Across the Margin: The Podcast
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Host Michael Shields brings you Beyond the Margin, guiding you deeper into the stories told at the online literary and cultural magazine, Across the Margin. Listen in as they take you on a storytelling journey, one where you are bound to meet a plethora of intriguing writers, wordsmiths, poets, artists, activists, musicians, and unhinged eccentrics illustrating the notion that there are captivating stories to be found everywhere.

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    Episode 68: Climate Change & The Future with Samuel Miller-McDonald

    In this latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast, host Michael Shields converses with author and researcher Samuel Miller-McDonald about Climate Change, exploring its intricacies from a vast array of crucial and compelling angles. Samuel Miller-McDonald is a regular essayist at such notable publications as Current Affairs, The New Republic, and The Baffler (to name but a few!). Currently, Miller-McDonald is working towards his PhD at the University of Oxford, researching the intersection of grassroots movements and energy transition. Through a deep dive into Samuels hard-hitting, timely, and important articles, this episode explores the absurdities of our current fossil-fueled food system, the under-discussed scandal of the U.S. bipartisan commitment to fossil fuels, how a new generation of authoritarian leaders are using Climate Change to seize power, what millennials can do to fight Climate Change, and ultimately, what decarbonized, climate-resilient, and equitable cities of tomorrow could look like.

    Learn more about Samuel Miller-McDonald at www.samueljmm.com and follow him on Twitter at @sjmmcd!

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    Episode 67: The War and Treaty Episode

    Recently The War and Treaty — the husband and wife duo of Michael and Tanya Trotter — were named Emerging Act of the Year at the 2019 Americana Music Association Awards in Nashville. In the wake of this prestigious honor, Across The Margin : The Podcast is proud to feature an interview with the extremely talented duo that comprise this exciting act. In what amounts to a celebration of the soulful, heartfelt gospel-inspired music of The War and Treaty, this episode draws you into the world of a remarkably talented act that appear to be just warming up. As The War and Treaty, Michael and Tanya serve up funky bass lines, keys, lap steel, acoustic strings, and stripped-down percussion to create a swampy Southern soul bed for the couple’s superior vocals. Their latest album, Healing Tide, is an enchanting testament to the group’s talents, and an inspiring tour de force of a release rife with themes of unity, devotion, and above all else, love. In this episode, Michael and Tanya Trotter reveal the details behind their fateful meeting and discuss their musical and personal influences all while expounding upon their remarkable backstories (which includes the extraordinary tale of Michael’s time in the U.S. Army and at war in Iraq which unbelievably steered his life toward a career in music). Join in on a tribute to one of the most intriguing and affecting up and coming bands in all of Americana music.

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    Episode 66: Ida Mae With Christopher Turpin

    In its latest episode, Across The Margin: The Podcast celebrates the Nashville-based roots rock outfit Ida Mae through an interview with one half of the duo, guitarist and vocalist Christopher Turpin. Ida Mae, comprising the teaming of Christopher Turpin and vocalist Stephanie Jean Ward, recently released their debut album entitled Chasing Lights which blends elements of vintage Delta blues and gritty rock ‘n’ roll with bold modern arrangements and audacious punk swagger. Ida Mae’s music is sincere and honest, where a classic Americana sound is bolstered by rocking British blues moments. Notably, Turpin and Ward achieved a considerable amount of stardom throughout Europe with the alternate rock band Kill It Kid, but despite the successes the duo decided to move on from Kill It Kid, following their hearts towards playing the sort of Americana roots rock music that inspired them to become musicians in the first place. In this episode, the conversation centers around Ida Mae’s musical influences, their decision to move on from Kill It Kid after a major record deal turned sour, the intricacies of their stunning debut album (crafted with legendary producer Ethan Johns), life on the road (with Greta Van Fleet, Blackberry Smoke, Marcus King, The Lone Bellow, etc.), and much, much more.

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    Episode 65: Penny and Sparrow With Andy Baxter

    In its latest episode, Across The Margin: The Podcast introduces you to the Texas-based Americana duo, Penny and Sparrow, through an interview with one-half of the incredibly talented group, lead singer Andy Baxter. Penny and Sparrow teams Baxter with guitar virtuoso Kyle Jahnke, bringing to life what Baxter describes as “scholastic folk,” where alluring and intricate compositions are paired delicately with lyrical content that explores ideas of religion, love, loss, and increasingly themes concerning coming to terms with the distressing truths of the modern world. Penny and Sparrow’s music is rife with swelling strings and enticing harmonies, and in this episode, Michael and Andy focus in on Penny and Sparrow’s latest release Finch, exploring the bewitching soundscapes and dissecting the weighty, affecting lyrics that comprise the album. Finch is a touch of a departure for Penny and Sparrow, one which finds the duo combining folk and r & b rhythms all while maintaining their soft, lush approach to music. Listeners will learn more about the Penny and Sparrow’s novel sound, their influences, their literary lyrical approach, the fascinating link between Penny and Sparrow’s excellent single “Eloise” and Iron and Wine’s “Walking Far From Home,” and much, much more.

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    Episode 64: William S. Burroughs & The Cult of Rock 'N' Roll With Casey Rae

    In this episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast host Michael Shields sits down with author Casey Rae to learn more about his deeply insightful release, William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll. William S. Burroughs's fiction and essays are legendary, but his influence on music's counterculture has been less well documented — until now. Examining how one of America's most controversial literary figures altered the destinies of many notable and varied musicians, William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll reveals the transformations in music history that can be traced to Burroughs.

    In this episode, Michael and Casey bring to life Burroughs's parallel rise to fame among daring musicians of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, when it became a rite of passage to hang out with the author or to experiment with his cut-up techniques for producing revolutionary lyrics (as both the Beatles and Radiohead did). They converse on the plethora of musicians influenced by Burroughs, the aleatory literary style known as the cut-up technique championed by Burroughs that was employed by many notable artists, the amount of research it took Casey to bring this book to life, and much, much more. Join in on a celebration of William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll, a book that finally gives Burroughs his just due in the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll! 

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    Episode 63: The Katie Hartman Interview

    In this latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast host Michael Shields sits down with actor, writer, and comedian Katie Hartman. Katie has starred in film and television, most recently in HBO's series High Maintenance, TV Land's Younger, TBS's Search Party and the Netflix film The Week Of. In 2018 Katie was selected as a New Face of Comedy for the prestigious Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal. She was a staff writer and performer on the WGA nominated Paid Off with Michael Torpey on truTV and a correspondent/writer for Hearst Media's Seriously.tv. Her hilarious web series Made to Order was listed as one of the "6 Brilliant Web Series" by Marie Claire. In this episode, Michael and Katie converse about her influences, her extraordinarily talented siblings, her assorted and impressive comedy/ acting projects, their shared political angst, where the term "going, going, gone" was coined, and much, much more.

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    Episode 62: National Parks: Our Living Treasure

    In this episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast, host Michael Shields, with the help of author and National Park Service (NPS) authority Dr. Gil Lusk, celebrate the national treasure that is the United States’ National Park System. Dr. Lusk is a retired National Park Service employee with thirty-five years of experience. For his efforts, he was awarded the U.S. Department of Interior's two highest performance awards: the Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service awards, the latter presented by the Secretary of Interior and the President. Dr. Lusk’s book, National Parks: Our Living Treasure (A Time For Concern), recounts the origins and the rich history of the NPS, while also ushering readers into NPS’s current conflicted era, where an abundance of issues endanger the important mission and preservation goals of the NPS. In this episode, Michael and Dr. Lusk converse over what makes the National Parks and the National Park Service so special, break down the crucial concerns facing the National Park Service (particularly politically), and climatically, Dr. Lusk suggest a series of urgent changes that are needed to bring the NPS back to its prime and ensure the protection of one of America’s most wondrous treasures.

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    Episode 61: Between Me and My Mind with Steven Cantor

    In this latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast host Michael Shields interviews filmmaker Steven Cantor about his latest film Between Me and My Mind, a documentary providing an in-depth and personal look at the life and career of Phish frontman Trey Anastasio. Steven Cantor is best known as the director of such hit documentaries as Dancer (2017), Chasing Tyson (2015), loudQUIETloud: A Film About Pixies (2011), and What Remains (2007). He is also the producer of such films as STEP (2017), Devil's Playground (2002), Reporter (2011) and Unraveled (2012). He is the founder of NY-based Stick Figure Productions, and the topics of his films have encompassed Willie Nelson, ballet star Sergei Polunin, photographer Sally Mann, boxers Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, musician James Blake, and more.

    Between Me and My Mind finds Cantor following Trey Anastasio as he writes songs and prepares for the band's 2017 New Year's Eve concert at New York's famed Madison Square Garden. In addition, it tracks Anastasio through the writing and recording of his deeply personal new solo album Ghosts of the Forest, which came out in April. This podcast episode offers a behind the scenes look at a film that offers an in depth look at the life and career of Anastasio while shining a light on the massive heart and creative force behind a modern day rock n’ roll legend.

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    Episode 60: A Diet of Worms with Erik Rasmussen

    In this latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast author Erik Rasmussen joins in on a conversation about the art of fiction writing, a discussion born from an in-depth examination of his novel, A Diet of Worms. Erik Rasmussen is the Editor-In-Chief of At Large magazine, and the former Deputy Editor at Man Of The World. His articles, essays, interviews, and photographs have appeared in a myriad of fashion magazines, literary journals, and websites. He is currently at work on a collection of short stories and his second novel: Recess For Idiots. His first novel, A Diet of Worms, tells the story of a young cynic's misadventures on the hunt for something to believe in. It is a coming-of-age story inspired by the themes of religion and addiction that have spilled into Erik's life. In this episode, Erik discusses the challenges of writing fiction, digs into the weighty themes present in A Diet of Worms (religion, sexuality, economic inequality, addiction, etc!), expounds upon his influences and stylistic choices, and a whole lot more!

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    Episode 59: Mike Gravel's Twitter & The Gravel Teens

    This latest episode of Across The Margin : The Podcast features an interview with David Oks, the campaign manager of Democratic presidential nominee Mike Gravel. Mike Gravel is a former U.S. Senator from the state of Alaska and is most famous for being a fierce critic of the Vietnam War and who was responsible for reading the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record, a bold act that put his career at risk. Gravel is also remembered for his 2008 presidential run where he famously challenged his peers at the debates by championing an end to the Iraq war and advocating for increasing direct democracy. Initially not interested in running for president again, Oks, a senior in high school, approached Gravel and urged him to run, eventually earning himself a role as campaign manager. He then was given the keys to Gravel’s Twitter account which has been employed aggressively and shrewdly to take other presidential candidates to task for their policy record and to provide poignant thoughts on the state of progressive politics in general. The Gravel campaign’s goal, fascinatingly enough, is not to win the presidency but to push the democratic candidate's policies further to the left and to hopefully get Gravel on stage for the Democratic Party debates to challenge candidates about the issues. Throughout this episode host Michael Shields and Oks discuss his motivations to work with Gravel, the specifics of Gravel’s progressive platform, the concerns and shortcomings of Centrism in America, the candidates that Gravel hopes to propel towards the presidency through his campaign tactics, and the ways in which you can contribute to Gravel’s campaign if so inclined.

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