Rank #1: Apple Orchards, Protests and 10 Cent Beer Night at Cleveland Stadium
In this episode, Mike takes us into northern Ohio for another look at the history and culture of the Buckeye State. The episode begins with the 1970 shootings of 4 unarmed students at Kent State and how it shaped an era. From there we journey around the early Ohio frontier with John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. Baseball legend Cy Young is also from Ohio, and his story is next up in this episode. Then you’ll hear the story of the early life of one of Ohio’s greatest authors: Toni Morrison. Finally, the story of the ill-fated “10 Cent Beer Night” held at Cleveland Stadium in 1974 will definitely put a smile on your face. Music from this episode comes from Canton’s own Hey Monea. To find out more, check out my website www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
Rank #2: Daniel Boone, Sweet Evening Breeze and the Coal Miner's Daughter
In this episode, Mike heads across Southern Kentucky to bring you more stories from the history of the Bluegrass State. First up is the story of Loretta Lynn, the Coal Miner’s Daughter. Then we’ll hear about the life and times of Kentucky’s first legend: Daniel Boone. The Day Law, passed in 1904 in Kentucky, forced segregation on Berea College, a school which had been integrated for over four decades - that story is up next. In 1925, cave explorer Floyd Collins was trapped in a cave in Central Kentucky and the whole country was watching - you’ll hear the whole harrowing tale. Finally comes the story of James “Sweet Evening Breeze” Herndon, a black drag queen beloved by early 20th Century Lexington. Music comes from Wess Mills and Smokehouse recorded live at the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center. For more information, visit www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
Rank #3: Annie Oakley, Sloopy and Football in the Buckeye State
In this episode, Mike takes us on a wild romp through Southern Ohio. The episode begins with the story of Hang on Sloopy and how it became the official rock song of Ohio. Annie Oakley was a born sharpshooter, but growing up in western Ohio wasn't easy. Hear the story of her formative years in this episode. In 1884, corruption in Cincinnati led to one of the worst riots in American history. Find out how it started and what future U.S. President was involved in the clean up. You'll also hear about the Portsmouth Spartans, the NFL team who hosted the first night game and played the first playoff game in a hockey rink full of elephant manure. Finally, hear about the early life of Dave Thomas who went on to found the third largest fast food chain in the world which started right here in Ohio. Music for this episode comes from Megan Bee. To find out more, visit my website www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
Rank #4: Sun Records, Casey Jones and the Fastest Woman on Earth
Over the last few weeks, Mike has been traveling in West Tennessee to find the stories for this episode. The episode begins with the story of 3 time gold medal winning Olympic sprinter Wilma Rudolph. Then Mike will tell you the true story behind legendary train engineer Casey Jones and his infamous last ride. Next comes the story of Richard Halliburton, one of the most famous American adventurers and travel writers of the early 20th century. Then you’ll hear the tragic and horrible story of the 1917 lynching of Ell Persons who was murdered in front of 5000 cheering spectators for a crime he almost certainly didn’t commit. Sam Phillips’ Sun Records was unstoppable in the 1950s recording everyone from B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf to Elvis and Jerry Lee. You’ll hear the whole story of its rise to infamy. Finally you’ll hear how Tina Turner went from a small town Tennessee farm girl to a worldwide superstar against all odds. Music for this episode comes from Linzie Butler and the Blue Gentlemen. Find out more at www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com.
Rank #5: Frontier Justice, Bloody Monday and the Diamond Hoax of 1872
In this episode, Mike heads deep into Kentucky to bring you these stories from the Bluegrass State. My Old Kentucky Home is Kentucky’s State Song and a wonderful old ballad by America’s first professional songwriter Stephen Foster. This episode starts with his story. Then we’ll hear about an old west legend: Judge Roy Bean, the Law West of the Pecos. Next up is the tragic story of the Bloody Monday Riots in Louisville in 1855. Then we’ll hear about one of the greatest hoaxes in American history, the Great Diamond Hoax of 1872. Finally we’ll hear the fascinating story of the legacy of boxing great and humanitarian Muhammad Ali, both inside and outside the ring. Music recorded live at the Rosine Barn Jam in Rosine, Kentucky. For more information, visit my website www.miles2gobeforeisleep.com
Rank #6: Rocky Top, Monkey Town and the King of the Wild Frontier
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.
Rank #7: Shoeless Joe, Astronauts and the Godfather of Soul
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.
Rank #8: The Swamp Fox, The Mighty Peanut and The Greatest Treasure Ever Found
Mike has moved into South Carolina, the Palmetto State. This episode brings you stories from the coast and the lowcountry. Learn how Vanna White went from small-town cheerleader to letter turning star. You'll also hear why it's called the Palmetto State and other tales from the state's early days. Francis Marion, the elusive Swamp Fox, may have saved the cause of independence during the revolution, and you'll hear the whole story. 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.
Rank #9: Blackbeard, Gold and an American Coup d'etat
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.
Rank #10: Carolina In My Mind
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 then 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.