Whether you’re headed to warmer weather or just trying to warm your bones by taking a long drive with the heat on, winter is a popular time of year for long road trips. Like long enough that your favorite radio stations will fade out and you’ll find yourself having to constantly scan the dial (well, there used to be a dial) to find a station featuring your favorite format that broadcasts through an antenna bigger than a wire coat hanger. That’s why podcasts can be so compelling. Eminently portable, often thought-provoking and educational and frequently quite entertaining, you probably have a phone in your pocket that can open up the world of podcast opportunities using the iOS podcast player or apps like Stitcher or Audible.
Even if you’re hundreds of miles from Nashville, you can still enjoy a taste of Music City thanks to some fantastic local podcasts. Running the gamut of genres from true crime to fashion to music history, there’s something for just about every taste. Here are ten Nashville podcast options to help keep you stay alert as you count the mile markers on the interstate.
Curious Nashville is a production of Nashville’s NPR station, WPLN. Station reporters field questions from listeners about historical legends or local oddities and then go on the hunt for answers. Have you noticed that there’s a giant peace sign carved into the forest right off the end of one of the runways at Nashville International Airport? There is, and if the air traffic control sends you on the proper approach pattern, you can spy it from your plane window. The investigative staff addresses rumors about mysterious tunnels under downtown and what happens if you accidentally put glass in your recycling bin. If you think you know everything about your hometown, you probably don’t. But Curious Nashville can help.
Hockey fans love It’s All Your Fault, the Nashville Scene’s irreverent podcast named for the chant that Preds fans use to haunt visiting goalies after they allow a score by the good guys. Hosted by Nashville Post editor Geert De Lombaerde, a Belgian football (we call it soccer) fan turned hockey aficionado, the podcast features two entertaining regular panelists discussing the latest Predators news. Sportswriter David Boclair runs the numbers, including his obscure “number of the week,” while Viktor Arvidsson superfan Megan Seling gives the perspective of a passionate fan from the stands. Topics can range from advanced strategic analysis of coaching decisions to how much Arvidsson looks like a red panda when he celebrates goals. (He really does!)
If you’re a fan of true crime podcasts like Criminal or My Favorite Murder, you should definitely check out Something’s Not Right where hosts/investigators Olivia Lind and Thashana McQuiston share some of the most messed-up crime stories ever to occur in and around Middle Tennessee. These ladies pull no punches with their hilarious and sometimes profane banter, but that just means they are passionate about their subjects and don’t hide behind any facade of artificial gentility in this decidedly PG-13 production. They are who they are, and who they are is hilarious and entertaining while they investigate the mysteries behind salacious local murder stories including Marcia Trimble, Kathy Jones, Steve McNair and even Mary the Elephant.
Windshield Time couldn’t be more mundane, and that’s what makes is so compelling. Local beer salesman Neil McCormick takes advantage of the downtime during his commute in to Nashville to share his views on, well…just about whatever he’s thinking of. Why should you care that he considers himself an expert of restaurant chicken wings? Because in his job he eats out 8 to 10 times a week and has learned to judge a spot by the attention they pay to their wings. McCormick also shares the crazy things he sees on the road while traveling into town, often choosing a random billboard or delivery van’s logo as the sponsor for that particular episode. You really feel like you’re in the passenger seat with Neil, and that’s a fun place to spend 20 minutes a couple times a week.
There are a lot of fashion and beauty podcasts out there, but locally-produced Mirror, Mirror by friends and Nashville natives Jesse Harbison and Allison Duke goes a step further than most of them by inviting remarkable local women to join them to share their stories of success as well as their beauty regimens. Past guests include fashion designer Amanda Valentine, Las Paletas co-founder Irma Paz-Bernstein and chef Julia Sullivan. There’s even a section of the podcast’s website where you can shop for the products mentioned during each episode.
Versify is another novel podcast from WPLN. The concept of the show is to invite poets to go out into the community to find someone with an interesting story. After sharing the narrative directly from the subject, the poets compose a verse on the spot to put a creative artistic spin on the presentation. Sometimes, the results are truly magical.
Nashville Untold is Andrew Buckwalter’s way to share local stories. Touring around in his Rambler camper/podcast studio, Buckwalter invites guests inside for frank discussions about their lives and what Nashville means to them. Often accompanied by live music played by the guests, Nashville Untold is a multimedia treat!
Tyler Coe, the son of outlaw country star David Allan Coe, actually has two different podcasts worthy of your attention. Although fans are still waiting for season two of his country music history podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones, you could entertain yourself listening to his extensively-researched stories of the sordid underbelly of the industry over and over again until the new season finally drops. Some of the stories are sad, others are lurid, but they are all compelling as Coe investigates the legends of the genre including the Judds, Ernest Tubb, Merle Haggard and Bobbie Gentry.
Coe’s other podcast is a partnership with music writer Mark Mosley. The duo pulls no punches as they list the reasons why Your Favorite Band Sucks. Leaving no sacred cow unmilked, Coe and Mosley savagely attack iconic bands like The Beatles, Metallica, Elvis Costello, Queen and The Doors. Many of their arguments are based on extensive knowledge of the structure of music and songwriting, but the most entertaining complaints usually revolve around what a bunch of narcissistic tools a lot of these bandleaders were. Don’t take it personally if they hate your particular favorite band. They pretty much think every band sucks.
Dads Drinking Bourbon is exactly what it sounds like: a couple of young dads who like to get together and sip on whiskey and talk about it. John and Zeke have a wealth of knowledge about brown liquor, but even more importantly, they have a lot of opinions on the subject, too. They work hard to access some of the rarest bourbons to taste and describe on the show, giving listeners a chance to at least vicariously experience fine whiskeys they might never get to taste in person. It’s hard not to be jealous of these two, but their easy-going nature makes you happy for their good fortune.