Monday, December 1, 2014: Buck Owens invented the “Bakersfield Sound,” hosted Hee-Haw and became one of country music’s biggest stars – all while breaking every rule of Nashville. Bob talks with Grammy-nominated record producer Randy Poe about his “autobiography” of Owens titled Buck ‘Em! Poe’s primary source was Buck’s own words – before he died, Owens had recounted his life story on nearly a hundred hours of cassette tapes.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014: Ann Patchett is a best-selling novelist, the owner of an independent book store in Nashville and always a welcome guest on this program. All she’s ever wanted to do with her life is get paid to write fiction, but early in her career, that wasn’t a recipe for financial stability. Instead, she wrote essays. Lots and lots of essays. They appeared in a range of publications from The Atlantic to Outside, and her latest book, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, collects twenty-two of those essays. Taken together, they chronicle Patchett’s path from a struggling young artist to a confident writer. Today is also her 61st birthday.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014: Today we begin with a listener request. The Interrupters is a documentary that tells the story of three people who work to protect their neighborhoods from the violence they themselves were once a part of. Their job titles are “violence interrupters” and that’s exactly what they do —- step into escalating situations to try to stop the violence before it starts. The film has been praised by critics and it won many awards on the festival circuit. Bob speaks with the film’s director, Steve James, and then he returns for a double feature. Last year, James directed another highly-regarded and moving documentary called Life Itself. It tells the remarkable story of the late, great film critic Roger Ebert, and is based on his 2011 memoir of the same name. Ebert died last April following a decade-long battle with cancer.
Thursday, December 4, 2014: Paul Williams is a well-known actor from television shows and movies of the past three decades. He has also written a range of hits for The Carpenters, Three Dog Night, Helen Reddy - and Kermit the Frog. Bob talks with Williams about those aspects of his career – as well as his job as the president of ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Then Bob talks with singer Yusuf Islam. When he was known as Cat Stevens, he was one of the most beloved songwriters of his generation. But at the height of his fame in 1977 and with eight gold records to his name, Stevens converted to Islam, changed his name to Yusuf, and left music to do philanthropic work in the Muslim community. He returned to music in 1995, and tonight in Philadelphia launches the US leg of his current tour.
Friday, December 5, 2014: Another listener request begins today’s show. Few sculptors can claim the renown and success that Richard Serra has achieved in his forty year career. He’ll discuss some of his sculptures with Bob, but Serra is also known for his drawings. The Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited a retrospective of his drawings in 2011. It was the first retrospective of Serra’s drawings and displayed the varied abilities of this visionary artist. Then, we present the story of a small town in Alabama that made big, defiant music. Muscle Shoals has drawn in musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Greg Allman, Bono, Jimmy Cliff, Etta James, Alicia Keys, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards, producing hits such as “I’ll Take You There,” “Brown Sugar,” “When a Man Loves a Woman,” and “Freebird.” Freddy Camalier is the director of the documentary film, Muscle Shoals which illustrates and explains the town’s special relationship with music.