Grant Blankenship

Reporter

Grant came to public media after a career spent in newspaper photojournalism. As an all platform journalist he seeks to wed the values of public radio storytelling and the best of photojournalism online.

Ways to Connect

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

The tick tick tick with the turn of the key only meant one thing: this moving truck wasn't starting.

Battery? Dead.

Not too long before on this sunny Wednesday afternoon, Kenny Howell Jr. had pulled up behind the apartment he, his girlfriend and their three kids shared in the Tindall Heights public housing project in Macon, ready to load up and go.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

While tornado watches are set to expire into Friday evening, The National Weather Service is investigating what, if any, of the wind damage that came from storms that hit Georgia early Friday morning was caused by tornadoes.

 

In all, the National Weather Service issued seven tornado warnings in Georgia between 3 a.m. and noon Friday.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 

    

 

The scene in the small courtroom inside the Bibb County Law Enforcement center was a familiar one.

 

On a day scheduled for first court appearance, there was one charge on the docket. A murder.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

When it comes to guns, Marciarea Torney-Daramanu is sure of one thing.

“With my kids now? When they get of age to own a gun I will make sure they are trained to use a gun,” she said.

She didn’t always feel this way. On a rainy day she shows me into her kitchen in her home in the Bloomfield neighborhood of Macon. She points to a magnet on her refrigerator.

“This is my son right here,” Marciarea said.

The photo is Stacy K. Johnson, Jr., Marciarea’s son. He’s holding his children.

“He’s the one that got killed right there,” she said.

Grant Blankenship/GPB

 

 

All life is like this. All life is a trade off. This is just a field of gray, there's no black or white.

Michael Hayden wants college students, tomorrow’s leaders, to know just that. Hayden ran the NSA from 1999 to 2005 and the CIA from 2006 to 2009. Today he includes among his responsibilities teaching at George Mason University. Before a lecture at Mercer University in Macon, GA, Hayden shared the core of what he wants students to know.  His words follow.

Tennessee Surf Rock With Repeat Repeat

Mar 15, 2016
Grant Blankenship / GPB

Repeat Repeat started its life as surf rock from high atop the Cumberland Plateau. East Nashville, Tenn. to be exact.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

 Jim Alexander has done a lot of things.

 

At one time or another he has been a bookstore owner, the general manager of a newspaper delivery service and a car detailer. He ran a pool room, taught horseback riding and was a diesel engine mechanic in the Navy.

“So in my life I’ve done things,” he said

But what really defines Alexander are his camera and his activism.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Anthony Ponder has been cutting hair for most of his life. He has also spent a lot of time in prison. Ponder lost his equipment the last time he was incarcerated. A pair of Macon churches have set him up with gear again. In return he is cutting hair on Sunday mornings for other men who like him are getting back on their feet.

"I was told that my father was a barber. My father got killed when I was seven years old but I often heard that he was a barber. Maybe that stuck in my head that I wanted to be like my father.”

 

In this session, Col. Bruce Hampton recorded at Capricorn Studio.

Col. Bruce is a legend of Georgia music who has been unafraid to wave his freak flag high since the 1960s. In this interview with Chris Nylund and Jared Wright of the Field Note Stenographers music collective, Col. Bruce introduces us to the numerology of Southern humidity and gives us a glimpse of the weird heyday of a late 60s music boomtown called Macon. A note, in this first story, Gregg is none other than Gregg Allman.

Grant Blankenship / Georgia Public Broadcasting

T. Hardy Morris has moved some molecules in his day as a member of the very loud Athens, GA band Dead Confederate. In recent years, Morris has turned it down a notch with solo work both quieter and more personal. In this Field Session Morris talks about how turning into your Dad isn't so bad, about work life balance for a touring musician with a wife, a kid and a baby on the way and on the difference between a poet and a songwriter. Produced with the Field Note Stenographers.

Grant Blankenship / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Lobo Marino is Jameson Price on percussion and Laney Sullivan on harmonium and voice. Together they make atmospheric music that echoes the sounds they've experienced on their global travels. It's world music that asks you to slow down and just be. Produced with the Field Note Stenographers and students from the Mercer University Center for Collaborative Journalism

Grant Blankenship / Georgia Public Broadcasting

Brett Harris writes the sort of crystalline pop songs that hearken back to the days of Power Pop. Plus, he's a really good guitarist who knows better than to upstage his own voice.  Between songs from his new album Up In The Air, Harris talks about how he first discovered music he could call his own and about to how adapt songs he wrote for a band to a solo tour. Brett's new album Up In The Air will be released on March, 4.  Listen above or watch below. 

Grant Blankenship / Georgia Public Broadcasting

For Southerners who have lived and struggled with the issue of race all their lives, it can be tough to see it with fresh eyes.

Sometimes you need an outsider. When it comes to race in one Southern city, Macon, Ga.,  playwright Mark Mobley is just that.

The play “What Color Is Your Brother?” is the product of Mobley taking his outsider's view into conversations with Macon locals on the issue of race. The project grew out of Mobley's longtime friendship with a Macon native, renown violinist Robert McDuffie.

Grant Blankenship/Georgia Public Broadcasting

Before she performed under the name TORRES, she was Mackenzie Scott, a teenager in Macon, Ga. Hear Scott perform three songs off her album Sprinter and talk about what its like to come home in this performance at Capricorn Studio in Macon. Listen above, watch below. 

In this month's preview of music coming to Macon, we look forward to the holy drone of Lobo Marino, to a tsunami of surf punk from Repeat Repeat, a show from a godfather of lo-fi recording, and to a visit from a veteran of the deep soul scene. With the Field Note Stenographers. 

    

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