The Big Ben Show: Local podcasts from the rolling hills of Moore County

Benji Garland (far right) and Bradley Dye (middle) interview Metro Moore County Sheriff Tyler Hatfield on Wednesday night for The Big Ben Show. “They are easy guys to talk to,” Hatfield said later. {Lynchburg Times Photo}

The Internet credits Adam Curry and Dave Winer with “inventing” the podcast back in 2004. Since then, they’ve ballooned in popularity with over 800,000 now in circulation. Today, half of Americans aged 12-34 listen to them.

You can listen to sports podcast or those that talk about true crime. In Knoxville, they record podcasts discussing the Tennessee Vols. In Nashville, they podcast about the country music industry. And in Lynchburg, from a tiny house located down a secluded back road, Benji Garland and friends podcast about local folks and their stories.

“I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could interview people from around Lynchburg and get their story,” he says. “You can’t just walk up to people.”

And so Lynchburg’s first podcast was born

Garland started just five months ago with the first episode of The Big Ben Show. Since then, he’s interviewed 37 people and people from as far away as South America and Ireland listen.

Garland says it began as a solo adventure but he decided he didn’t like the sound of his own voice that much. Then, the show evolved into one-on-one interviews but that too felt not quite right.

“The beginning episodes were scripted,” he says as he waits on interview number 38, Metro Sheriff Tyler Hatfield, to arrive. “But I didn’t like that. They weren’t natural and felt repetitive. It didn’t flow.”

Now, more often than not, he interviews people with a regular co-host, Bradley Dye. Dye, who was Garland’s fourth podcast interview, brings another perspective, and layers to the interviews, Garland says.

“When he’s here, he delivers,” Garland says. “He’ll ask the questions I wished I’d thought of.”

Dye says the two never show prep and he rarely knows who the interview subject is until the day of … he says he and Garland’s on air chemistry just works.

“I’m just riding Benji’s coattails here,” he says. “But I enjoy it. It gives me a moment to think about something besides my woodworking business.”

Three men and a microphone

Once Hatfield arrives, the three men sit around a round, high top table and chat. In the middle sits Garland’s MAC Book and three microphones, two of which are Shure SM7B’s vocal microphones.

“I tell people these were the microphones Michael Jackson recorded Thriller on. They are the real deal,” says Garland.

The three sit and have an unscripted, off-the-cuff conversation. It’s casual, relaxed but thoroughly engaging. They seem comfortable like three guys chit chatting while they have a beer.

“I’ve just always been interested in learning new things, and the more you talk to people, the more you learn,” he says. “You can take so much from people’s stories.”

Garland says sometimes he picks his interview subject and sometimes people ask to be on the show. His guests are diverse from local high school seniors to elected officials running for state office.

However, his favorite interviews are his fellow teachers, he says. An educator himself, Benji graduated from the Moore County school system before heading to Tennessee Tech University. He now teaches at Deerfield Elementary School in Coffee County. On The Big Ben Show, he’s interviewed LES first grade teacher Terry Davis, LES teacher Marcy McKenzie, Coach Mike Walker, and Director of Schools Chad Moorehead.

He’s also interviewed notable folks like Mayor Bonnie Lewis and EMA Director Jason Deal.

After the Sheriff Hatfield interview, Garland will edit the podcast and then upload it to a website called Buzzsprout, where people can listen to it for free. They also automatically load it onto Apple Podcast and Spotify. Then Garland loads it onto The Big Ben Show Facebook page.

So what’s next for The Big Ben Show?

“The next goal is to go live,” he says. “Live broadcasts on YouTube or Facebook are the next big thing.”

If you want to check out Lynchburg’s first, only, and most successful podcast to date, check out The Big Ben Show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Buzzsprout, or check out his Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Wartrace gets new fresh produce market

Locally-made baked goods like these all-butter tea cakes adorned with pansies by Heaven Hill Farm will be available this weekend at Wartrace’s new fresh produce market. {Photo Provided}

WARTRACE — It’s the home of the annual Wartrace Strawberry Festival and now this charming southern, middle Tennessee hamlet’s got a new, fresh produce market.

Officials in Wartrace announced this week that Wartrace Produce will open in the historic district this weekend and will offer local strawberries, homegrown veggies, strawberry-themed baked goods, flowers, and other local items. The market will be located at 103 Main Street in Wartrace beginning on Saturday, May 16 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Many of the local shops at The Shoppes at 31 Main and the Iron Horse Pizzeria will also be open. They will all be following all CDC guidelines. Personal masks are encouraged but not required. For more information, visit the Wartrace TN Events and Recreation Facebook page by clicking here.

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

American Pickers headed to southern, middle Tennessee in June

Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe of American Pickers will be in our area in June. {Photo Provided}

They adore traveling the rural back roads looking for dusty barns and piles of grimy junk to explore. Why? Because there might just be a rare vintage find or a forgotten relic just begging to be restored.

American Pickers, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, will be headed toward southern, middle Tennessee in June. And hey, if you’ve got interesting stuff they might just visit you. The duo are looking for items to show off on there oh-so-popular History Channel show. If you or someone you know has unique items you’d be willing to share, you should contact them via email, phone, or on Facebook to be considered.

The duo only explores private collections so they won’t be interested in retail stores, malls, flea markets, museums, auction, or any business that’s open to the general public.

You can contact them via email at americanpickers@cineflix.com, leave them a voicemail at 855-old-rust, or message them on their Facebook page. To be considered let them know your name, location, phone number, where your collection is located,and a description of the items.

They also own a retail store in Nashville called Antique Archaeology that sells vintage items, collectibles, and unique home decor all picked personally by Mike. It’s located at 1300 Clinton Street. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Promise Manor featured on Tennessee Crossroads

Lynchburg’s Igniter Productions shot a music promo at Promise Manor in January. The local historic home and private events venue will be featured on Tennessee Crossroads this week. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — If you’ve exhausted your Netflix cue recently, one of Lynchburg’s own will be on the small screen beginning Thursday night.

National Public Television’s Tennessee Crossroads will feature local historic home turned special events venue Promise Manor this week. The episodes will air on Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. or Sunday, March 29 at 10 a.m.

The first episode of Tennessee Crossroad aired in 1987. Since then, they’ve been crisscrossing the state highways and back roads highlighting the people, places, food, events, and crafts that make our state unique. In the past, they’ve featured other Lynchburg locales like Barrel House BBQ, the Lynchburg Cake and Candy Company, Miss Mary Bobo’s Restaurant, and others.

Birdie Evans, the mother of Mary Evans Bobo of Miss Mary Bobo’s fame, on the porch at what would become Promise Manor. {Historic Photo}

Promise Manor exists in the historic Green-Evans-Hudgens House on Motlow Barns Road. The NPT crew stopped by to chat with venue owners Dennis and Kayla White last November. The 1850-era home was once the home of Birdie Evans – the mother of Miss Mary Evans Bobo’s for whom Lynchburg’s famous restaurant is named.

The charming locals venue hosts baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, and other private and public special events. It’s built in the Greek Revival style and feature historic murals, and sprawling, landscaped grounds.

To learn more about them, visit their Facebook page or website. If you happen to miss the NPT airing of the episode, you can watch it at the Tennessee Crossroads website. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Bell Buckle cancels Daffodil Day

Daffodil Day cancelled

Updated on March 17: Organizers have cancelled this year’s Daffodil Days scheduled for this Saturday due to COVID-19 public health concerns.

REGIONAL NEW | Bell Buckle — Each spring the rolling back roads leading into tiny Bell Buckle, Tennessee transform into a sea of bright yellow daffodils. Their history dates back to the 1800s, when Webb School founder Sawney Webb took a grim view of students absentmindedly snatching leaves off local plants. To teach them a lesson, Sawney assigned them to bulb planting duty all along the roads that converge into historic downtown Bell Buckle an up towards the school.

The daffodil trail as it’s called by the locals still exists today and many locals have added to it by planting thousands of their own bulbs. Each spring as the original bulbs and the newly planted ones, burst open in the warmer temperature, the town hosts one of the first spring events, Daffodil Day.

Here are three “must dos” the we picked for this year’s event:

1| Beekeeping Seminar – If you’re interested in apiculture or beekeeping as it’s commonly called, you won’t want to miss the Honey and Beekeeping Seminar with Dr. Ed Perryman. An avid local bee enthusiast and member of the Duck River Beekeeper’s Association, Perryman bursts with knowledge about all stages of beekeeping from hive construction to carrying your hive through its first winter. If you’ve ever considered starting your own hive, don’t miss this free seminar.

2| Local Author Book Signings – We’re a big supporter of the #buylocal movement and this includes local authors. The Bell Buckle Coffee Shop and Book Swap will feature three regional authors during Daffodil Day: John T. Wayne, Cabot Barton, and Lathan Hudson. Wayne is the grandson of the legendary John Wayne and a western fiction writer. Barton’s opened for artists like Emmylou Harris and the Georgia Satellites. He writes fiction based on his real world experiences. Lathan Hudson’s authored a memoir about his years in Nashville as a singer, songwriter called Once Upon a Time … There Was a Tavern, Volume 1.

3 | Free Tree Seedlings – Bell Buckle in officially the smallest town in Tennessee to earn the Tree City USA designation. Each spring the city celebrates Arbor Day during the festival and offers free tree seedlings to anyone in attendance. It’s just like taking a piece of Bell Buckle home with you.

Daffodil Day takes place in and around the historic downtown area on March 21 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information check out the Bell Buckle Chamber of Commerce website. Or for up-to-the-minute events updates, visit their Facebook page.•

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Art Center exhibit explores Camp Forest history and art

Tullahoma’s Camp Forrest once existed as one of the U.S. Army’s largest training bases during World War II. The Tullahoma Art Center will feature piece pertaining to the installation during their March exhibits. {Historic Photo}

TULLAHOMA — It once included 1,300 buildings, 55 miles of roads, five miles of railroad tracks, and existed as a self-sustaining city of over 70,000 soldiers and another 12,000 civilians. Originally built in 1926 near Tullahoma as a National Guard Camp, Camp Forrest served as a crucial induction and training site during World War II. . Today, only a few overgrown concrete foundations remain. To learn more, visit campforrest.com.

During the month of March, the Tullahoma Art Center will share their private archived collection of pieces pertaining to Camp Forrest. The large exhibition will hang in three exhibit halls inside the center through March 31.

In its heyday, Camp Forrest covered nearly 85,000 acres on land that now serves as the footprint of Arnold Engineering Development Complex (AEDC). It housed service clubs, guest houses, a library, post exchanges, a post office, hospital, chapel, a movie theater, and barracks. Major General George Patton once brought his famed 2nd Armored Division from Fort Benning, to practice maneuvers at Camp Forrest. It’s estimated that its mere existence increased the size of Tullahoma by as much as 40 percent.

The Tullahoma Art Center is located at 401 South Jackson Street. Learn more about upcoming shows by visiting their website. You can also get updates at their Facebook page by clicking here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Art Center launches Clay Studio 101 in March

TULLAHOMA — Hand-shaping clay into vessels to hold water, grains, and other items developed sometime around 6000 BC. The Mesopotamians invented the potter’s wheel. Today in addition to its utilitarian qualities, it’s become a separate art form where clay artists experiment with different shapes, glazes, and decoration to create unique, one-of-a-kind works of art.

As part of its new renaissance, the Tullahoma Art Center will host Clay Studio 101 – a three week session beginning Monday, March 2 that will focus of hand-building basics like pinch pots, slab building, and free form structures. Each student will construct a start to finish piece including bright, low fired glazes.

The fee is $135 per student, which cover all the supplies needed for the class. You can sign up by clicking here. There will be two additional sessions: one beginning March 3 and one beginning March 5. The Tullahoma Art Center is located at 401 South Jackson Street. For more information, visit the event’s Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

New exhibit features 150 year old works of family that once lived in art center

Baillett Sisters home South Jackson Street
One of the Tullahoma Art Center’s February exhibits includes works by the Baillet sisters, the original owners of the historic home that now houses the TAC. {Historic Photo Provided}

TULLAHOMA — They were sisters, businesswomen, and artists before their time. In February, the Tullahoma Art Center (TAC) will explore the 150 year old works and historical significance of the Baillet sisters who once resided at the TAC building at 401 South Jackson Street.

In 1868, Jane, Emma, and Affa Ann Baillet moved to Tullahoma with their parents, Felix and Affa, during the aftermath of the Civil War. Originally from Cattaraugus County New York, the sister arrived to Tullahoma as it was transitioning from a strategic supply headquarters for the Army of Tennessee into a Reconstruction town.

It didn’t take the sisters long to catch sail on the winds of change blowing through the South. The creative sisters open a millinery shop – one of the first women-owned businesses in Coffee County – and quickly became prominent members of local society.

The two-story Italianate home located near the railroad tracks still exists as one of the oldest homes in Tullahoma. In 1968, and with major support AEDC Manager Robert M. Williams, the then Tullahoma Fine Arts Center bought and restored the home.

In addition to making wearable art at the millinery, the sisters painted small, original works that were often given as gifts to friends. Many of those paintings have returned and hang on the TAC walls. The sisters also collected art … Tennessee landscapes and genre paintings … dating all the way back to the 1870s – many of which still hang in display at the TAC.

By all accounts, the Baillet sisters were also deeply involved in politics, public reforms, and progressive movement of all types. Among the many causes they championed were the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union and the Equal Suffrage League. None of the sisters ever married and they lived together in the home until their deaths.

Their creative legacy has only expanded. The Center added an addition in 1992 that included a new wing to house gallery space, classrooms, and storage. In 1999, the Center installed a bronze sculpture created by Bell Buckle artist Russell Faxon in front of the building. Just last year, they added an octopus mural on the Carroll Street side of the building painted by Murfreesboro artist Tara Avers.

The show will remain on display in Exhibit Hall B at the Tullahoma Arts Center through February. The exhibit is free to members and $5 for non-members. Visit their website or Facebook page for more details. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned, community newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Hamilton Brothers perform free concert at Motlow on Feb. 11

Tullahoma natives, the Hamilton Brothers and nephew, Isaac Eady, will perform a free concert on the Motlow Moore County campus on Feb. 11, at 12:30 p.m., in Eoff Hall, Powers Auditorium in celebration of Black History Month. The public is invited. {Photo Provided}

LOCAL NEWS — They say they always knew they wanted to make music in as many places as possible … and that’s exactly what they did.

To celebrate Black History Month, Motlow College will host The Hamilton Family in concert on Tuesday, February 11 at 12:30 p.m. in Eoff Hall at Powers Auditorium. The free concert will feature Tullahoma natives, the Hamilton Brothers and nephew, Issac Eady.

Hailed as celebrated musicians, the Hamilton Brothers, Walter “Hinkie,” Tyronne, and Tim, have traveled the world and performed with noted artists including Lalah Hathaway, Aaron Neville, the late B.B. King, After 7, Dr. Bobby Jones, Christiana Aguilera, Kelly Price, and others. Their music is an electric mix of gospel, jazz, R&B, and pop-funk, all blended and smoothly presented. Additionally, they have stepped into the role of producers, currently working with Kim Fleming and Winchester native and university student Ashley Brooks.

Issac Eady performs on piano
Issac Eady

Isaac Eady is a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. In 2016 he moved to New Orleans, where he has been teaching and collaborating with world-class musicians. He has performed with well-known artists Jabo Starks, Nigel Hall, Rhiannon Giddens, Papa Mali, Russell Batiste, Jenifer Harswick, Stanton Moore, Warren Batiste, and Luther Dickinson. Born into a family with a deep tradition of music, Eady gravitated towards music early, playing the drums by age two. By age 14, he was playing the organ and directing the choir at church.

“To present Isaac and the Hamilton Brothers in concert is an honor for Motlow State as well as the community,” said Brenda Cannon, executive director of community relations at Motlow. “Bringing this family home is a celebration. The performance allows them to serve the community where they grew up and learned the craft that has taken them to new platforms. We invite the community to come and help us celebrate our very own.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated community newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

12 Angry Jurors performed in Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE — Is he guilty or isn’t he? That’s the central question in 12 Angry Jurors, a classic stage play being performed by Lincoln County’s Carriage House Players beginning this Thursday.

Written in 1954 by Reginald Rose, it’s a work that’s evolved from the stage to the television to the big screen. Audiences might recall the 1997 remake that starred Jack Lemmon, Mary McDonnel, Edward James Olmos, and James Gandolfini. The play revolves around an 18 year old defendant accused of murdering his father. If found guilty, he’ll lose his life in the electric chair. The jury must decide his fate … and all 12 must agree in order for justice to be served. The play examines the themes of conformity, persuasion, and takes a closer look at group think mentality.

The Fayetteville performance stars Dowel Burnett, Mike Steelman, Scott Wingard, Sonya Evans, Mickey Johnson, Anissa Webb, Henry Webb, Mary Ashley Webb, Craig Clemons, Brandi Barnes, Lonnie Ables, Katie Blackwood, and Tami Newcomb. It’s directed by Brenda Wilkes. Performances take place this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (January 30 thru February 1) and again next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (February 6-8) at the Lincoln County Museum Theater. All performances are at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students and may be bought in advance at Bagley & Bagley Insurance, Carter’s Drug Store, or The Flower House in Fayetteville. You may also purchase ticket by calling 931-433.1300. For up to the performance update, check out the Carriage House Players Facebook page. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated community newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}