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Reelfoot Forward

Author: Reelfoot Forward

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Podcast by Reelfoot Forward
87 Episodes
Spend a little time with Dan Knowles, and you’ll quickly find yourself inspired by this award-winning writer, artist and musician. In this episode, he shares the arts journey that took him from his childhood in California to the stage of the Grand Old Opry to riverboats on the Mississippi to his current home in Paris, Tenn. Today, Knowles both plays and creates banjos, mandolins and dulcimers in his Paris studio and is the artist responsible for many of the giant murals now found on many of the large buildings in town. Learn more about his music at . Learn more about his art at
Film, television, theatre and live events producer Samuel Goldberg recently contributed to the work of the Discovery Park of America team on the safety portion of the new exhibit on innovation in agriculture. His latest movie, “Silo,” has now been released in theaters around the country. It’s an incredible story based on real-life events about how a community came together to save a boy trapped in a silo grain bin. In this episode, Goldberg shares how a New Yorker who grew up in Manhattan was inspired to produce a film on grain bin entrapment. It’s a fascinating story of how the film made the journey from an idea tossed his way by a friend in Tennessee to finally premiering in theaters around the country. Find out more about “Silo” at
This special episode with Dr. Timothy Smith was recorded during Discovery Park’s Military History and Armed Forces Symposium. Dr. Smith was one of the featured historians on “Grant,” a three-night mini-series from The History Channel. The live audience learned more about the life and career of Ulysses S. Grant and the Civil War and discovered how history-related documentaries are made. Dr. Smith also shared suggestions on getting your children interested in the past and the best historic Tennessee destinations. He is the author of more than 20 books on topics ranging from Shiloh to Champion Hill to Vicksburg to Grant. You can watch the documentary on the History Channel and purchase Dr. Smith’s books on Amazon. Learn more:
Kirstan Blanchard took advantage of her time in quarantine to launch a successful lifestyle blog. Today, she shares her passion for beauty, affordable fashion and mental health for mothers with thousands of followers from around the world. In this episode, she shares her journey and provides tips and tricks to creating a personal brand, gaining followers and creating engaging content. You can view her blog at or follow her on Instagram at @kirstanrblanchard.
From legal assistant to veterinarian, Dr. Debbie Reynolds shares her story of chasing her dream in this episode of "Reefoot Forward." After graduating high school in Sharon, Tennessee, Debbie went to work as a legal assistant in Weakley County, but she soon discovered her true passion was caring for animals. Listen along as she gives uplifting advice on facing your biggest challenges and overcoming obstacles. She now owns and operates Veterinary Home Healthcare, a mobile clinic that strives to create a fear-free atmosphere for our four-legged friends.
From an early age, Ed Sargent was surrounded by music. Whether he was playing in the high school band in Bolivar, Tennessee, or studying with music instructors at the University of Tennessee at Martin, Ed always knew his love and appreciation for music would be a big part of his life. In this episode, he shares how he became the tour manager for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Joan Jett and gives the top three "pinch me" moments of his career in the music industry.
In this episode, local artist Paige Espey shares how through the tragedy of her brother's death she was inspired to pick up a paint brush and "turn something negative into a positive." Tune in to hear the story behind her popular rainbow paintings that have brought healing and support to many over the past few years.
In this episode, retired West Tennessee lawyer Jim Emison discusses his quest for justice for the brutal murder of Elbert Williams, a founding member of the NAACP in Haywood County. In June 1940, two officers from the Brownsville, Tennessee Police Department took Elbert Williams to jail for questioning. His body was later found floating in the Hatchie River making him one of the earliest members of the NAACP murdered for his civil rights work. While his death was ruled a homicide, no one was ever prosecuted. After learning about the case, Jim Emison began what has become an all-encompassing crusade to ensure Williams' sacrifice is remembered and any responsible parties still living are brought to justice.
As an Emmy award-winning writer and producer, Henri Giles has many fascinating stories she now shares with her students at the University of Tennessee at Martin. After earning her bachelor’s degree in communications, she worked in a variety of positions in broadcast and cable television. In this episode, she shares details about her unique life experiences that include working as a field producer for the Oprah Winfrey Network and producing an Emmy Award-winning documentary narrated by Alfre Woodard.
April Lieberman, West and Middle Tennessee Rotary district governor, returned home to Gleason, Tennessee after successful careers that included time as a model, federal judicial law clerk and appellate attorney. A graduate of Yale Law School and Vanderbilt University, she now dedicates herself to serving throughout West Tennessee and encouraging those she encounters to “be the change they want to see in the world.” After joining Rotary several years ago, she remarked to friends, “I’ve found my people.” In this episode, April shares how she discovered her passion for service to others and the role community service organizations, like Rotary, play in both urban and rural communities.
As a doctor of audiology with a passion for hunting, Dr. Bill Dickinson is an entrepreneur who merged his professional calling with one of his hobbies. He co-founded TETRA Hearing to provide perfected hearing protection and targeted enhancement that was awarded the 2020 Guns and Ammo Best New Technology of the Year. In this episode, listeners go behind the scenes and learn how he took this new product from idea to manufacturing to hunters around the nation. Others with a similar passion for hunting will appreciate hearing more about what his company is doing in the industry including his work with Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson and Uncle Si. Non-hunters will love hearing Dr. Dickinson’s excitement for life and will be inspired to find their own passions.
Charles Brubaker’s path has taken him from a childhood on the busy streets of Isahaya, Nagasaki in Japan to life with his six cats and two dogs living in the rural community of Martin in Northwest Tennessee. In this episode, he shares how he turned his early passion for art and illustration into a successful career as a storyboard artist, cartoonist and animator. After graduating from the University of Tennessee at Martin, he worked with animation historian Jerry Beck as a researcher on Pink Panther: The Ultimate Guide and has had his work in the popular SpongeBob SquarePants comic books and Mad Magazine.  Today, his popular Ask a Cat and The Fuzzy Princess strips are popular among comic fans of all ages.
From the hustle of New York Fashion Week to overseeing the visionary process of music videos, editorials and merchandise design, Nashville stylist Krista Roser has an exciting career in the fashion industry. Originally, from Dyersburg, Tenn., Krista’s passion for design was sparked by a college trip with University of Tennessee at Martin to New Orleans where she visited Saks Fifth Avenue for the first time. In this episode, she talks about styling runways, red carpets and helping establish the brands of new artists in country music.
Through his nonprofit, Special Ops Xcursions, founder Scott Graves is devoted to providing unique adventures to Special Operations Forces service members and their families at no cost. The list of adventures includes hunting, fishing, skeet shooting, archery range days, family retreats, safaris and even music-writing getaways with Nashville recording artists. In this episode, Scott shares the story of how he and a small group of friends came up with this idea in 2012 at their West Tennessee hunting club. After the first group of soldiers arrived in September 2013 for a dove hunt, the overwhelming success of that excursion quickly rippled into numerous events providing all types of outdoor activities.
In this episode, host Scott Williams talks with Caroline Meinert, artistic director for Ballet Arts in Jackson, Tenn. She shares her story of auditioning for the Radio City Rockettes in New York City, her decision to become a dance instructor and why she decided to come back and run the studio that sparked her passion for dance. Caroline also discusses the importance of having a strong arts program in rural communities.
As a fourth generation hunter from Samburg, Tennessee, Ben Parker created Parker's Outfitting to provide hunting and fishing adventures in the region. Recording from his lodge at Reelfoot Lake, Ben talks about his time on the professional fishing circuit and how he developed the idea to provide outdoor excursions in his hometown.
It's not every day you get to hear firsthand what it's like to ride into a rodeo arena. In this episode, Casey Allen, a graduate student and member of the rodeo team at the University of Tennessee at Martin, shares about the thrill of barrel racing and break-away roping. When she is not in class, she is practicing and competing in rodeos across the country. Raised just outside of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Casey began competing against professional barrel racers at the age of 14. Listeners will enjoy hearing about the day-to-day activities of a rodeo star in this episode of "Reelfoot Forward."
Charles Choate, the host of “30 Minutes,” a community affairs program from the Thunderbolt Broadcasting Company, turns the tables on “Reelfoot Forward” host, Scott Williams, to find out more about Discovery Park of America’s new exhibit on innovation in agriculture. By 2050, agricultural production must increase dramatically to support an estimated global population of 10 billion. In this episode, you’ll hear more about how “Agriculture: Innovating for Our Survival” explores how food, fuel and fiber is being grown for an increasing population while using less of our shared natural resources. Opening Dec. 5, 2020, the exhibit tells the story of farming innovation in the past, present—and especially—future in a fun and interactive way. Williams shares behind-the-scenes details on the development of the exhibit along with a look at some of the farmers and others working in agriculture that visitors will get to know.
Jake Bynum describes his job as Weakly County mayor as being a salesman for the county. In this episode, you’ll hear how he transitioned from serving on the city board to running and winning the position of county mayor.  Whether he’s looking for ways to increase economic development or make high-speed internet access available in rural communities, Jake uses his leadership role to help improve the lives of those living in Northwest Tennessee.
By the end of this episode, you will want to hop in your car and head to Martin for some of the tastiest BBQ in Northwest Tennessee. Blake Stoker, the young, enthusiastic owner of Blake’s BBQ, shares how he discovered his love for grilling and how he is turning his food trailer business into a brick and mortar restaurant. For those listeners who enjoy grilling, Blake also shares some insider tips on smoking the perfect chicken or brisket.
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