Ray Bassett is host and producer of Scenic Roots on WUTC-FM/88.1, a program offering conversations that matter in the heart of Chattanooga and the Tennessee Valley.
Bassett selected some of his favorite interviews from 2022.
A grandson remembers Chattanooga’s own: Sam Gooden of The Impressions
Down the road from our new space here at WUTC in downtown Chattanooga is the Bessie Smith Cultural Center on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
Nearly three years ago, in 2019, a Tennessee Music Pathways sign was dedicated in front of the Bessie to honor The Impressions, the group whose music embodied doo-wop, gospel, R&B and soul—inspiring millions from the civil rights movement of the 1960s to the present day.
Among those on hand for the sign dedication: Chattanooga natives Sam Gooden and Fred Cash, who had performed for decades as The Impressions until they retired in 2018—and the wife and son of the late Curtis Mayfield, the group’s most prominent member in its early years.
This month, Sam Gooden died at the age of 87.
Listen here for a conversation with DJ Griffin—Gooden’s grandson—recorded at The Bessie.
The making of the Emmy-winning film ‘Songbirds’
In downtown Chattanooga, Songbirds once hosted the world’s largest collection of vintage guitars.
When the pandemic forced the museum to close two years ago, Dagan Beckett was there.
The Chattanooga native captured the museum’s final hours and its cultural impact as the director of the feature documentary “Songbirds,” which has won an Emmy and other awards.
On Sunday, a hometown screening of the film will be held at the Songbirds Foundation – at 35 Station Street. Doors open at 6 p.m., with live music and then the film at 6:30 p.m.
The screening will raise funds for the film’s global distribution initiative—and for the Foundation’s Guitars for Kids program.
Listen here for a conversation with Beckett and Irving Berner, one of the film’s producers.
A poetry of witness in ‘The Gleaming of the Blade’
Christian J. Collier is a spoken word artist and musician here in Chattanooga.
His new collection of poems, “The Gleaming of the Blade,” will be released next month by Bull City Press.
In this collection, Collier as a poet of witness explores Black masculinity in the South of today, ghosts of the past, and how it feels to be Black in this country at this time.
Raíces: Jaime Kerns and Shadrina Booker
Jaime Kerns is an educator and one of the co-founders of the nonprofit Culture Chatt.
Shadrina Booker is chief development and marketing officer at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Chattanooga.
They are among the voices from the Latino community in this city that we are sharing with you on “Scenic Roots” for this Hispanic Heritage Month, in a series of conversations in collaboration with La Paz Chattanooga: a series of conversations we call Raíces—or Roots—in Spanish.
When these entrepreneurs gather, let the ideas flow
Let’s talk about entrepreneurship here in Chattanooga.
Briana Garza is owner and founder of Chatt Taste Food Tours.
Ella Livingston is owner and founder of Cocoa Asante.
Listen here for this conversation, a collaboration including the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga.