I've always been drawn to great storytellers. Back when I was very young, I had several . . . well, books on records. Yes, those circular vinyl things that spin around and around on a turntable. Yes, I'm that old. Then, as technology grew, it became books on cassette tapes.
But I will never forget the awesome storytelling power of Paul Harvey, on the radio, telling us about The Rest Of The Story.
I'd love listening to those Paul Harvey tales whenever I could, trying to guess who he was speaking about. I could never guess them, and the surprise endings always amazed me. But what amazed me the most was his ability to tell a great story.
Musicians who tell stories in their songs have also affected me. Check out the early days of Will Smith as the Fresh Prince in the hit duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince if you don't believe me. And he's certainly not the only one. Some of my favorite musical storytellers are John Denver and Gordon Lightfoot.
Not only do I love the sound of a good storyteller. This even grew from the voiceover works of Don LaFontaine (think of movie trailers that start with "In A World . . ." Yes, this is that guy) and James Earl Jones (the voice of Darth Vader).
I used to work as a dispatcher for the Sheriff's department in my county. This involved many midnight to eight shifts. In the wee hours of the morning (we're talking like four and five AM, mind you), when I grew tired of watching movies, I'd flip through the channels for something interesting to watch. Trust me, there hardly ever was.
One show started to fascinate me. It was called The Most (on the History Channel) and the host was Mike Rowe. At the time, I didn't know who this guy was, but his voice was memorable and his storytelling ability was amazing. Over time, Rowe went on to host/narrate various shows like Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs.
Earlier this week, while searching through my Stitcher app I discovered a new podcast by Rowe called The Way I Heard It. On this podcast, he tells 5-6 minute stories in much the same fashion as Paul Harvey. As of this posting, there are sixteen episodes, and all are amazing. This is one podcast you need to listen to, if you loved the stories of Paul Harvey or you even love storytelling in general. These weekly episodes are for the curious mind and gives the timely history behind many people who may (or may not) have heard of.