Joe Kendrick is producer and host of the Osiris network’s Southern Songs And Stories that explores the music, culture and related history of the South with commentary about and interviews from artists and music professionals, plus, of course, lots of music. Below, Joe details fellow Osiris podcast, The Road To Now.
Quick, who was your favorite history teacher? Maybe your favorite historian? Anyone? Bueller?
If you are like me, history classes were led by a parade of half-remembered figures who were most concerned with rote learning of dates, names and places from the sleepy haze of irrelevance known as the past. History class was something to be endured rather than enjoyed; history books were big and heavy, as leaden as their contents.
Perhaps your experience is far better. Truthfully, mine was not bad (save for the one class in high school that we skipped at will), and there were some moments of inspiration too. As an adult, a few books found their way into my library and imagination, like Peter The Great, and recently, 1776. Family history, the new pastime, added both context and an appetite for more knowledge about people from days gone by, what they faced and endured, and what they did in life that remains with us to this day.
History, when brought to life, is as good or better than any blockbuster movie. Ben Sawyer and Bob Crawford do just that on The Road To Now, which debuted in 2016. Ben Sawyer, or should I say, Dr. Benjamin Sawyer, is a history professor at Middle Tennessee State University and is also a comedian. Bob Crawford is working on a masters degree in history, and his day job is as the co-founding bassist of The Avett Brothers. Gary Fletcher, producer and co-host of the Osiris podcast Which Is Better? handles audio and graphic design and Austin Sawyer (no relation to Ben, however, he was once Ben’s student) takes care of social media.
The Road To Now brings historians, politicians, journalists and artists to the table for conversations ranging from little known periods of U.S. history, like when Irish veterans of the Civil War invaded Canada, to episodes with a focus on music, like their Woody Guthrie episodes. Most podcasts are around 45 minutes to one hour in length, with Ben and Bob talking with their guests about their insights into historical figures, places and events, and how those affect us in the current age, often in highly surprising and unexpected ways. New episodes land on roughly a weekly basis.
Osiris has a hit on its hands with The Road To Now, and you can hear the show wherever you get your podcasts. Ben and Bob have a Patreon page to help support their work, where they offer patrons several tiers of rewards.