprise since all the other third-party candidate additions had very little if any F bombs or the S word. Now I’m not Mr. sensitive ears so please don’t call me out on that. But I do think words like those just dumb down our language and we could do better than that. Would’ve given you five stars if it wasn’t for that episode. I would appreciate it if you clean things up a little bit. Thanks guys for your other shows. Lots of good stuff.

DenaInNC ,

I normally like your podcast BUT…

I have to agree with those why say you’ve become too liberal. Joe Biden has been an awful president.

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