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March 03, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

New NPT Series Celebrates The Power of Music & Food

Episodes feature food and discussion on a political issue, face to face, with only one rule: to listen and speak with compassion.

Ear To The Common Ground, which debuted on Nashville Public Television on January 2, 2023, is a new half-hour series airing on public television stations across the United States that begins with one question: What if we could replace contempt with compassion in our political discourse and spend time together sharing a meal and some music?

Filmed in a historic barn on Cash Lane in Nashville, each episode features one musical artist and a diverse cross-section of eight of their fans who represent a broad spectrum of viewpoints on each political issue of the day — left, right and center.

“In a time of great division, Ear to the Common Ground offers a downhome approach to bringing us together through civil conversation and music,” says Becky Magura, president and CEO of the presenting station, Nashville Public Television. “Without a doubt, our country is a haven for diverse voices, opinions and music, which this series captures beautifully.”

Everyone brings a dish, and they talk about the political issue, face to face, with only one rule: to listen and speak with compassion. In doing so, the guests of Ear To The Common Ground celebrate America’s greatest diversity — diversity of thought.

“We hope the series inspires viewers to host and attend their own common ground dinner parties where folks consciously and compassionately listen to those that you have differences of opinions with on issues and that you can disagree with respect and, in the end, remember the flavor of the casserole they made more than the taste of an opinion you didn’t agree with,” says Todd Mayo.

Ear To The Common Ground was filmed in historic Madison just north of Nashville on a property known as Smith-Carter House, which is listed on the National Historic Registry. The Smith-Carter House was home to 5 different members of the Country Music Hall of Fame: Jim Denney, Carl Smith, June Carter, Maybelle Carter, Patsy Cline and Marty Stuart. In the kitchen of the home is where June Carter and Merle Kilgore wrote “Ring Of Fire.” The historic barn on the property served as the location for the series. 

Ear To The Common Ground episodes:

  • 101 Wu Fei – Immigration
  • 102 Kyshona Armstrong – Voting Rights
  • 103 The Sweet Lizzy Project – Abortion – Watch screener. Password: watch
  • 104 Gustavo Moradel – Race in America
  • 105 She Returns from War – LGBTQ Issues – Watch screener. Password watch
  • 106 Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen – Gun Rights & Gun Control
  • 107 Susto – Environment
  • 108 Sam Lewis – Polarization
  • 109 Bill Miller – Separation of Church & State
  • 110 Sister Sadie – Urban/Rural Divide
  • 111 Louis York – Education
  • 112 Minton Sparks – Sexual Politics

More information and episodes can be found at eartothecommonground.com.

 

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.