In this latest episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast host Michael Shields welcomes author Jesse Jarnow to the podcast to discuss his latest work, Wasn't That a Time: The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America. Jesse Jarnow’s writing on music, technology, and culture has appeared via Pitchfork, Wired.com, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and elsewhere, and he is a contributing editor at Relix. He is the author of Heads: A Biography of Psychedelic America and Big Day Coming: Yo La Tengo and the Rise of Indie Rock. Jesse hosts The Frow Show on the independent Jersey City radio station WFMU and is the host of the podcast Alternative Routes (Osiris Media). His latest, The Weavers, the Blacklist, and the Battle for the Soul of America, is a deeply insightful book which details the remarkable rise of Pete Seeger's unlikely band of folk heroes, from basement hootenannies to the top of the charts, and the harassment campaign that brought them down.
Exploring how a pop group's harmonies might be heard as a threat worthy of decades of investigation by the FBI, Wasn't That a Time turns the black-and-white 1950s into vivid color, using the Weavers to illuminate a dark and complex period of American history. With origins in the radical folk collective the Almanac Singers and the ambitious People's Songs, the singing activists in the Weavers set out to change the world with songs as their weapons, pioneering the use of music as a transformative political organizing tool.
Listen in as Michael And Jesse discuss what made the Weavers so special and influential, and as they expound upon the history of folk music as explored in Jarnow’s book while examining the amount of research it took for this work to come to life, the power of music and art in combatting oppression, and much, much more.