Monday, April 16, 2018

Crack The Shutters (TOTR 329)


Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats - Intro
The Decemberists - Once In My Life
Tea Leaf Green - Don’t Curse At The Night
Yeasayer - I Remember
Frightened Rabbit - Swim Until You Can’t See Land
The Decemberists - Don’t Carry It All
The Avett Brothers - Ain’t No Man
Old Crow Medicine Show - Wagon Wheel
Mumford & Sons - The Boxer
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals - Magnolia Mountain
R.E.M. - Finest Worksong
Snow Patrol - Crack The Shutters
Bob Marley & the Wailers - Three Little Birds
Matisyahu - Time of Your Song
Iron & Wine - Call It Dreaming
Seryn - We Will All Be Changed
Sam Burchfield - Here Tonight
NEEDTOBREATHE - Brother
The Collection - The Gown of Green
The Oh Hellos - Eurus
U2 - Some Days Are Better Than Others
Gungor - Beautiful Things
Jack White - What’s Done Is Done
10,0000 Maniacs - Let The Mystery Be

Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors - I Saw The Light

Monday, April 9, 2018

Amazing (TOTR 328)

(photo by Maddison Potter)

Judah & the Lion - Back’s Against The Wall
Southern Sons - Lift Every Voice And Sing
John Legend & Common - Rain
John Legend - Woke Up This Morning
John Legend - Pride (In The Name Of Love)
John Legend et al - Gethsemane (from Jesus Christ Superstar Live…)
Sara Bareilles et al - Everything’s Alright
Anthony Hamilton - Fine Again
Aretha Franklin - Chain of Fools
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Fooled Again
Grateful Dead - Ship Of Fools
My Morning Jacket - I’m Amazed
One Eskimo - Amazing
Jars of Clay - Amazing Grace
Good Old War - Amazing Eyes
Mumford & Sons - Roll Away Your Stone
The Coyote Bandits - Song for the Revolution
Bono, Sting, Joan Baez, et al - I Shall Be Released
Down Home Percolators - Blues For Martin Luther King
Mason Jennings - Dr. King
Patty Griffin - Up To The Mountain
Old Crow Medicine Show - Motel In Memphis
Martin Luther King Jr - I’ve Been To The Mountaintop (excerpt)
Nina Simone - Why? (The King Of Love Is Dead)
Mahalia Jackson - Take My Hand Precious Lord
Al Green - Let’s Stay Together

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

What Happened at Tennessee Tech When MLK Died


Tomorrow, a group of approximately 50 Tennessee Tech students, faculty, and staff will travel to Memphis to commemorate the tragic mountaintop moment, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Things were quite different in Cookeville and at Tennessee Tech fifty years ago. The following is an excerpt from my manuscript Banjo and Bread which discusses counterculture Christianity through the lens of two Tech alumni, Calvin and Nelia Kimbrough. -AWS

By the time of the Poor People’s Campaign and Memphis sanitation workers’ strike, Martin Luther King’s lack of popularity among some southern whites was no secret. Moreover, his unwavering commitment to nonviolence had lost him support among more militant blacks.

National television coverage on CBS included full-color clips from King’s epic “mountaintop speech” and these remarks from President Johnson: “America is shocked and saddened by the brutal slaying tonight of Dr. Martin Luther King. I ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck Dr. King who lived by nonviolence.”

Calvin and Nelia Kimbrough remember learning the news and heading to the respective TV rooms in their Tennessee Tech campus dormitories. The responses from their peers were disheartening, to say the least. “All these people were just happy,” Calvin recalls.

Then Nelia succinctly summarized what she remembers hearing: “He got what he deserved. That is what he gets, being uppity.” The poem Nelia recalls writing after the tragedy dismisses her colleagues’ cruelty. She was essentially “branding my friends as having bubblegum minds.” Among the majority white students on a campus with a very small minority population, just a few years after integrating for the first time, the scary consensus celebrated King’s demise.

Coverage in The Oracle (Tech’s student newspaper) confirmed the mood of divisiveness that King’s legacy created among whites in Cookeville. Apparently no one—from faculty to students to the community—could elude the controversies coming to the surface after the leader’s martyrdom.

History professor B.F. Jones was the target of backlash as he and his colleagues attempted to create a scholarship fund bearing the name of the slain preacher and teacher. In response to the scholarship idea, anonymous hate mail disturbed professors like Will Schrader and Jones. Other Tech faculty joined the chorus of negativity.

The Oracle quotes Schrader saying, “I am disturbed that people like this don’t have the backbone to sign their names.” Jones added, “I expected some letters like these, but I didn’t expect any from faculty members.”

Other than Bob Lewis, B.F. Jones was the Cookeville mentor most influential in changing the lives of Calvin and Nelia Kimbrough. They had switched majors to History and stayed on campus two more years to complete the Master degree, writing about African-American struggles in their graduate work. Jones’s emphasis on Black Studies really helped to radicalize these idealistic white activists. Nelia says that as much as Jones respected King, Jones had been disappointed with King’s opposition to the war in Vietnam.
But even the commander of the war (and nemesis of the antiwar activists) Lyndon Johnson could not mute his grief at losing Martin Luther King. President Johnson ordered American flags hung at half-mast in response to the murder in Memphis. The campus response in Cookeville is disturbing.
The Oracle reported, “The Stars and Stripes have not flown above the Tech campus since Tuesday after the rope used to raise the United States flag was cut for the second time.” So apparently, white racism ran so deep in the Tennessee culture that vandals would sooner deface the American flag than afford any deference to one of the most articulate dissenters the country has ever known.

Retired Cookeville journalist Mary Jo Denton was Mary Jo Johnson in 1968 and teaching freshman English at Tech as a teaching assistant. She remembers all the key players at the Wesley Foundation quite well. Denton explains, “I had earned my BA degree at Berea College in Kentucky, a school founded by abolitionists and devoted to racial equality. So even though I had grown up here in the Upper Cumberland, my undergraduate years at Berea had broadened my views considerably. Then I entered grad school at TTU and was shocked at the racist attitudes here at that time.”

Back in April 1968, her letter to the editor expressed sentiments similar to those Calvin and Nelia were feeling. In her brief remarks, Denton regretted “the air of celebration apparent in portions of the student body at Tech upon news of the death of Dr. King.”

The same mood the Kimbroughs saw in the dorm’s TV room, Denton experienced in the classroom: “I have never been more discouraged concerning my task than when my class of twenty-five people (almost unanimously) expressed hatred and racism in a discussion of the events of the past four days.”

Even though Denton has spent her life here, her younger self questioned the wisdom of working with Tech students. Her exasperation was surely shared by other Cookeville people of conscience, as she pleaded: “How can one teach the meaning and the value inherent in the concept of literature—or any other art—to people who lack elementary humanity?”

That was 1968, and I was just a baby living with my parents in Chicago. My Dad Kenneth Smith was mobilized by the Illinois Natural Guard to the patrol the streets while Chicago burned. In his ten years of service, this was the closest my father would ever come to a combat situation. But Barb reminded me that his unit did not have live ammunition during their duties.


Monday, March 26, 2018

In The Upper Room (TOTR 327)


Sam Cooke - Come and Go to That Land
Mahalia Jackson - In the Upper Room
Zion - Amen
The Mountain Goats - Cry for Judas
Scratch Acid - Damned For All Time
Natalie Merchant - Saint Judas
Lady Gaga - Sinner’s Prayer
Nina Simone - Sinnerman
Aaron Lewis & Willie Nelson - Sinner
Brother Joshua - Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?
Kevin Michael Thompson - Nail Scarred Hands
Emmylou Harris & John Paul White - Kyrie
The Coyote Bandits - Hosanna/Wayfaring Stranger
Tired Pony - The Beginning of the End
Josh Garrels - Good Friday
Tow’rs - Belly of the Deepest Love
Darlingside - The God Of Loss
Pacific Gold - What Wondrous Love Is This?
John Mark McMillan - Death In His Grave
Strahan - Deliverance
Cageless Birds - Mt. Zion
Wendell Kimbrough - I Am Making All Things New

Monday, March 19, 2018

Stand Up/One Small Voice -- not another peace mix (TOTR 326)


Art by U.S. Air Force art by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter, shared from the public domain on Wikimedia Commons.

Richie Havens - Peace Train
The Staple Singers - Every Day People
Jeffrey Osborne - For What It’s Worth
Chumbawamba - Jacob’s Ladder (Not In My Name)
Seize The Day - United States
Michael Franti & Spearhead - Bomb The World
Flobots - Stand Up
John Legend - Woodstock
Mr. Love & Justice - Where Have All The Flowers Gone?
Glee Cast - Teach Your Children
Jack Johnson - Imagine
Peter, Paul, & Mary - Kumbaya
Bruce Springsteen - We Shall Overcome
Lucinda Williams - I’m Crying
Buffy Saint Marie - Universal Soldier
Carole King - One Small Voice
Ed Sheeran - Masters Of Voice
Tom Paxton - Lyndon Johnson Told The Nation
Donovan - The War Drags On
Bobby Darin - Simple Song Of Freedom
The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band - Suppose They Give A War And No One Comes
Ten Years After - I’d Love To Change The World
Jefferson Airplane - Volunteers
Bad Religion - Let Them Eat War
Against Me! - White People For Peace
The Coyote Bandits - Study War No More
Pete Seeger, Billy Bragg, Ani DiFranco, & Steve Earle - Bring Them Home
David Rovics - We Are Everywhere

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Save The Eagle, Save Our Campus - An Editorial



Our greatest human teacher once instructed us that even the gain of the whole world is but nothing if we lose our souls in the process. On our beautiful Cookeville campus, what is it to gain private partnerships and political allies if we lose the soul of education by doing so?

The recent GliderGate controversy that has put a cloud of doubt over Derryberry Hall is a moral catastrophe for higher learning. While we await the results of the internal investigation, the outcry against Tennessee Tech grows nationwide. Recent letters from United States senators and former heads of the EPA only confirm what we have known since early in 2018. This failure in leadership threatens the academic integrity of a great university while aiding a federal loophole that would allow an increase in air pollution that harms humans. 

We are grateful that the University attempted to distance itself from the erroneous Glider research in a recent letter that our President distributed. Yet many questions remain unaddressed. How did this unsupervised and insufficient data-gathering about trucks get to the desks of Diane Black and Scott Pruitt in the first place? What is the Tennessee Center for Intelligent Mobility (which does not even have a page on the university website) and who gave it the authority to conduct “research” without the participation of credentialed faculty? The game of “sorry, not sorry” the campus leaders are now playing may do more long term damage. If the investigation does not result in truth about this disaster and reasonable consequences for those who have tried to harm our school and community, we might be even worse off. Moral accountability might look more like a genuine confession for the mistakes made with real-world accountability for those responsible. 

The bald eagle has no known predator in the animal kingdom, but this iconic bird was once in danger of extinction due to destructive human impact. Today the soaring symbol of Tennessee Tech is in danger from an internal invasion of corporate values, expressed in part by a spike in top-level executive appointees who were not vetted by customary campus protocols for job candidates. For the last several years, our bastion of public education has been covertly compromised by profit motives and politics, an administrative model which not long ago resulted in the capricious layoffs of numerous staff without any justifiable rationale. This recent national scandal about a flawed study is really just the tip of the iceberg. 

If you are a Cookeville resident, Tech student or employee or alumnus, if you love Tennessee and care about the air we breathe and the quality of our workplaces, then help us expose the lack of truth and transparency at Tech in the way this matter has been mishandled. The safety of our world and the soul of public education in Tennessee are at stake.

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Note: this editorial has been sent to multiple individuals, news outlets, and organizations. It may be reproduced and distributed freely. However, the author requests that no changes be made to the content without his permission. 


Andrew William Smith is a member of the Tennessee Tech faculty, the Faculty Head of the Treehouse Environmental Village, a local Presbyterian pastor, and a lifelong environmental activist. This editorial represents his views alone, and not those of his professional positions, which are listed for context and identification.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Until The End Of The World (TOTR 325)


All songs by U2
Special guest co-host Rick Quinn

Out of Control
Stranger in a Strange Land
Drowning Man
Elvis Presley and America
Running To Stand Still
Hawkmoon 269
Until The End Of The World
Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Crashed Car
Mofo
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
Walk On
All Because Of You
Unknown Caller
Every Breaking Wave
Love Is Bigger Than Anything In Its Way
Rejoice
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Love Rescue Me
Acrobat
Yahweh