If you are into podcasts and haven’t heard of S-Town I would be surprised. The latest work of art to come from the Serial/This American Life team is called S-Town and has been getting tons of press. For good reason as well.

It was high up on my list until I was visiting my family one weekend and my mother recommended it to me.  This wouldn’t be the first time my mom has recommended a good show, so it quickly moved to the top of my list. It did not disappoint.

Note – There are no spoilers in this article but beware as you do some research into the podcast – you may want to finish Chapter II first…

The Quick Read
  • Host – Brian Reed
  • Episodes Listened To
  •   Why You Should Listen
    • If you want to hear the incredible story of John B McLemore the most incredible human to live in Shit Town Alabama

The show starts when host Brian Reed is asked to investigate a murder in the town of Woodstock Alabama. John B McLemore was the man who reached out and he quickly becomes the center of the story. As the iTunes description says – “the search for the truth leads to a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.”

S-Town Thumbnail

The incredible storytelling and production the TAL and Serial team is known for is part of what makes this such a great podcast is. The way Brian unravels the story is incredible. It feels like you might as well be along for the ride with him – discovering each plot twist just as he does. S-Town is told in such a way that each person in the town who plays a role gets their due. The seven chapters have several different arcs that these characters then weave in and out of.  The storytelling connects you with each character and many climactic moments in the show will leave you speechless.

The storytelling is incredible but without the characters in this story, it is nothing. Brian transports you into the deep south of Bibb county Alabama and takes you to this crazy, chaotic, and sometimes dark culture of this town. While things are dark he still manages to show the human nature of each character. This kind of character detail is just something you can’t make up. The town’s background, The family at K3 Lumber, Tyler’s story when the electrician stole his grandpa’s guns (JESUS MAN). It’s all unreal and crazy to think that these are real people.  Of these characters though John B is the one who stands out above all.

The story centers around the most interesting person in all of S-Town Alabama, John B McLemore. It’s hard to go into the entirety of his story without giving too much away but I’ll try. John was a genius who lived in a town he despised yet loved.   There are so many different layers to him and they all intertwine into the story. Brian tells his story in such a way that touches on all his quirks and takes you through all the different parts of his life.  I can only really say two things. First, go listen to the show and you’ll know what I mean. Second –  this. And WARNING don’t click that link until you’ve at least heard episode 2. Major spoilers there.

If you have heard the show check out some images from Shittown. If not – bookmark this and come back, there are plenty of spoilers.