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65 minutes | Oct 12, 2021
The Flying Keys, The Singing Brakeman and America's First Black Senator
In Episode 24, Mike takes us to see the parts of Mississippi beyond the Delta. This episode begins with the story of Jimmie Rodgers, the Father of Country Music. Then comes the story of Pushmataha, the Choctaw Chief who always fought beside his American allies until he had to come to Washington to fight for his people. Next up is the story of Hiram Revels, the son of a Baptist preacher who grew up to be America’s first Black senator. After that you’ll hear the story of Columbus, Mississippi native Tennessee Williams who became one of the state’s most famous writers. Finally comes the story of the Flying Key Brothers who, in 1935, kept their airplane in flight for over 27 days. Music for this episode comes from Oxford, Mississippi based singer-songwriter Luke Fisher. Find out more on our website: www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
57 minutes | Jul 17, 2021
Teddy Bears, Muppets and Blues Legends of the Mississippi Delta
In Episode 23, Mike takes us deep into the heart of the Mississippi Delta. This episode starts with the story of Leland native Jim Henson and his fight to bring his Muppets to the world. Then you’ll hear the fascinating story of the ship Star of the West which began its incredible 11 year run as a passenger ship, saw the first shots of the Civil War and ended up scuttled just outside of Vicksburg. Next up comes the story of Holt Collier, one of America’s best hunters, who once guided Teddy Roosevelt on the most infamous bear hunt in our country’s history. Then you’ll hear the story of Blues legend Son House and his incredible return to the stage after decades hidden away from the world. Lastly you’ll hear the tragic story of the Supreme Court case Lum v Rice which challenged school segregation in Mississippi long before Brown v The Board of Education. Music in this episode comes from Mark “Muleman” Massey. To find out more, visit our website at www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
48 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Dionsaurs, Clowns and Half-Smokes at Ben's Chili Bowl
In Episode 22, Mike takes us on another spin around his hometown of Washington D.C. where he waited out the pandemic. This episode begins with the D.C. origins of the world’s most famous clown, Ronald McDonald. Then we’ll hear the incredible story of the Old Brick Capitol and its place in American history. Next up we’ll stop by the iconic and legendary Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street for a delicious Half-Smoke. From there we’ll trace the origin of Washington’s favorite dinosaur, Uncle Beazley, who currently lives at the National Zoo. Finally we’ll hear the story of Native Washingtonian Edward Brooke, the first popularly elected Black Senator in American history. Music in this episode comes from D.C. based singer-songwriter Ken Francis Wenzel’s album …Beneath Potomac Skies. Find out more at our website www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
64 minutes | Jan 14, 2020
The Brown Bomber, The Ghost Capital and The Day The Stars Fell on Alabama
In Episode 21, Mike takes us back to Alabama with more stories from the Heart of Dixie. First you’ll hear the story of the day the stars fell on Alabama - the day the Hodges Meteorite smashed into a house in Sylacauga. Then comes the story of Old Cahaba, Alabama’s first State Capital, now little more than a ghost town. From there, travel to the Free State of Winston, a Unionist region in the hill country. Next you’ll hear the story of boxer Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis, one of the greatest to ever step into the ring. Finally comes the story of Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old high school student in 1955, when she defied Montgomery’s segregation laws and inspired Rosa Parks to do the same 9 months later. Music for this episode comes from Mobile native Hannah McFarland and special guest Tommy Ike Hailey. To find our more, visit our website at www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
47 minutes | Dec 23, 2019
Moonshiners, Beauty Queens and The Novel of the Century
In this episode, Mike takes us to the track meets, courtrooms, beauty pageants and music clubs of Northern Alabama. Episode 20 begins with the story of the band Alabama and their meteoric rise from their roots in Fort Payne to becoming the biggest band in country music history. Next you’ll hear the story of Jesse Owens and his amazing performance at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Then comes the story of Clyde May, a legendary Alabama moonshiner whose whiskey has been named the state’s official beverage. Next Mike will tell you about Harper Lee and the many challenges she faced in creating the incredible novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Finally comes the story of Deidre Downs, a Rhodes Scholarship Finalist turned Miss America turned MD. Music for this episode comes from Alabama legend Henry “Gip” Gipson who ran the last great Alabama juke joint for nearly 7 decades. To find out more, visit our website at www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
52 minutes | Nov 20, 2019
Eddie Robinson, The Star from Start and The King of the 12 String Guitar
In this episode, Mike takes us to the plantations, football fields and music clubs of North Louisiana. First comes the story of Tim McGraw, the country music legend who got his start in Start - Start, Louisiana that is. Then you’ll hear the tragic story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana. He later wrote the book Twelve Years a Slave based on this experience. Next comes the story of Huddy “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, one of America’s greatest folk musicians and the King of the 12 String Guitar. Then you’ll hear about Luther Divine “L.D.” Knox who legally changed his name to None of the Above to try and bring election reform to Louisiana and the rest of the country. Finally comes the triumphant story of the great Eddie Robinson, at one time the winningest coach in college football history. Music in this episode comes from Louisiana based Singer/Songwriter Joe Sims. For more information - visit our site at www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
46 minutes | May 20, 2019
The Fat Man, The Rougarou and The Day The Civil War Was Put On Hold
In this episode, Mike takes us on a romp through the cities, swamps and bayous of South Louisiana. First up, hear the story of the Rougarou, the legendary man-wolf that preys on Cajun children out past their curfew. Then comes the story of the German Coast Slave Revolt of 1811, the largest slave revolt in U.S. History. Next you’ll hear about the day the Civil War was put on hold so a Union officer could get a proper burial in a Southern cemetery, with officers from both sides in attendance. Then comes the fascinating story of the Baton Rouge Bus Boycott, the first of its kind during the Civil Rights Movement. Lastly comes the story of Fats Domino, a Creole kid from New Orleans who brought Rock and Roll to the world. Music for this episode comes from Teddy Johnson, owner of the legendary Teddy’s Juke Joint in Zachary, Louisiana. For more information - visit our site at www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
54 minutes | Apr 10, 2019
A River of Grass, The Lizard King and Happy Little Trees
In this episode, Mike takes us back to Florida for more stories from The Sunshine State. First, the story of Bob Ross who spent 20 years in the Air Force before showing the world The Joy of Painting. Next comes the tale of Nuestra Senora de Atocha, a Spanish Galleon lost in a hurricane in 1622 and discovered by treasure hunters three and a half centuries later. Then comes the story of the election of 1876 between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tildon, one of the most contentious in U.S. history. Marjorie Stoneman Douglas was a fearless crusader who helped bring worldwide attention to Florida’s Everglades. Hear her story next. Finally comes the tragic saga of the short life of Jim Morrison, lead singer of the band The Doors. Music for this episode comes from Florida based jump-blues band Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones (www.dougdeming.com). To find out more, visit www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
45 minutes | Mar 7, 2019
The Plumage Wars, Dry Tortugas and Murder in Groveland
In this episode, Mike makes his way down the east coast of Florida, from Amelia Island all the way to the Dry Tortugas to bring you stories from The Sunshine State. The episode starts with the story of Lynyrd Skynyrd and their meteoric rise from Jacksonville backyard band to super stardom, and how it all came crashing down in 1977. Next you’ll hear the fascinating tale of Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas, the fort at the end of the end of the world for those who lived there. During the Guilded Age, feathers were more valuable than gold, a fact which sparked off what we call the Plumage Wars between feather hunters and environmentalists. That story is up next. Then you’ll hear the fascinating biography of Miami-born Sydney Poitier, Hollywood’s first black leading man. Finally comes the tragic story of the Groveland 4, four young black men tried for a crime they didn’t commit back in 1949. Music for this episode comes from Florida based singer-songwriter Laney Jones. To find out more, visit my website at www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
41 minutes | Feb 4, 2019
Little Richard, The Weeping Time and The Midnight Train to Georgia
In this episode, Mike makes his way from Macon out to the Georgia coast to bring you more stories from the Peach State. The episode starts with the story of the song Midnight Train to Georgia and how it started as something else entirely. Then you’ll hear the tragic story of The Weeping Time, the largest slave auction in American history. Next up is the story of Oliver Hardy and how he went from a tragic childhood to a become a comedy legend. The fourth story in this episode tells the story of Little Richard, one of Rock and Roll’s earliest superstars. Finally is the story of Jim Brown who was one of football’s most celebrated players. Music for this episode comes from Savannah based band Liquid Ginger. For more information, check out my blog: www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
50 minutes | Dec 14, 2018
Jackie Robinson, Stone Mountain and Georgia On My Mind
In this episode, Mike makes his way across the north and west of Georgia to bring you stories from The Peach State. He starts with the story of Georgia’s State Song: Georgia On My Mind and how it was written in Brooklyn but perfected by native Georgian Ray Charles. Then comes the story of the Georgia gold rush of 1821 which contributed, in part, to the Cherokee removal down the Trail of Tears. Next up is the story of Doc Holliday and how he went from a small-town Georgia dentist to one of the most notorious gunslingers in the Old West. Stone Mountain’s recent history is a tragic one laced with hate which puts it at the center of today’s conversations about Confederate memorials. Hear the whole story and then make up your own mind. Finally, the inspiring story of Jackie Robinson and how, in 1947, he broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Music for this episode comes from Atlanta based singer-songwriter Wesley Cook. To find out more about my journey, visit my website www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
50 minutes | Nov 20, 2018
Daniel Boone, Sweet Evening Breeze and the Coal Miner's Daughter
In this episode, Mike heads across Southern Kentucky to bring you more stories from the history of the Bluegrass State. First up is the story of Loretta Lynn, the Coal Miner’s Daughter. Then we’ll hear about the life and times of Kentucky’s first legend: Daniel Boone. The Day Law, passed in 1904 in Kentucky, forced segregation on Berea College, a school which had been integrated for over four decades - that story is up next. In 1925, cave explorer Floyd Collins was trapped in a cave in Central Kentucky and the whole country was watching - you’ll hear the whole harrowing tale. Finally comes the story of James “Sweet Evening Breeze” Herndon, a black drag queen beloved by early 20th Century Lexington. Music comes from Wess Mills and Smokehouse recorded live at the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center. For more information, visit www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
56 minutes | Nov 2, 2018
Frontier Justice, Bloody Monday and the Diamond Hoax of 1872
In this episode, Mike heads deep into Kentucky to bring you these stories from the Bluegrass State. My Old Kentucky Home is Kentucky’s State Song and a wonderful old ballad by America’s first professional songwriter Stephen Foster. This episode starts with his story. Then we’ll hear about an old west legend: Judge Roy Bean, the Law West of the Pecos. Next up is the tragic story of the Bloody Monday Riots in Louisville in 1855. Then we’ll hear about one of the greatest hoaxes in American history, the Great Diamond Hoax of 1872. Finally we’ll hear the fascinating story of the legacy of boxing great and humanitarian Muhammad Ali, both inside and outside the ring. Music recorded live at the Rosine Barn Jam in Rosine, Kentucky. For more information, visit my website www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
39 minutes | Oct 2, 2018
Apple Orchards, Protests and 10 Cent Beer Night at Cleveland Stadium
In this episode, Mike takes us into northern Ohio for another look at the history and culture of the Buckeye State. The episode begins with the 1970 shootings of 4 unarmed students at Kent State and how it shaped an era. From there we journey around the early Ohio frontier with John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. Baseball legend Cy Young is also from Ohio, and his story is next up in this episode. Then you’ll hear the story of the early life of one of Ohio’s greatest authors: Toni Morrison. Finally, the story of the ill-fated “10 Cent Beer Night” held at Cleveland Stadium in 1974 will definitely put a smile on your face. Music from this episode comes from Canton’s own Hey Monea. To find out more, check out my website www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
37 minutes | Aug 14, 2018
Annie Oakley, Sloopy and Football in the Buckeye State
In this episode, Mike takes us on a wild romp through Southern Ohio. The episode begins with the story of Hang on Sloopy and how it became the official rock song of Ohio. Annie Oakley was a born sharpshooter, but growing up in western Ohio wasn't easy. Hear the story of her formative years in this episode. In 1884, corruption in Cincinnati led to one of the worst riots in American history. Find out how it started and what future U.S. President was involved in the clean up. You'll also hear about the Portsmouth Spartans, the NFL team who hosted the first night game and played the first playoff game in a hockey rink full of elephant manure. Finally, hear about the early life of Dave Thomas who went on to found the third largest fast food chain in the world which started right here in Ohio. Music for this episode comes from Megan Bee. To find out more, visit my website www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
67 minutes | Jun 23, 2018
Sun Records, Casey Jones and the Fastest Woman on Earth
Over the last few weeks, Mike has been traveling in West Tennessee to find the stories for this episode. The episode begins with the story of 3 time gold medal winning Olympic sprinter Wilma Rudolph. Then Mike will tell you the true story behind legendary train engineer Casey Jones and his infamous last ride. Next comes the story of Richard Halliburton, one of the most famous American adventurers and travel writers of the early 20th century. Then you’ll hear the tragic and horrible story of the 1917 lynching of Ell Persons who was murdered in front of 5000 cheering spectators for a crime he almost certainly didn’t commit. Sam Phillips’ Sun Records was unstoppable in the 1950s recording everyone from B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf to Elvis and Jerry Lee. You’ll hear the whole story of its rise to infamy. Finally you’ll hear how Tina Turner went from a small town Tennessee farm girl to a worldwide superstar against all odds. Music for this episode comes from Linzie Butler and the Blue Gentlemen. Find out more at www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
53 minutes | May 18, 2018
Rocky Top, Monkey Town and the King of the Wild Frontier
Mike has spent the last few weeks enjoying the eastern half of Tennessee. This episode begins with the story of Rocky Top, one of the most famous and popular songs in the state. Learn how and where it was written and how it rose from an obscure B-side to one of Tennessee's State Songs. Then hear the story of Franklin, the state that never became a state, but would eventually become Tennessee. Davy Crockett, the King of the Wild Frontier, spent most of his remarkable life in Tennessee, and you'll hear the whole story. Next up is the story of the Scopes Trial, the 1925 trial that challenged a ban on the teaching of evolution in public schools. The Bristol Sessions have been called "The Big Bang of Country Music", and you'll hear why in this episode. And finally, the town of Oak Ridge was built to support a massive project during World War II; Mike will tell you about the town and the project. Music in this episode is from Nashville singer/songwriter Sam Cooper along with Chris Gantry.
52 minutes | Apr 21, 2018
Shoeless Joe, Astronauts and the Godfather of Soul
Mike is now traveling through the upcountry of South Carolina. This episode features stories from the inland portion of the state. Hear about the rise of The Marshall Tucker Band and where they got their name. Learn why Shoeless Joe Jackson wasn't wearing shoes and about his rise from the cotton mills to the big leagues and his subsequent fall from grace. Before there was Brown vs. The Board of Education, there was Briggs vs. Elliott; find out how school desegregation started over a bus. James Brown was the Godfather of Soul; hear his rags to riches story. Finally, Ronald McNair was the second African American to go into space, learn about where he came from and about his tragic death on the Space Shuttle Challenger. Music from this episode comes from legendary Piedmont blues artist Dr. Mac Arnold and was recorded live at a fundraiser for NEXT Charter School at 13 Stripes Brewery in Taylor, S.C.
49 minutes | Apr 5, 2018
The Swamp Fox, The Mighty Peanut and The Greatest Treasure Ever Found
Mike has moved into South Carolina, the Palmetto State. This episode brings you stories from the coast and the lowcountry. Learn how Vanna White went from small-town cheerleader to letter turning star. You'll also hear why it's called the Palmetto State and other tales from the state's early days. Francis Marion, the elusive Swamp Fox, may have saved the cause of independence during the revolution, and you'll hear the whole story. In 1858, the S.S. Central America sunk off the coast of South Carolina with millions of dollars of gold on board. It wasn't until 1988 that it was rediscovered. Find out how it sunk and what happened when it was found. You'll hear the story of Robert Smalls and how his daring escape from slavery led to a meeting with President Lincoln and eventually to a seat in the U.S. Congress. Finally the story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson who was the only woman to have ever pitched in professional baseball. Music for this episode is by Saluda Shoals and was recorded live at Awendaw Green.
45 minutes | Mar 7, 2018
Blackbeard, Gold and an American Coup d'etat
Mike finishes off his time in North Carolina with this lively romp across the south of the state. This episode brings you the story of Wilmington native Charles Kuralt, one of the greatest journalists in American history who spent 20 years and a million miles On the Road. You'll also hear the story of legendary pirate Blackbeard and how he was killed off the coast of Ocracoke. Believe it or not the first gold rush in American history happened in central North Carolina, and you'll get that story too. Mike will also bring you the story of the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898, the only successful Coup d'etat in American history. Lastly, you'll hear about the rise of country music legend Randy Travis. Music for this episode was recorded live at the Drexel Barber Shop where a backroom bluegrass jam has been happening every Saturday for 50 years.
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