By Tommy Tomlinson

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The South… What is it? Movies, books, songs, myths and legends have tried to explain this part of the United States. SouthBound, a new podcast series from WFAE, talks to people who were born and raised in the South. Hosted by journalist Tommy Tomlinson, SouthBound features conversations with notable Southerners from all walks of life – from artists and athletes to preachers and politicians.

Episode Date
Roy Wood Jr. On Humor In Hard Times, Explaining The South ... And Pimento Cheese
Roy Wood Jr. has spent a career telling jokes with sharp edges. He grew up in Birmingham and has spent more than 20 years doing stand-up, returning again to his experiences as a Black man and a Southerner. For the last five years he has also been a correspondent for “The Daily Show,” often coming back down South to poke at our contradictions and absurdities.
Oct 14, 2020
SouthBound: Issac Bailey On Embracing Hard Conversations And Finding His Own Voice
Issac Bailey has had to jump a lot of hurdles.
Sep 30, 2020
SouthBound: Elijah Heyward III And The New Museum On 'Sacred Ground' In African American History
You can’t understand the South without trying to understand Charleston, South Carolina.
Sep 16, 2020
SouthBound: Anthony Hamilton On Reshaping His Sound And Raising His Kids In This Troubled Summer
Anthony Hamilton, the Grammy-winning singer and songwriter from Charlotte, has spent his career working a fertile patch of rhythm and blues.
Sep 02, 2020
SouthBound: Fawn Weaver On Bottling A Tribute To A Former Slave's Role In Whiskey History
Fawn Weaver is the author of a best-selling book on happy marriages. Her husband is a movie exec. They were happy and comfortable in Los Angeles. But then she read a story about a former slave named Nearest Green, who taught his method of making Tennessee whiskey to a young businessman named Jack Daniel. Weaver longed to know more.
Aug 19, 2020
SouthBound: Eddie Glaude On James Baldwin's Clear-Eyed Vision Of Race In The South -- And America
Eddie Glaude, the chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton, is the author of a new book called “Begin Again,” about the writer James Baldwin, and how his work reflects on modern race relations in America.
Aug 05, 2020
SouthBound: Karen Cox on Confederate Statues, Plantation Neighborhoods, And Other Old South Remnants
The slinks to the South’s Confederate past are beginning to come down – some by law, some by force. But this part of the country is still strewn with memorials to the Lost Cause – from monuments in town squares to the names of parks and streets and schools.
Jul 22, 2020
SouthBound: Clint Smith's Voice Rises To A Transformative Moment In America
Clint Smith grew up in New Orleans, until his family had to relocate to Houston in Hurricane Katrina. He has grown up to become one of America’s most powerful young voices, especially when it comes to the value of black lives.
Jul 08, 2020
SouthBound Replay: Harvey Gantt On Activism, Jesse Helms, And His Faith In Better Days
This is a recut version of the very first episode of SouthBound, which we put into the world on Nov. 15, 2017. Our guest for this first episode was Harvey Gantt, a longtime pioneer in civil rights in the Carolinas.
Jun 24, 2020
SouthBound: Regina Bradley On The Glories Of OutKast, And Southern Hip-Hop As Living History
If you know the Atlanta hip-hop duo OutKast – the rappers Big Boi and André 3000 — you might know them from their big pop hits “Hey Ya!” or “The Way You Move.”
Jun 10, 2020
SouthBound: Marcus King Talks About Coming Off The Road, And Plays A Song For Us From Home
Marcus King was playing clubs around the Carolinas before he was old enough to drive.
May 27, 2020
SouthBound: Rachel Lance On Trying To Solve The Mystery Of A Confederate Submarine
On Feb. 17, 1864, a torpedo from a Confederate submarine called the H.L. Hunley blew a hole in the side of a Union ship called the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor, becoming the first combat submarine to sink a warship in history. But after the attack, the Hunley disappeared.
May 13, 2020
SouthBound: Todd May On Living Ethically During The Coronavirus, And Working On 'The Good Place'
The TV show “The Good Place” recently wrapped up after four seasons on NBC. “The Good Place” was a unicorn of a TV show – a comedy that explored deep philosophical issues of life and death and what it means to be human.
Apr 29, 2020
SouthBound: Stuart Stevens On His Career As A Republican Consultant, And Why He's Walking Away
Stuart Stevens, a son of Mississippi, helped Republicans get elected for more than 40 years.
Apr 15, 2020
SouthBound: Elaina Plott On Covering Politics, Writing With Compassion, And The Bullet In Her Arm
Elaina Plott is a young reporter from Alabama with skills beyond her years.
Apr 01, 2020
SouthBound: Food Writer Hanna Raskin on Barbecue Hash, Seafood Buffets And Occasionally Angry Chefs
There's a reason you don't see Hanna Raskin’s face in this photo – she tries to keep it hidden for her job.
Mar 18, 2020
SouthBound: Fortune Feimster On Small Towns, Big Laughs, And The Movie That Changed Her Life
There was a young woman named Emily Feimster from a small town in North Carolina. She was an athlete in high school and college, presented as a debutante, graduated summa cum laude, had the whole world in front of her. But she didn’t know what she wanted to be. And more than that, she didn’t know who she really was.
Mar 04, 2020
SouthBound: Photographer Burk Uzzle On MLK, Woodstock, And Coming Back Home
You might not have heard the name Burk Uzzle – if you did, you’d remember it. But it’s likely that you’ve seen his work.
Feb 19, 2020
SouthBound Replay: Brooklyn Decker On Acting, Running A Business, And Coming Home
Today's episode is a replay of our conversation with Brooklyn Decker from October 2018. Decker grew up outside of Charlotte, where SouthBound is based, and was discovered at a mall by a talent scout for a modeling agency. When we talked, she was back in town to see family.
Feb 05, 2020
SouthBound: The Drive-By Truckers' Patterson Hood Explores The South's Psyche And Sound
The Drive-By Truckers’ new album “The Unraveling” comes out Jan. 31. Patterson Hood co-founded the band in 1996 with his longtime musical partner Mike Cooley.
Jan 22, 2020
SouthBound: Micah Cash On Viewing The Waffle House From The Inside Out
No matter your culture or upbringing, at some point, if you live in the South, you wind up in a Waffle House.
Jan 08, 2020
SouthBound Replay: Andre Leon Talley on Fashion, Glamor, And Preserving His Childhood Home
Here’s a holiday gift from us here at SouthBound: a replay of our 2018 interview with fashion icon Andre Leon Talley.
Dec 25, 2019
SouthBound: Erika Council On Family, Destiny, And The Secrets To A Great Biscuit
Erika Council grew up among food royalty. One of her grandmothers owned the classic soul-food restaurant Mama Dip’s in Chapel Hill. And now Erika has found her own prominent place in Southern food, especially through her biscuits, the centerpiece of her Bomb Biscuits pop-up meals in Atlanta.
Dec 11, 2019
SouthBound Replay: Vivian Howard On 'A Chef’s Life,' Her New Show, And Living In Front Of The Camera
Today we’re replaying a previously aired episode of "SouthBound" with chef and TV host Vivian Howard.
Nov 27, 2019
SouthBound: Author Kevin Wilson On Writing, On Family, And On Fire
When author Kevin Wilson talks about combustibles, he means exactly what he says. His new novel, “Nothing To See Here,” features a set of twins who, when they get agitated, literally catch on fire.
Nov 13, 2019
SouthBound: Mitch Landrieu On The South's Racial Divide, And How To Bridge It
Mitch Landrieu comes from one of the South’s most storied political families. His dad, Moon Landrieu, was mayor of New Orleans for 28 years. His sister, Mary, was a U.S. Senator. Mitch was lieutenant governor of Louisiana and then mayor of New Orleans from 2010 to 2018. After leaving office he founded the E Pluribus Unum Fund to study issues involving race in the South.
Oct 30, 2019
SouthBound: Poet Maurice Manning On Writing About Abe Lincoln, And Finding Inspiration In The Woods
Maurice Manning writes poems about turnips, and copperheads, and tire swings, and a woman who gets her apron strings caught in an old wringer washer. His work is dug from the ground of the Kentucky farmland where he lives. But it’s also elevated, universal, as high and expansive as the stars.
Oct 16, 2019
SouthBound: Rhiannon Giddens Digs Deep Into The South's (And The World's) Musical Roots
When you listen to Rhiannon Giddens, you might hear a little bit of anything. She grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, biracial and multicultural and absolutely omnivorous when it came to music.
Oct 02, 2019
SouthBound: Author Casey Cep On The Real-Life Murder Story That Harper Lee Tried To Write
Harper Lee wrote one of the classic novels in American history, “To Kill a Mockingbird.” A second novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” was published under a cloud of controversy a few months before her death. But there was another book that Harper Lee worked on – a nonfiction story from her home state of Alabama that involved a preacher, a serious of mysterious deaths, and possibly voodoo.
Sep 18, 2019
SouthBound: Ben Folds On Making Music, Making Mistakes, And Building A Creative Life
Ben Folds has pounded pianos into submission around the world for the past 25 years, playing everything from ballads to heavy-metal covers to symphonic pieces – often in the same night.
Sep 04, 2019
SouthBound: ESPN's Paul Finebaum Gets Us Ready For A New College Football Season
In Southeastern Conference football history, the true legends go by just one name. Bear. Herschel. Bo. And now there’s another, although you have to stretch it out: Pawwwwwwwwl .
Aug 21, 2019
SouthBound: Wrestling Announcer David Crockett On Life Around (And Sometimes In) The Ring
David Crockett spent years as one of the announcers for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, the wrestling promotion based in the Carolinas from the '50s through the '80s. His dad, Jim Crockett, founded the business.
Aug 07, 2019
SouthBound: Kyes Stevens On Teaching Alabama Prisoners And The Complications Of Home
Kyes Stevens went from her tiny hometown in Alabama to Sarah Lawrence College in New York. For a lot of people it might have been a springboard to a bigger world. But Stevens ended up going back home and making her own world bigger.
Jul 24, 2019
SouthBound: Drew Lanham On Birding While Black, And Hope As The Thing With Feathers
Listening to Drew Lanham is like standing in a field and hearing the sounds of nature wash over you. Lanham grew up in the country in South Carolina and fell in love with watching birds. Eventually, he turned that love into his career.
Jul 10, 2019
SouthBound: Ed Currie On The Carolina Reaper, And Hot Peppers As A Spiritual Experience
On a patch of farmland down in South Carolina, a man named Ed Currie grows the hottest peppers on Earth. The Guinness Book of World Records says so – they’ve certified his pepper called the Carolina Reaper as the hottest ever measured. During this episode I try some sauce made from those peppers. It’s called Chocolate Plague. I’m relieved to still be here to tell you about it.
Jun 26, 2019
SouthBound Replay: Josh Burford On Documenting The LGBTQ History Of The South
Josh Burford was one of our first guests on SouthBound, a year and a half ago. Josh is an expert on the LGBTQ history of the South, and at the time we talked, he was about to leave Charlotte for Alabama to co-found the Invisible Histories Project, which aims to document queer history throughout the South.
Jun 12, 2019
SouthBound: Matt And Ted Lee On Southern Food, Catering, And The Mysteries Of The Hotbox
Matt and Ted Lee are brothers who grew up in Charleston and moved to New York. They had what they thought was a great idea – to sell boiled peanuts to all the Southern-themed joints in the Big Apple. It didn’t go well.
May 29, 2019
SouthBound: Lisa Hendy On Becoming Chief Ranger At Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Lisa Hendy just became the first woman to be named chief ranger at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. She’s in charge of emergency operations for the park, which covers 800 square miles on the Tennessee-North Carolina border and is America's busiest national park, with 11.4 million visitors last year.
May 15, 2019
SouthBound: Tony Jack On His Journey From The Streets Of Miami To Harvard Yard
I met Tony Jack 10 years ago when I was on a fellowship at Harvard. It was the first day of a sociology class I was taking. Tony walked in looking like an NFL lineman – tall and thick and wearing a track suit. Then, the professor had us introduce ourselves. And about 10 seconds after Tony started talking, I knew he was the smartest one in the class.
May 01, 2019
SouthBound: Leighton Ford On Family, Faith, And His Friendship With Billy Graham
Leighton Ford wasn’t born a Southerner, but surely by now he qualifies – he has lived in Charlotte more than 60 years. Before then, back home in Canada, he met a young preacher named Billy Graham. He ended up not just working with Graham, but marrying his sister Jeanie. He went on to his own career as a teacher and mentor to young evangelist. But he and Billy Graham stayed friends to Graham’s dying day.
Apr 17, 2019
SouthBound: Chow Club Atlanta’s Yohana Solomon On Bringing The World To A Southern Table
Yohana Solomon had to learn a different way of living when she emigrated to America 20 years ago. She took political asylum here as her home country of Ethiopia was in the middle of a war. Eventually, she landed in Atlanta. And now she brings the whole world to a Southern supper table.
Apr 03, 2019
SouthBound: Chuck Culpepper On Life As A World Traveler, A Gay Man And A Sportswriter
Chuck Culpepper and I were friends for years before I ever met him — we used to talk about music and storytelling on a chat room created by some fellow writers back in the Internet’s dial-up days. Chuck is one of the few openly gay male sportswriters in America.
Mar 20, 2019
SouthBound: Historian Tom Hanchett On The Past, Present (And Future?) Of The South
Tom Hanchett is a historian. Charlotte is his particular area of expertise, but he has spent years studying how the modern South came to be. So how did our history make the South what it is today? And what are some of the changes likely to come our way in the future?
Mar 06, 2019
SouthBound: Charlie Lovett On Going Down The Rabbit Hole Of Lewis Carroll’s Life
When Charlie Lovett was a boy growing up in Winston-Salem, one day he put on a record and heard a recording of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice In Wonderland.” When Charlie became a grown man, he would become one of the world’s leading experts on Lewis Carroll and his creations.
Feb 20, 2019
SouthBound Replay: Dale Earnhardt Jr. On Fatherhood, Concussions, And Life After Racing
A note from Tommy: Today’s episode is a recut version of the conversation I had with Dale Earnhardt Jr. last March. We’ve done some editing and reshaping so it might sound a little different, but we thought it might be a good time to re-air it with the Daytona 500 coming up on Feb. 17. You’ll hear Dale Jr. talk about his mixed emotions about retiring as a race car driver, and his relationship with his legendary dad, Dale Sr. He also talks about getting ready to become a father, which happened just a few weeks after our talk; he and his wife, Amy, had a baby girl named Isla on April 30.
Feb 06, 2019
SouthBound: Janie Mines On Changing The Naval Academy – And How It Changed Her
In 1976, Janie Mines became the first black woman to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. The Navy fought to keep her and other women out and once she arrived as part of the initial group of 81 women, many of her fellow midshipmen were furious that she was there. What was her life like for those four historic years in Annapolis? And as she changed the Naval Academy, how did it change her?
Jan 23, 2019
SouthBound: Chuck Reece Of The Bitter Southerner On Digging Deep Into The Real South
Chuck Reece wanted to hear a particular kind of voice from the South – a voice that loved and appreciated this part of the world while acknowledging all its faults, past and present. He didn’t hear that voice enough.
Jan 09, 2019
SouthBound Replay: Tayari Jones On Her Award-Winning Novel, And Her Call From Oprah
(A note from Tommy: This is a replay of our episode with Tayari Jones from back in July. We’re running it again here at the end of the year because Tayari’s novel “An American Marriage” was, by acclamation, one of the best books of 2018. It made the best-of lists by the New York Times, the Washington Post and Time Magazine. And Apple Books named it their book of the year. So if you missed our conversation the first time, or even if you didn’t, I think you’ll enjoy it. As always, thanks for listening, and all of us here at SouthBound wish you a wonderful holiday season.)
Dec 26, 2018
SouthBound: James Scott On A World War II Battle And What Lessons It Can Teach Us Today
James Scott is a young man who writes about old battles. He has published four books about critical moments in wartime, including three about World War II.
Dec 12, 2018
SouthBound: RJ Young On Learning About America (And Himself) By Learning About Guns
RJ Young loved a woman. The woman loved her dad. Her dad loved guns. So RJ, who had spent his whole life staying away from guns, plunged headlong into the gun world.
Nov 28, 2018
SouthBound: Chuck Leavell On Playing Piano With The Allmans, The Stones. Plus: Trees!
You might not know the name Chuck Leavell. But if you know much about rock 'n' roll at all, you've heard his work.
Nov 14, 2018
SouthBound: Vivian Howard On 'A Chef’s Life,' Her New Show And Living In Front Of The Camera
Vivian Howard is one of the most unlikely TV stars in recent memory. She came back home to Kinston, North Carolina, after burning out in the restaurant world of New York.
Oct 31, 2018
SouthBound: Frye Gaillard On The ‘60s And What It Meant (Especially In The South)
Frye Gaillard has been writing about the South for going on 50 years. In SouthBound's home base of Charlotte, he was a legendary feature writer for the Charlotte Observer. But he’s best known for his books, which range from a study of school integration to a biography of Jimmy Carter.
Oct 17, 2018
SouthBound: Brooklyn Decker On Modeling, Acting And Learning To Embrace Her Flaws
The first time most of us saw Brooklyn Decker, she wasn’t wearing many clothes. She first appeared in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in 2006, when she was just 19. Four years later, she was on the cover. But not long after that, she gave up modeling for an acting career.
Oct 03, 2018
SouthBound: Barton Swaim On The Struggle Of Being A Conservative Writer Opposed To Trump
Three years ago, Barton Swaim gave us an inside look at a bizarre moment in American politics. His book “The Speechwriter” was a memoir of his time working with South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, when Sanford went missing and then tried to cover up an affair by saying he had been out walking the Appalachian Trail.
Sep 19, 2018
SouthBound: Gayle Jessup White On Her Connection To Thomas Jefferson, Sally Hemings
Gayle Jessup White has American history running through her veins. Her family tree traces back to Thomas Jefferson, our third president.
Sep 05, 2018
SouthBound: SB Nation’s Spencer Hall On Loving College Football, Despite Its Many Flaws
Based on his photos, and his appearances on ESPN with Scott Van Pelt, it appears that Spencer Hall is a bear who has cleaned up just enough to pass for a man. Somewhere under all that fur — or, hair — is America’s sharpest mind on the subject of college football.
Aug 22, 2018
SouthBound: Potter Ben Owen III On Crafting Art From Clay And His Family’s Legacy
In the middle of the North Carolina Piedmont, halfway between Charlotte and Raleigh, there’s a little town called Seagrove that is famous for one thing: Pottery. Dozens of potters live and work there, continuing a tradition that has lasted in Seagrove more than 100 years.
Aug 08, 2018
SouthBound: Jimmy Russell, The Buddha Of Bourbon, On A Life In Brown Liquor
The South is responsible for the three greatest beverages in human history: sweet tea, Coca-Cola, and most of all, bourbon. And nobody alive has been involved with more bourbon than a man named Jimmy Russell.
Jul 25, 2018