Saturday, January 28, 2023

Let's Go (TOTR 444)


Originally aired on Saturday, January 28, 2023 on WTTU 

Listen to the audio archive here:

The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man
The Byrds - Eight Miles High
David Crosby - Tamalpais High (At About 3)
David Crosby - Laughing 
The Feelies - Let's Go
Guadalcanal Diary - Litany (Life Goes On)
Pylon - Crazy
Drivin N Cryin - With The People
Drivin N Cryin - Let's Go Dancing
Arrogance - Sunday Feeling
R.E.M. - Harborcoat
Let's Active - Waters Part
Camper Van Beethoven - One of These Days
Game Theory - If and When It Falls Apart
Miracle Legion - All for the Best
Dreams So Real - Bearing Witness
The Bongos - The Bulrushes
Blue Rodeo - Rebel
The Grapes Of Wrath - I Am Here
Dumptruck - 50 Miles
The dB's - White Train
Robyn Hitchcock - I Often Dream of Trains
The Cleaners From Venus - Please Don't Step on My Rainbow
Lloyd Cole and the Commotions - Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken?
The Reivers- Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
The Velvet Underground - Pale Blue Eyes
the Windbreakers - Do Not Be Afraid

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Been To The Mountain (TOTR 443)


Originally aired on Saturday, January 21, 2023 on WTTU 

Taj Mahal & Ry Cooder - What a Beautiful City
Ruthie Foster - Feels Like Freedom
Shemekia Copeland - Fried Catfish And Bibles
Margo Price - Been To The Mountain
Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs with Margo Price - State Of Mind
The Heavy Heavy - All My Dreams
Mr. Sam & the People People - Get Up Early
Cosmic Guilt - Cosmic Guilt
The Mars Volta - Vigil
Wild Pink - ILYSM
Wrest - End All the Days
Animal Collective - We Go Back
The Smile - We Don't Know What Tomorrow Brings
Brett Dennen - This Is Going To Be The Year
Caamp - The Otter
Old Crow Medicine Show - New Mississippi Flag
Zach Bryan - Corinthians (Proctor's)
Justin Hiltner - 1992
Nicki Bluhm & A.J. Croce - Love To Spare
The Brother Brothers - Feelin' Good Again 
40 Watt Sun - Closure
John Van Deusen - Boring
Gungor & Nathan Greaux - Hey Na Na (Rejoice)
U2 - Pride (In The Name Of Love) - Songs Of Surrender

The Robots Are Coming (poem)

 Listen to a reading of this poem:

The robots are coming 

You have heard it 
& it is true
the robots are coming

just yesterday I was 
texting with a poet but 
I was on my way to the gym
just to walk & get my heart rate up &
endorphins going & as I put
my phone in my pocket

the robot in my pocket
butt-texted the poet
something crazy & then 
the poet had to explain what 
he really meant but then I said
I didn’t send that last text

the robot in my pocket did
because the robots are coming
even for the poets & we are
so fucked now that the robots are here

The robots are coming to take my job
Apparently not your job
Yet the robots are coming 
to take my job & honestly
even with all the scifi dystopia
we didn’t see that one coming

The robots are writing the papers
for the students & the robots invented
the program to check to see if the 
students really wrote the paper or
if the robot did & the robot can write
comments on the paper that the
student-prompted robot wrote & here we are

Get rid of the middle man
Get rid of me

Your robot can talk to my 
Robot because I would rather
not deal with grading papers 
right now but I would like to 
deal with this robot in my phone

Did I tell you about the robot
in my phone it is amazing
It has access to every song
ever recorded since the beginning
of forever & it has been paying 
attention to what I listen to 
so the robot knows

That is right I said it 
the robot knows what song
I want to listen to before I listen to it
& it has every song in my phone
every song since the beginning of 
forever & this is my happy robot
I will pay for my relationship
with this song calling robot 

But I don’t pay the person who
made the song who wrote the 
song who played the song who
recorded the song no because just
like me they are really scraping by
but I will pay the robot who has the 
song & who told me to listen to the 
song because that makes me happy

but now that I have no job
i have not yet figured out yet
how to pay the robot who found the song
the robot in my pocket is like 15 dollars
per month or some such thing I don’t 
remember how much because that is 
on automatic debit & I have a job 
or at least I used to have a job

does the robot who grades the papers
for me get to listen to the song the 
robot chooses for me how does it
work now that I cannot pay the robot
The robot I love who will find 
the songs that make me happy

the robots are coming with art too they
are really amazing these robot artists
they make these portraits of me that look
like me well kind of but more handsome
& with visual superpowers & yes that
artistic robot lives in my pocket too &
it also charges by the month to make 
me look amazing on social media
which I think is still free because of the
ads or something or maybe because 
of the robot spies from the CIA FBI NSA
who can see what I post which lately 

I have been posting about the robots 
I have been posting for us to calm down
because the robots are not really that bad 
what are you some conspiracy theorist 
the robots are not really taking over 
I am just the one typing on the machine 
that makes me happy the poem about 
the robots it isn’t true at all 
I am just making it up

then somebody said wait the robots they 
can write poems too now that is too
much a robot poem but I tried it just once
I told the robot to write a poem & get this mess
the robot poem it just had to rhyme
man they need to get out more that robot
should go to more poetry readings drink more coffee
do more drugs break more hearts really
have something traumatic & terrible happen 
to that robot so it can write better poems

the robots are coming the robots are here
just as I was finishing this poem i was going
to even let the robot write a few lines to 
prove my point but when I went to log on 
it said “we are at capacity” & the robot 
was not there to meet my poetry needs 
guess I will just have to finish the damn poem
about robots all by myself 
about the robots
who are not here yet 
to take over my life
even if I want them to 

Saturday, January 14, 2023

One Day (TOTR 442)


Originally aired on Saturday, January 14, 2023 on WTTU 

Listen to the audio archive here:

Justin Townes Earle - Workin' For The MTA
Steve Earle - Last Words
Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Public Charter School Students - Ua Ao Hawai’i  
The Rose Ensemble - Hawai'i Aloha
Eddie Suzuki - High Tide 
Denny Guy - Say You'll Be With Me
Hapa - Ka Uluwehi O Ke Kai 
Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School Students & Natural Vibrations - Better World
Trevor Hall - O Haleakala
Hapa - One Day
Merrell Fankhauser - Garden In The Rain
Carolina Chocolate Drops - Mahalla
Fleet Foxes - Blue Ridge Mountains
Cast of Rent - Seasons of Love
Cast of Almost Famous - Everybody's Coming Together
Thunderclap Newman - Something In The Air
Black Pumas - Eleanor Rigby
The Beatles - Love You To
Junior Parker - Tomorrow Never Knows
The HU - Mother Nature
Tengger Cavalry - Hymn of the Wolf
Zergananda - The Path to Valhalla
Brewer & Shipley - Witchi-Tai-To
Ali Lizzi & Michael Shlofmitz - We Are One in Harmony

20 Great Concerts from 2022!


Teacher On The Radio presents- a month by month selection of some great festivals & shows, seen & heard in 2022


Jason Isbell at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville 

Just needed the “Driver 8” encore; both Jason & my wife Jeannie came down with Covid right after this


Adeem the Artist & My Politic at The Basement in Nashville

Heard “Going to Hell” months before it would be released & the december drop of White Trash Revelry would shock the country/Americana world.


Langhorne Slim at the Walker Theatre in Chattanooga, TN 

Strawberry Mansion was my favorite album of 2021, & this intimate show had so much love & passion & pure fire energy for a solo-acoustic set. Langhorne is really celebrating his sobriety & huge appetite for life & these songs are hardcore healing medicine. 


High Water Fest in Charleston South Carolina (Shovels & Rope, Jack White, MMJ, Delta Spirit) 

We loved this two-day curated festival, very similar to Moon River in structure, one of many waterfront festies we would attend this year. The walk from parking to entrance took us through abandoned military housing. Both headliners were fantastic, but our hands-down hardcore highlight of the weekend was a steamy stunning purely pummeling powerful hour with Delta Spirit on Saturday afternoon. 


Jazzfest in NOLA (Hurray for the Riff Raff, Shovels & Rope, Stevie Nicks)

Yes this was hot, overcrowded, & absolutely crazy, so grateful that I had a friend to drop me off & pick me up, I mean really really really fun, but one day is definitely enough!

Beaufort Music Festival, Beaufort, NC (Susto, The Collection)

We rented an old-school, beachfront motel, about 20 minutes from the festival & absolutely loved  it. We have been following The Collection for a decade now, & they are about to get signed to a major label. This show was a duo, due some illness in the band & absolutely delightful. Tonight is our first Susto, & we are so here for it. Although they didn’t release any new material, we really discovered Susto for the first time this year


Riverbend Festival  in Chattanooga, TN 

One of our many required Jason sets this year, a surprisingly good Cage The Elephant, my first Jenny Lewis in many many moons was amazing, but Moon Taxi was just wow wow wow as always, especially their second-set all Rage Against The Machine tribute. 


Dead & Company at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA

Despite some fierce downpour rain that killed the first set, it was still amazing. Incredible. My older brother treated me, his first Dead show of any kind. Shakedown was amazing. Got to meet the Dead Tarot deck people, a political radical/black power dead t-shirt guy, saw a street musician I first met in Venice 35 years ago, & enjoyed an amazing grilled PBJ. Looking at the prices on the tickets I have not bought for next summer, that may have been my last Dead show ever. 

Goddamn Gallows at The Earl in Atlanta

In the summer of 2020, when I left my church job, my sweet spot for spiritual catharsis was gospel songs with cuss words. That’s when I discovered “Y’all Motherfuckers Need Jesus” by the Goddamn Gallows, who were thrilling to see in a tiny ATL punk venue. 

Honeybrook & a bunch of poets at the Backdoor Playhouse, Cookeville

This year I reconnected with a great local band that plays mildly psych poppy warm classic indie rock in the tradition of Wilco or The Band, Honeybrook, fronted by a colleague & a former student. Myself & an array of poets opened the show. 


Wilco in Newport, KY 

Ever since my friend Kurt died, I have tried to see Wilco at least once a year, as a kind of memorial tribute. The first time was with a common friend, who once took the three of us to see the Boss at Bridgestone. The new Cruel Country album has all the summer shades of the Sky Blue Sky Wilco that I fell in love with back in 2007.  This solo trip to Kentucky on the eve of my semester/academic year was the healing balm I needed. 

Roger Waters in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena

I have always loved Pink Floyd’s more famous records The Wall & Dark Side of the Moon & have also followed the ferocity of Roger Waters’ leftwing antiwar activism. I frankly am surprised that  a show of this level of societal critique made it to a place like Nashville in these times & that it looks like the RNC pleading to have their convention in Nashville in 2024 was rejected. We had cheap nosebleed seats & were given brilliant upgrades by the Bridgestone staff. A sonically & morally stunning night. 


Holy Locust & Doom Scroll at Brickyard in Knoxville

I listen to lots of folk punk but forget to prioritize seeing these bands live. I am so glad I made it a priority to check out Holy Locust whose entirely unplugged set on the floor of the venue (forget the stage for some anarchist folkies) was sublime & transcendent in every possible way. They were also playing Muddy Roots here in Cookeville, but I have delayed having my first Muddy Roots for another year. 

Moon River Festival in Chattanooga (cut to one day)

Drew Holcomb’s curated festival is a regular stop for us. We loved & needed The National’s headline set, but are pretty bummed that day two got cut for rainy weather, which kept us from having our only scheduled Band of Horses set of the year. 

American Aquarium, Sarah Shook, & Adeem at the Exit/In Americanafest

I almost didn’t say “go” on this mid-week show, but I am so glad I did. My first-ever journey to Nashville Americanafest.  I have been following Adeem’s rising fierce folk star since the top of the year, & it was great to have only my second American Aquarium & my first Sarah Shook show. So much fire. 


Shoalsfest in Florence, AL (Nathaniel Rateliff, Jason Isbell, John Moreland, Drivin N Cryin)

If I don’t see Jason as often as I can, I get bad cravings; he just speaks to my soul like that.. So I just make it a point to go. This was our first Shoalsfest on a chilly early October weekend on another riverfront. A simple, single-stage fest with great music was all we needed. Drivin N Cryin so incredibly blew my mind & reminded me to go on a deep dig of 80s southern & rural jangle rock in the days following, perfect sounds for autumn & my 55th birthday. 

Black Angels at Saturn in Birmingham, AL 

Made a last minute decision for this Sunday solo jaunt to Birmingham. Independent & underground psychedelic rock are their own thing, & Austin’s Black Angels bear a million torches for this genre. For a pure brain melting total soul scorching rock-as-religion experience, this show had  it all. 

My Morning Jacket - Louisville 10-29-22

We were not able to get tickets for the Louisville homecoming shows over the summer due to date conflicts, so when those shows were canceled & rescheduled as a Halloween throw-down, we were all in. Such a great way to spend our holiday weekend. 

William Elliott Whitmore & Adeem the Artist in Newport, KY (above picture is Adeem's guitar from this gig)

My passion for great artists that are new to me runs really deep. I decided I had to sneak up to Kentucky to see Adeem, & I got the added benefit of seeing a fierce sizzling one-man-band in William Elliot Whitmore. The whole experience was exhilarating & mesmerizing as I explored more of Newport (coffee, record stores, etc), even staying in an AirBnb a block from the venue & a loft above a magical gift & potion store. 

Ryan Adams in Indianapolis, IN

I had mixed feelings about Ryan Adams before his crash-&-burn after being called out in the NYT for his relationship history. I also have mixed feelings about rock culture cancellations & cancellations in general. All that said, the Ryan resurrection this year was something to see, releasing album after album after album of solid songs. Then this tour where he would play these marathon two or three-hour solo sets, sometimes reaching 30 songs or more. Ours was filled with him fighting with himself & his audience, an incredible array of radically vulnerable disclosures, wearing his mental health struggles up front. Right before the show started, I got some incredibly troubling personal news, & this show was all therapy for me even as Ryan treated his audience like his therapist.