Years back, I set off on a little project with renown storyteller, playwright, and author Gary Carden, to create a "from-home" podcast version of his Appalachian variety show called "The Liar's Bench." My hope for the project was that the podcast medium could serve as a way for artists like Gary or Bobby could continue to reach audiences despite age-related mobility issues and heath challenges. Ultimately, the rigors of graduate school and the distance to where Gary lives in Sylva kept us from doing more than a few episodes. But I think Gary did an incredible job of telling these stories, despite the fact that I merely handed him a field recording device, told him which button to push, and left it with him for a few months. Alone at home, he'd sit back and tell these tales to the audience in his mind--which is no easy task. I still think there is an opportunity for work like this, and I know there are great storytellers and singers out there that are essentially home-bound, but they still have so much to share with us.
"The only JUstice In this World"
In this episode, Gary talks about the aftermath of this Father's murder. I had never heard him tell this particular tale, despite hearing Gary tell stories many times. I start off the podcast with a version of "Reuben" I learned from a home recording by the Ledford family of Mitchell County.
Christmas Episodes 1 & 2
Two episodes from a limited podcast series from along about 2017 featuring the storytelling of Gary Carden and the music of host William Ritter. Episode 1. Christmas in Cowee Episode 2. Christmas Traditions