The town of Harrenheim is mysteriously out of water, yet its reservoir is full. The Heroes’ Guild summons four of it’s bravest to investigate. These particular heroes are middle schoolers, playing a tabletop roll-playing game at a Nashville community center. The game master is Josh Unruh. He's also a barista and leather worker. A couple years ago, Josh was sinking into despair over our polarizing political climate. Rather than give into the hostility, he decided he would “follow his bliss”. As a lifelong enjoyer of role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons, Josh decided to share the benefits of those games with kids and founded an afterschool program to teach them a new game he and his friend Keith created for that purpose: The Heroes’ Guild RPG. It incentivizes peacemaking and cooperation over fighting, and you get a front row seat at how four kids embody the game.
Thanks for listening all these years! You’re the best! To find out about Jakob’s new venture visit www.voxfamilia.net
What happens when you want to learn more about your cultural heritage and find out that your grandma was a spy? 80-year-old Sara McCall grew up in Cuba. Now her family is learning just exactly how she came to America.
This is a story about a way of life put on trial. Jeffory Young was a beloved farmer and major landowner in scenic Short Mountain, Tennessee. But when police uncovered his major marijuana dealing operation, they seized much of his coveted property. Yet Young never became a pariah — instead, his community rallied to get his land conserved as a wildlife area. And 12 years later, the 60-year-old is home from prison and finding that the people and the land that shaped him are now providing what he needs to get his life going again.
The story of how Stephen Spinola got to Nashville is not a typical one. The stand-up comedian posted a tweet on the day of Trump’s inauguration that got him in a lot of trouble, so much that death threats started pouring in. Fearing for his life he uprooted from New York to settle in Tennessee, but that’s only a fraction of Stephen’s story.
A story of Jakob’s is turned into poetry courtesy of the podcast Versify. Fighting wildfires is dangerous work. But to a 20 year old Jakob Lewis the work was all fun and games—at first. Jakob tells his story about fighting fire in Redding California to poet Lagnajita Mukhopadhyay. She then turns his story into a poem and reads it back to him.
An immigrant restaurateur, Elizabeth Martinez, struggles to make it in America, when the person she came to the U.S. with betrays her. After contemplating suicide and being coaxed out of it by a snuggly pitbull, Elizabeth started her own Honduran restaurant and earned the title Queen of the Kitchen.
Jakob breaks from his usual format to sit down with his editor Mack Linebaugh and answer your questions. You’ll find out why he started the podcast, his favorite episode, and what’s up with those windchimes. Also Jakob calls back one question asker which led to an epic check-in with the subject of the recent “Dog Trap” series—Joel Rice.
Joel Rice got the opportunity to ghost-write the memoir of one of his childhood heroes—skateboarding legend Christian Hosoi. But Joel’s experience was an unpleasant one that brought up an old childhood trauma at a skatepark. In this episode, I call Christian to hear his side of the story, and then both Joel and Christian hash out the past on the phone together. And much like the first episode, Joel’s experience with Christian did not go how he hoped it would.
Jakob gets a rare chance to hear what his guests think of they're portrayed as Miso and Dejan, the subjects of “Miso’s Brother”, have a drink and reflect on hearing their story. Also we pull some tape off the cutting room, and a sad farewell to our favorite production assistant, Caleb Shiver.
Marlo Mack has a young transgender daughter. She met another woman named Debi Jackson who has a very similar parenting story to her own, the only difference is where they live. Marlo lives in a liberal community where she and her transgender daughter are supported. Debi grew up a Southern Baptist conservative in a Red State. This transition has cost her a lot more, than Marlo and her daughter.
Jakob issues himself a challenge to redo the first story he ever made about Father Thomas, a priest. Thomas visits people on their deathbed because that’s part of his job—but one day he’s called in to see his own father during his last days in hospice.
Miso and Dejan are Bosnian refugees who met as children when they were both resettled in the same apartment complex in Nashville, Tenn. After they each turned 30 they made a pilgrimage all the way back to Bosnia to visit the grave of Miso’s younger brother. In confronting generations of grief and the void left in his family, Miso finds the brother he actually does have.
Sam Tucker is a passionate baker who doesn’t like to compromise on the ingredients he used, but one of them contains a tiny little protein known as gluten, and it’s proven to be a tyrannical ruler of their lives. Hear how Sam and his family fight back and still make high quality food.
In the final chapter of the Neighbors mini-series “Matt Got Shot,” we visit Jodi Hays, the woman who’s security camera captured the footage of Matt’s terrifying assault. Jodi is an abstract artist—captivated by the image of the moment Matt was shot in front of her house, she made several works out of it. Then she showed it to Matt. What happens when trauma is re-interpreted and shared in a broader context?
It was inauguration day 2017 when Nashville singer-songwriter Matt Lovell was ambushed while sitting in his car — and then shot in the chest. A doorman at a nearby bar miraculously saved his life, setting in motion a series of life-changing events. In this first episode of a three-part Neighbors mini-series, we explore how the shooting forced Matt to come to terms with his identity and gave him an unexpected gift—peace.
Everyone seems inspired by fitness instructor Katherine Tisha Wilson. People describe going to her class as “going to church.” Her fierceness comes at you instantly from the front of the class, but this high school dropout wasn’t always confident in herself. After a long road of disappointment, she found a fitness dance program and lost over 100 pounds, then used that momentum to start changing lives.
As Myanmar aka Burma is going through a humanitarian crisis Neighbors brings an update to the story of a man who fled the region to come to America with his family. We meet Gin Thawng. The 66-year old man lives in a Nashville apartment with his ailing wife, a baby grandson, his daughter-in-law and son. A graduate of an innovative ESL program-on-wheels, Thawng shows us something about the power that language has and how human connection is bigger than just words.
It’s an odd scene: A man, playing a sousaphone, stands inside a tunnel on a busy Nashville road during rush hour. Is he crazy, divinely inspired or something else entirely? In this episode of Neighbors, we go inside the world of “tuba man” Joe Hunter and discover what brings him and his instrument to the tunnel.
Whit Hill digs up items she finds with a metal detector — Civil War bullets, forgotten toys, old coins. Her treasures, and the songs she’s written about them, remind her that there’s always the possibility of something magical hiding in the ground beneath her feet.
Robert Person Sr. — Percy, as he’s known — has been shining shoes for 70 years. He started around age 10 and now, at 80, continues to work at Percy’s Shoe Shine Service in Nashville. He’s worn out, stressed out, but this veteran shoe shiner just can’t stop.
Prepare to be embedded into a gaggle of neighborhood kids, playing at the peak of summer. Producer Erica Heilman from the always-delightful podcast Rumblestrip brings us the story of children holding on to the last gasps of youth.
When Denice Hicks has to step unexpectedly into the role of King Lear, in some ways, she’s doing what she’s always done: living life like it’s her last day. What happens when you do that everyday over the course of a life?
Eddie and Mary Helen live in Chattanooga, Tenn. — a city, like many in the country, that still feels the effects of segregation. They started by examining their hometown through the lens of race and ended up throwing a party.
Dave Hayes is a “social media-rologist”. He has no meteorology degree, but posts dense and poetic weather updates on Facebook where he’s grown quite a following. Hear how one man uses his computer to bring western Massachusetts together and protect them from the elements.
Bethany embalmed bodies for a living, but she couldn’t help but empathize with every corpse she worked on, seeing her job as one final gift—one that was taking its toll. It turns out, some professions require a certain detachment.
Hannah has a rare genetic disorder that causes her to stop breathing when she goes to sleep. She wears a ventilator at night. How does having to constantly monitor a basic human function change how Hannah and her family approach life?