Program 296a: Appalachian Trails; John Brown

Release Date: 08-29-2015


Listen in as we rock the cradle of country music, from kitchy Dollywood to all-day mountain-music jams along Virginia's "Crooked Road." Tony Horwitz explores how John Brown's 1859 raid on Harpers Ferry still haunts us today. And we'll hear how fun it can be to hike Appalachian Trail.


  • London-based travel writer Will Hide
  • Tony Horwitz, author of "Midnight Rising" (Henry Holt and Co.)
  • Appalachian Trail hiker Albert Dragon, author of "Avalanche and Gorilla Jim" (Morgan James Publishing)

Related Links

  • Will Hide writes about his road trip into the hollers of "old-time" Americana and country music for BBC Travel.  
  • There are performances of bluegrass, gospel, and "old time" music at the Floyd Country Store near the Blue Ridge Parkway in southwest Virginia on Friday nights, Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and on other special occasions. 
  • The Blue Ridge Music Center, at mile 213 of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, near the North Carolina border, hosts old time music performers and concerts, and has an impressive exhibit about the roots of country, blues, and traditional American music.
  • Virginia Tourism includes music listings and an interactive map to help explore the sites and heritage of traditional mountain music on the region's two-lane roads, which they've dubbed "The Crooked Road." 
  • Rick enjoyed a visit to Layla's Bluegrass Inn in Nashville.  
  • Tony Horwitz's website includes information about his book on John Brown's raid, "Midnight Rising."   
  • There is a short video about Tony Horwitz's book "Midnight Rising."  
  • The historic town of Harper's Ferry, West Virginia is a national park.  The Appalachian Trail runs through the area.  The C & O Canal Towpath serves as a bike trail to the nearby Antietam civil war battlefield.
  • Albert Dragon's website includes excerpts from his book "Avalanche and Gorilla Jim," and videos of his presentations on hiking the Appalachian Trail.   
  • The website of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Program Extras

More with Tony Horwitz - Tony Horwitz explains how he was able to conduct his research about John Brown by accessing a dozen historical archives in several states, and visiting sites connected to John Brown's legacy. (runs 1:34)

More with Albert Dragon - Albert Dragon tells Rick how he planned meals on his lengthy hikes, and the most common risk hikers face on the Appalachian Trail. (runs 1:46)