Monday, June 27, 2022

Heavy Music (TOTR 421)


-special guest co-host Scott Greenberg of “Debts No Honest Man Can Pay”

-originally aired on WTTU 88.5FM on Monday, June 27, 2022

-listen to the archive here:

Laura Lee - Women’s Love Rights 

The Staple Singers - Grandma’s Hands 

Sly The Family Stone - Hot Fun In The Summertime

Bob Seger - Heavy Music 

Bob Seger - The Fire Down Below

Detroit [w/ Mitch Ryder] - Rock N Roll

Guadalcanal Diary - Why Do The Heathen Rage?

Green On Red - Time Ain’t Nothing

Lone Justice - Working Late

Meat Puppets - Dry Rain

Husker Du - Makes No Sense At All

Husker Du - Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely

The Church - Reptile 

Echo and the Bunnymen - Killing Moon

The Pixies - Dead

Elvis Costello + the Attractions - Let Them All Talk

The Style Council - Walls Come Tumbling Down

INXS - Don’t Change

Kraftwerk - Computer Love

Amanda Shires + Jason Isbell - The Problem

Ani DiFranco - Amendment

Monday, May 23, 2022

Constantly Inspired (TOTR 420)

Originally aired on WTTU on 5-23-22, our second "origin story," going back to the early days of the show in the late 2000s.

You can listen to the audio archive here:

Vampire Weekend - Campus

Dubconscious - Constantly Inspired 

Bad Brains - Peace Be Unto Thee

Yeasayer - Wait For The Summer

MGMT - Electric Feel

Puscifer - Momma Sed

Against Me! - Up the Cuts

Laura Jane Grace - Cowards Sing at Night

Amy Winehouse - Some Unholy War

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight

Dirty Projectors - Rise Above

Mercury Rev - Senses on Fire

Celebration - Evergreen

Pete And The Pirates - Song for Today

Marah - Jesus in the Temple

The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride

Bob Mould - Walls In Time

LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends

The Polyphonic Spree - Watch Us Explode (Justify)

Flobots - We Are Winning

STS9 - Metameme

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals - Lifeline

Matisyahu - What I'm Fighting For

Michael Franti & Spearhead - Hey World 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Please Be Patient With Me (TOTR 419)


Origin Stories, part one
Aired 5/16/2022 on WTTU

Listen to the archive here:

TV On The Radio - Halfway Home
Akron/Family - Sun Will Shine (Warmth of the Sunship Version)
Wilco - Please Be Patient with Me
The Raconteurs- You Don't Understand Me
The National - Fake Empire
Radiohead - Weird Fishes/ Arpeggi
Elbow - Grounds for Divorce
My Morning Jacket - Smokin From Shootin
Arcade Fire - (Antichrist Television Blues)
Tea Leaf Green - Don't Curse At The Night
The Black Angels - The Prodigal Sun
The White Stripes - Rag and Bone
The Killers - Uncle Jonny
Kings of Leon - Fans
Cold War Kids - We Used To Vacation
Delta Spirit - Trashcan
The Gaslight Anthem - Miles Davis & The Cool
Plants and Animals - Faerie Dance
Band of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You
Frightened Rabbit - Good Arms vs Bad Arms
Bright Eyes - If the Brakeman Turns My Way


In the spring of 2007, I was already a few years into the full folly of my recommitment, the absolutely ridiculous & expensive vow of obsession, to the devoted spiritual practice of incessant music fandom. I would only be in my 30s for a few more months, and this midlife-crisis (my ex-wife called it my male menopause) had me by the wallet & ignited in the call to wander from show to festival to not another show, yes of course another show. 

I had no willpower over the call to rock; but I also had no willpower over other things either. It was also the season when I accepted a tenure-track job at the university where I still work, the university where the students have this radio station. 

No, I couldn’t tell you this part then but I can tell you now. In 2007, I was facing headlong (& sometimes face down) the acceleration of my alcoholism (in two years, I would finally find bottom & give up the fight to find some grace). That spring, that summer, though, the music was a balm between & inside blackouts & car wrecks & the cruel confrontation with the truth that we can avoid the truth for a really long time, with just the right distractions & denials. 

Before finding sobriety, I found a modest one-bedroom apartment that was walking distance from campus, & I could afford it. The Cookeville cost-of-living was ridiculously modest back then. Inside those walls which I covered in chaotic art (as always), I found so much new music to sustain me, even as it would also break me into parts, into the crying, sobbing, but also dancing, raging parts, for me genuine joy is also tied up in a portion of the blues. 

As I write this 15 years later, the Mercy Lounge will be closing its doors forever in a few weeks. Discovering that venue in the Aughts felt like sacred code or secret gold. One of many shows I attended there or its sister Cannery Ballroom would alter the course of my life forever. The bill was Cold War Kids, Tokyo Police Club, & Delta Spirit on March 24, 2007.

Accidentally & fortuitously & forever prophetically, I met a student from near Nashville, who was in the first year at Tech. Later, we would connect on, get this, MySpace. Their music fandom & mine would fuse & flower into many collaborations. We would produce concerts & Open Mics at the Backdoor Playhouse. But most importantly, during their brief stint as the program director at WTTU, they would be the impetus for Teacher On The Radio. 

They asked me to do a radio show. I didn’t realize how badly I wanted to do that radio show. I still really want to do this radio show. 

Although I hadn’t fully admitted it, my marriage was failing, & I was flailing around to find myself. The curse of the seeker is that simple, sometimes saturated in sadness, but also, often, blissful or sublime: we are always searching. 

Music fandom-wise, I was rapt in discovery & wrapped in headphones & the pre-birth of the streaming service revolution that would forever alter how we listen, access to more music online had me nursing the discovery of new bands while I nursed a thousand drinks, because as I would learn later, one was too many & a thousand were not enough. Although now dry from booze, I am still addicted to new music like that!

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Mayday / riffraff (TOTR 418)


Stream the audio archive here:

-this episode produced & pre-recorded on 4/29 for broadcast on WTTU 88.5fm Cookeville on 4/30/2022

-All songs today, released by Casey Neil 

-Interview with Casey recorded & broadcast on Facebook & YouTube live

To buy his music & support Casey, go to:

May Morning Dew (sung by Hanz Araki)- Portland West by Casey Neill Trio   

The Ramble - Goodbye to the Rank and File by Casey Neill & The Norway Rats

[interview portion]

The Power Is Turning 

A Different Kind of Traveler -from pawprints (out of print low-fi dub from Andrew’s personal cassette copy)

Secret Places

Flaming Arrows -from riffraff out-of-print 1996 CD, available on Bandcamp

[interview portion]


[interview portion]

-the following tracks are from Great American Music Hall 1998

-A live solo acoustic Casey Neill performance recorded at the storied Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA on July 16th 1998. This was an opening set for Jello Biafra. The set leans hard on a fevered acoustic punk sound and is full of 90s cultural references and activism. Released from the archives in 2021 & available at bandcamp.  

-Scrounge Around

-Dancing on the Ruins

-Manchester Rambler

-Breathe Life

-Double Dutch

[interview portion]

The Distance Ahead - from an EP called Crow Hill released in 2020

A Mighty Love

Okanogan County 

Saints of the Ditches 

Hallowed Be Thy Ground - from Skree by Casey Neill Trio

[interview portion]

Mayday -from self-titled Casey Neill album

Monday, April 18, 2022

Jesus Etc (TOTR 417)

[image - Jesus on the Lotus Flower by Solomon Raj]
Originally aired on WTTU 88.5 FM on Saturday, April 16, 2022

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Forgive Me Lord & Try Me One More Time
Jimmy Collier & Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick - Everybody’s Got A Right To Live
Theillalogicalspoon- Hoods Up, The Low-down Technified Blues
Will Hoge - Jesus Came to Tennessee
Psalters - Dumpster Divers
Slim Cessna's Auto Club - Children Of The Lord
Lincoln Durham - Ballad of a Prodigal Son
Bread & Roses - Babylon is Fallen
The Coyote Bandits - Hosanna / Wayfaring Stranger
The Pine Box Boys - Will You Remember Me?
Jello Biafra & Mojo Nixon - Plastic Jesus
Colter Wall - The Devil Wears a Suit and Tie
Drive-By Truckers - Where the Devil Don't Stay
Delaney Davidson & Marlon Williams - Death Don't Have No Mercy
Vudu Sister - Psalms
The Hat & Father John Misty & S.I. Istwa - The Angry River
Quiet Life & Jim James - Waiting Around to Die
Nirvana - They Hung Him On A Cross
Mastersystem - Bird is Bored of Flying
Justin Townes Earle - Mornings In Memphis
Crooked Still - Ain't No Grave
Kris Kristofferson & The Borderlords - The Hero
Johnny Cash - Personal Jesus
Norah Jones - Jesus, Etc.
Brent Cobb- We Shall Rise

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Beneath The Cobblestones (TOTR 416)

Originally aired on WTTU 88.5 FM on Saturday, April 9, 2022.
Listen to the archive here:

Vincent Neil Emerson - The Ballad of the Choctaw-Apache
Joy Harjo with
Mumu Fresh
Indigo Girls
Winona LaDuke
Pura Fé
Jennifer Kreisberg
Bonnie Raitt
Day Sisters
Soni Mareno
Waubanewquay -
No More Pipe Line Blues (On This Land Where We Belong)
The Little Unsaid - The Great Nowhere
Moddi - Beneath The Cobblestones
Kimya Dawson - Utopian Futures
Lunatraktors - 16000 Miles
Christy Moore - Clock Winds Down
Martyn Joseph - There Is A Field
Pixie & The Partygrass Boys - Be Kind
Pagan Holiday - Maybe Today Will Be Different
Joe Pug - I Don't Work in a Bank
The Local Honeys - Dying to Make a Living
Steve Earle - Devil Put the Coal in the Ground
Chris Doud - Who Shall Be Free
Colter Wall - Do Re Mi
The Longest Johns & Seth Lakeman - The Workers Song
The Mountain Goats - Solidarity Forever
Cahalen Morrison & Eli West - Our Lady of the Tall Trees
Jason Dea West
Cassandra Girard
John L Richardson
Kevin Hayezy - Mountain Air
Willi Carlisle - Tulsa's Last Magician
Nick Shoulders - New Dying Soldier
Adeem the Artist - Cast Iron Pansexual
Tim Vantol - Before It All Ends
Joe Troop - Heaven on Earth
The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit - Everywhere Now

Friday, April 1, 2022

Airness Brings the Sonic Silly We Need to Save Us!!


True confession: I grew up playing air guitar in the family basement.

True confession: I was the lead singer at a campus air-band competition a couple of years ago. To my knowledge, I was the only faculty crazy enough to join any band, which I did at the request of the students in the learning village, of which I was then the official mentor.

Air guitar has a special place in some steamy sub-section of rock fandom. Not mockery, not parody, not mere mimicry but something special in its own alternate universe, the air band and the air guitar are epic and grand in their own wild way. 

If fantasy football had actual players, not just names on a roster, surrendered to the random math culled from actual results, maybe it would come closer to the air band. Maybe the “live action role playing” community understands air guitar better? Maybe the folks at the Renaissance Faire? 

As a play, Chelsea Marcantel’s Airness is completely silly and totally over-the-top. Let’s go to the competitive crazy of some air guitar Olympics. Okay sure. I am there! 

For a wistful 90-minutes of head-banging beauty with great sound and glittering lights and an actual bar where cast members pop the tops of NA beers throughout the show, the incredibly talented cast and crew at the Backdoor Playhouse bring the noise. 

For the 15 years I have steadily attended and reviewed shows at our campus black-box theater, I have learned to expect the unexpected, to never be surprised by the creative director Mark Creter’s ability to bounce from the serious to edgy to depressing to dark to campy to comedy to something so unbelievably silly and therefore salvific as this. Because silly can save us now!

Because to put it plainly, with everything definitely not silly or youthful that our world throws at us daily, with a plague of adults adulting and workers working and warmakers warring, who doesn’t need 90 minutes of sheer silly air guitar? 

This play is fantastic fun on every level, and it’s exactly the gift that Cookeville needs right now. Melt your face at our campus’s coolest alternative space! 
Andrew William Smith

[image: the cast of Airness from the official program, provided by the Playhouse.]

Now Showing  -  AIRNESS
@ 8:00 PM    March 31st,  &  April 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9
@ 10:00 PM    April 7  (Late Night)
@ 2:00 PM    April 9  (Matinee) 
The Backdoor Playhouse is off the main quad on the campus of Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. Tickets at the door.
General admission: $15.00; Senior citizens: $12.00
Student admission is $5.00 (This is for all university, college, high school students)
On Tennessee Tech Employee Appreciation Night (Tuesday),Tennessee Tech employees pay $5.00 with ID.