Mike has spent the last few weeks enjoying the eastern half of Tennessee. This episode begins with the story of Rocky Top, one of the most famous and popular songs in the state. Learn how and where it was written and how it rose from an obscure B-side to one of Tennessee's State Songs. Then hear the story of Franklin, the state that never became a state, but would eventually become Tennessee. Davy Crockett, the King of the Wild Frontier, spent most of his remarkable life in Tennessee, and you'll hear the whole story. Next up is the story of the Scopes Trial, the 1925 trial that challenged a ban on the teaching of evolution in public schools. The Bristol Sessions have been called "The Big Bang of Country Music", and you'll hear why in this episode. And finally, the town of Oak Ridge was built to support a massive project during World War II; Mike will tell you about the town and the project. Music in this episode is from Nashville singer/songwriter Sam Cooper along with Chris Gantry.
Mike is now traveling through the upcountry of South Carolina. This episode features stories from the inland portion of the state. Hear about the rise of The Marshall Tucker Band and where they got their name. Learn why Shoeless Joe Jackson wasn't wearing shoes and about his rise from the cotton mills to the big leagues and his subsequent fall from grace. Before there was Brown vs. The Board of Education, there was Briggs vs. Elliott; find out how school desegregation started over a bus. James Brown was the Godfather of Soul; hear his rags to riches story. Finally, Ronald McNair was the second African American to go into space, learn about where he came from and about his tragic death on the Space Shuttle Challenger. Music from this episode comes from legendary Piedmont blues artist Dr. Mac Arnold and was recorded live at a fundraiser for NEXT Charter School at 13 Stripes Brewery in Taylor, S.C.
Mike has moved into South Carolina. This episode brings you stories from the coast and the lowcountry of the Palmetto State. Learn how Vanna White went from small-town cheerleader to letter-turning star. Francis Marion, the elusive Swamp Fox, may have saved the cause of independence during the revolution, and you'll hear the whole story here. In 1858, the S.S. Central America sunk off the coast of South Carolina with millions of dollars of gold on board. It wasn't until 1988 that it was rediscovered. Find out how it sunk and what happened when it was found. You'll hear the story of Robert Smalls and how his daring escape from slavery led to a meeting with President Lincoln and eventually to a seat in the U.S. Congress. Finally the story of Mamie "Peanut" Johnson who was the only woman to have ever pitched in professional baseball. Music for this episode is by Saluda Shoals and was recorded live at Awendaw Green.
Mike finishes off his time in North Carolina with this lively romp across the south of the state. This episode brings you the story of Wilmington native Charles Kuralt, one of the greatest journalists in American history who spent 20 years and a million miles On the Road. You'll also hear the story of legendary pirate Blackbeard and how he was killed off the coast of Ocracoke. Believe it or not the first gold rush in American history happened in central North Carolina, and you'll get that story too. Mike will also bring you the story of the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898, the only successful Coup d'etat in American history. Lastly, you'll hear about the rise of country music legend Randy Travis. Music for this episode was recorded live at the Drexel Barber Shop where a backroom bluegrass jam has been happening every Saturday for 50 years.
In this episode, Mike has moved on to North Carolina. You'll hear the story behind one of North Carolina's favorite songs: Carolina In My Mind by James Taylor. Mike recounts some of the early history of the state, taking us back to the very first British settlement at Roanoke and the story of how it became The Lost Colony. You'll hear about the origin of Pepsi Cola, one of North Carolina's most well known products, the first flight by the Wright Brothers from the Kill Devil Hills, and how Babe Ruth got his first professional home run in Fayetteville. This episode features music from the Last Minute Bluegrass Band recorded live at Priddy's General Store in Danbury.
Mike takes us deep into the heart of coal country in this episode, with stories from the central and western parts of West Virginia. This episode features the origins of the NBA logo, the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys, the inspiration for Mother's Day in the U.S., the Mine Wars which led to the Matewan Massacre and the Battle of Blair Mountain, and the story of Mothman. Look back in time to some of the more difficult chapters in U.S. history. This episode features the music of Rachel Burge and Blue Dawning.
Host Mike Harding hits the road, his first stop: West Virginia. In this episode, Mike takes us deep into the history and culture of the Mountain State. The episode features the origins of John Denver's song Take Me Home, Country Roads, West Virginia's origins as a state during the Civil War, infamous rebel spy Belle Boyd, notorious coal country hotel The Dun Glen and the bunker which would house congress in the event of a nuclear war from 1962-1992. Enjoy the journey through the mountains. This episode features music from The Country Store Opry.
In this episode, host Mike Harding takes us on an historical romp through his hometown of Washington D.C. With stories about the city's founding, the boundary stones that mark its border, the origins of the 7th inning stretch, how the Gin Rickey became D.C's official cocktail and of a local businessman who started a global brand, you are sure to walk away wanting more. As entertaining as it is educational. Kick back and enjoy.
Welcome to the first episode of American Anthology. In this episode, I present four stories from my travels to help you get to know me a little better. I hope you enjoy it!