The Best Podcasts You Should Be Listening To
For many, there is nothing better than clicking on a new episode of a favorite podcast and immediately being transported into a new story or conversation. What makes the best podcasts are those where you feel personally connected to or feel like you’re not only learning something new – or being entertained – but you can also connect with those on the other side of the microphone. Franklin is home to several incredible podcasts with a wide range of topics! Here are a few we have on our subscribed list and recommend everyone give a shot to for at least one episode.
Coming from our dear friends at MADE SOUTH, and recorded right here in Franklin, Tennessee, Potluck takes you on a weekly conversation about happenings and culture in the American south. Like the variety of foods at a good potluck dinner, hosts Chris and Will explore a wide range of topics each week on the show. From exciting headlines about the south to classic southern experiences and places that they love, the hosts could be talking about the latest Sturgill Simpson album and great music festivals to the many wonders of southern foods and chefs all in the same episode.
Far more than just another show with people talking ‘at you,’ Potluck has a feel more reminiscent of a conversation you’d have around the dinner table with buddies. Each week’s show is a little different in regards to the topics discussed, but you’ll be sure it has a southern tie of some sort. The boys from Potluck also open the flood gates for questions from listeners that they tackle during a special ‘Old Fashion Friday’ episode that comes out at the end of each month.
Listening recommendation: Ep. 4: BBQ, Country Ham, and Cookbooks
The Podcask (as in whiskey cask) is a podcast about whiskey, at least that’s what they say “officially” in the description of the show. Recorded here in Franklin, Will and his co-host Matt – aka ‘The Greeze’ – are just a couple of friends that have conversations about life and happenings while sipping on whiskey, just like regular buddies do. In its beginning back in 2016, Will and Greeze wanted to share their whiskey journey and thought from behind a microphone would be the perfect place to do so. While there are reviews of whiskey, it is far from a pretentious listen about the scientific elements of each pour. Their tagline is “We don’t know Jack, but we’ll drink it,” after all. Podcask reviews are more from the ordinary person’s perspective and in the end boil down to whether given the opportunity would they “buy, bar, or pass” on each. That meaning they’d buy a bottle, try it a bar, or pass altogether.
Since the beginning, the community around the Podcask has continued to grow. Each year at the annual Southern Whiskey Society event Podcask listeners – Podcaskers – from across the country meet up for an unforgettable experience of comradery and of course a few samples of whiskey. As you listen to the show, you’ll also discover that the community of listeners can and do regularly become part of the show. The most prominent example is the special Barn Night episode every few months where Will and Greeze head over to the barn at Potluck co-host Chris’ house with a few others for what can only be described as epic whiskey experiences.
You could jump in anywhere in their archive of episodes and have a great time, but as a listener from day one, I’d encourage you to head straight for Episode 1. It’s a long ride, but I guarantee you it is worth it.
Listening recommendation: Ep. 1 Our First Podcast
*The guys from the Podcask aren’t bad writers either, they also penned a guide on “how to bourbon your way through Franklin.”
Another great show from the MADE SOUTH podcast network; MADE SOUTH founder Chris Thomas hosts Southerner. In this long-form, one-on-one interview-style show Chris sits down with exciting southerners who are doing interesting things. This ranges from inspiring chefs to designers, to owners of a peach truck. The people interviewed varies greatly, but they all have a deep southern connection, even if it isn’t necessarily that they were born in the south.
While a huge fan of the long-form one-on-one interview myself, I know that may not be for everyone. If you had to pick just one to listen to though, I’d suggest the episode with chef Tyler Brown. You’ll be blown away with not only the road he’s traveled to become the incredible chef he is today. You’ll also fall in love with some of the projects he’s involved with that are far more significant than “just cooking.” Fair warning, even if you think you’re not a fan of the long-form format, this episode and others from Southerner are known to convert folks quickly!
Listening recommendation: Ep. 14: Chef Tyler Brown
You know that feeling when you just pop in at a friend’s house on a summer Saturday afternoon, and you end up chatting on the back porch over a glass of sweet tea? That is precisely the feeling you get each time you tune into the Steel Magnolia’s podcast. Hosted by sisters Lainie and Laura Beth from here in Franklin, Tennessee they chat about southern culture, traditions, hospitality, travel, and of course food and drinks. You’ll usually hear them talking about their drink of the day on the show as well. While it’s often a sweet tea, don’t be shocked when it is a little bourbon or a cocktail in their glass either! For those of you that are from the South, or have been here for a while, the conversations between Lainie and Laura Beth will have you nodding your head and thinking back to how your grandmother did things.
If you aren’t from the South – may be just Southern curious? – Steel Magnolias is even better. While chatting about southern traditions, recipes, events, etc., Lainie and Laura Beth also discuss the why and how behind them too. Not sure what a “meat & three” is? They tackle that tasty topic. Always wondered why tailgating at football games in the South is so much bigger than other areas? They hit that topic too.
If you were to start with just one episode, it would have to be their discussion of Southern sodas. We have some very distinct sodas here in South, and they take a tasting tour behind some of the biggest names you may not have known were Southern, as well as a few niche colas you’ll only find in certain parts of the South.
Listening recommendation: Ep. 29: Southern Sodas
Tenn in 20
The official podcast of the Battle of Franklin Trust, Tenn in 20 is hosted by a pair of history enthusiasts Brad and Sarah, and they discuss some of the rather interesting aspects of Tennessee history. As you might have guessed from the name, they also do it in 20 minutes per episode. You will, of course, find episodes about the Battle of Franklin from Tenn in 20 podcasts, but it is not all you will find. They cover history from across Tennessee that affected the state and the nation, from Presidents that called the Volunteer State home to the freeing of slaves and Tennessean’s involvement in wars across the globe. Even the proudest, life-long Tennessean is likely to learn a bit about the state’s history they did not know. Even those not from Tennessee can see how the web of history all connects back to one another as Brad and Sarah chat.
History lovers, you’ll want to start from episode one of Tenn in 20, but I realize history might not be everyone’s cup of tea when looking to zone out with a podcast during a commute. We can all agree though that hearing from an incredible veteran who’s done incredible things can warm anyone’s heart. If you only listen to one episode of Tenn in 20, start with the conversation Brad and Sarah have with local WWII veteran Jimmy Gentry. If you’ve been to Franklin before you’ve likely seen or heard the Gentry name, or driven on stretches of highway bearing the name. After this episode, you’ll understand precisely why.
Listening recommendation: Ep. 35: Gone off to War: Conversation with WWII Veteran Jimmy Gentry
Travel Today with Peter Greenberg
Peter Greenberg is one of the biggest names in travel media, and most people recognize him from his years as the travel editor for NBC’s Today Show, or from his current role as travel editor for CBS News. He has traveled the world reporting on not just the incredible places to visit and fun things to do (and eat) while there, but also about some of the incredible personalities and events in the places you’ve heard of for years and those you haven’t! What many may not know is that he also has a podcast that is recorded in a different location around the globe each week, where he takes a deeper dive into a destination.
This is a fantastic way to learn more about places and the people that make them unique. He’ll be talking to a hotel general manager about sustainability efforts at a new resort one minute, then chatting with local fireman about the greatest hidden spots for a new meal the very next segment. Fun fact, Peter is still a volunteer firefighter in New York and has a local firefighter on his show whenever possible, “because they always know the good spots to eat.”
His show is a fun listen each week, but if you are only looking to listen to one, there is no doubt you should click on the episode from September 23, 2017. Greenberg did his show from right here in Franklin and talked all things music and Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival with Better Than Ezra frontman and Pilgrimage co-founder Kevin Griffin, Civil War history, Leiper’s Fork, and of course food!
Listening recommendation: September 23, 2017: Franklin, Tennessee episode!
You may have noticed that each of the previous podcast recommendations had a uniquely Franklin tie to them in that they are either recorded here or directly about Franklin. This one isn’t as direct as you might think. The Bobbycast, a long-form one-on-one interview-style show is hosted by national radio host Bobby Bones. (You may also recognize him from being a judge on American Idol or winning Dancing With the Stars). Bobby sits down with some of the biggest names in music, and many of the names you’ve never heard of before but know the work of – like songwriters, producers, record label heads, etc., – and gets their full story. It’s not an hour about the latest record they have coming out or the newest song on the radio; these episodes take a deep dive into how people got to the place they are now. So many of the stars and songs you sing along with on the radio have stories and meanings you’d never guess unless the creators were telling you about them. It is that type of info that you get from each episode of The Bobbycast.
There are several Franklin connections, though! Many of the artists on episodes reference their time recording albums at the many studios here in Franklin, writing songs here, or about their everyday life living here in Franklin. As a fan of the podcast myself and someone that feels relatively well educated about things happening in town, I even always learn new stories about songs inspired by Franklin or how some of the biggest bands in the music world came together in Franklin.
If you are a music fan and love learning more about the artists and the music business as a whole, this is one worth just starting from episode one! If you only have time for one episode though, head straight for episode 36 with Walker Hayes. Bobby chats with Hayes about the long road to becoming a recording artist and how much of that time was spent on stages and open mic nights around Franklin. Even for non-music fans, Hayes’ story is an inspiring one of someone finally realizing a dream that everyone should hear.
Listening recommendation: Ep. 36: Walker Hayes
What are your go-to podcasts these days? Is there another one with a Franklin connection that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!