S-Town

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S-Town is a podcast hosted by Brian Reed from Serial Productions, a New York Times company. The story follows a man named John who despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks Brian to investigate the son of a wealthy family who's allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But when someone else ends up dead, 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.

 
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Recent Reviews
  • sasha bovee
    Still the top dawg of podcasts
    Four years later I am listening again. Even more fascinating second time around.
  • PedalPusherinLasVegas
    Serial pinnacle
    The best podcast ever. Serial is always great but this one is next level.
  • hcnjgs
    Must listen
    One of the best podcasts I have ever listened to. I could not stop listening. What an incredibly interesting story.
  • flecksteph
    Deeply moving
    Wow. This podcast feels like a engrossing book you can’t put down, except you get to hear the voices of the characters and music that brings out the emotions of it all. Really beautifully done.
  • faithful Drea
    Amazing
    This podcast is engrossing!!! I’m so so sad John B is gone! I wanted to literally meet this man! Prayers for these people!
  • fishweir
    Captivating Story
    Your story captivated me from the first show; I was definitely hooked from there on…. Each show had at least one or two incredible twists. I learned of this podcast after visiting relatives who had moved to Woodstock, AL and told me of this story and they were 100% right that it was a truly captivating. Woodstock is a beautiful place with deep woods, rolling hills and kind, sweet people. Thank you for telling this story-
  • Dirt bah
    Skip It
    I kept listening because of all of the excellent reviews. I kept thinking we’d get to the “point,” but it turns out there wasn’t one. This was a non-story. Don’t waste your time.
  • VN1977
    Excellent
    I’m from N. AL. I think there’s a fascination with ppl who are from the south, specifically those who live in small towns like Woodstock, AL. I think ppl wonder why they are how they are, how they got that way, etc. While John B. certainly isn’t the norm, this gives you good insight of the different types from this particular area. Brian did a great job drawing the listener in to this story as John B. did, drawing Brian in with his consistent initial phone calls. I couldn’t stop listening b/c Brian did such a good job helping us understand where his curiosity was coming from, as well as convincing the listener that they shared that same curiosity. Thanks, Brian, for helping us understand the world (and John B.) a little better.
  • Former S-Town Resident
    Literary Journalism
    This is literary journalism at its finest. I lived in S-Town from 2013-2017, and while I never knew John B., I knew the town. I didn’t find it to be the backward, hate-filled place John describes, but it had its issues like everywhere else. Even if I didn’t have a personal connection with this story, it would still be one of my favorites. At its core, this podcast attempts to understand its central character, John B. He is eminently human, full of complexities, and deeply sympathetic. He is at once both a genius and fatally flawed, like so many greats. I wish I had known him, and I often wonder if I ever crossed paths with him at the Green Pond Grocery or the Little Caesar’s Pizza “Hut.” Brian tells this story in intricate detail and with perfect timing, much like the work of the horologist himself. If you’re reading this, Brian, well done. Thank you for getting to know John so well and sharing his story. Like him, you are an expert with your craft. Listening to *S-Town* is certainly a worthwhile way to spend one’s time (and I hope John would agree).
  • Nutmeg creations
    Wow
    The twists, the turns, the story, the people. You have to listen.
  • 4sock
    S town
    Absolutely fascinating. Kept me on my toes the whole story
  • badapplerose
    A mentor sent me this podcast.
    Hands down one of the best podcasts out there!
  • S-Town Lover
    Second Listen
    I listened to this podcast a couple of years ago and have always said it’s my fav! I’ve decided to listen to it again. Love S-Town 🤩
  • GigiAunt
    SO GOOD!
    This is easily one of the most fascinating, most well-put-together podcasts I’ve ever listened to. Listen to it…you won’t regret it!
  • llynuxx
    Just perfect
    Absolutely amazing, more than worth my time. Thank you for putting this gem out into the world.
  • parul jones
    This was so unethical
    This reporter dissected and revealed the life of a non-public figure without his permission. He took advantage of this man’s death to share his most personal stories, including his sexual orientation. I feel dirty for even listening.
  • Ink1848
    Excellent!
    I'm obsessed! What a fantastic podcast. I just can't stop listening because I want to find out what happens. I heard this podcast mentioned on Morbid and I'm so glad I checked it out!
  • V21!
    Hmmm
    Not sure what to think. Brian does a great job and is easy to listen to. To me it seems as if John was a bored, depressed outcast that seemed somewhat jealous of other people in the community. I feel like he misheard info and spread it like wildfire to others, then having the podcast about his life to show his life had the meaning he wish it had?
  • staystrange3320
    Wow
    This podcast is amazing. I heard it mentioned on Morbid and just had to come listen. I couldn’t stop once I started. John B was such an interesting person. Thank you for sharing your experience of getting to know him with us. This story really tugged on my heart.
  • overit123446
    Wow
    Amazing. This was amazing to listen to. Thank you. RIP 🖤
  • ANCAP127
    Wow
    I was hooked from the first 10 minutes of episode 1. Amazing.
  • Brook R. D.
    Great Podcast
    I wish I could have known John B. And gotten to talk to him and know him like you did. He seems like a very interesting person to have known. Rest In Peace. I really enjoyed listening and the podcast was put together so well. Great job!
  • Mrchickeneater
    No other podcasts compare
    Read above
  • Autumn Flew
    Exhuming Macklemore
    The first time I listened I enjoyed it . Then I took audio narrative classes and WOW. The fact that this went past his tragic end was blatant disregard for the dead-to have all his dirty laundry aired- things that the first episodes show John would never allow. The end result was a complete loss of my respect for the interviewer and the media company (big names big money and lost sense of consciousness) He never gave consent!!! That's filthy and unjustified. He was not here to defend himself. And to the fact its being made into a movie is just another adds a whole new level to the exploitation greed mentality.
  • stinkfister1
    Masterpiece.
    Like so many others in the reviews here, S*Town was the first sort of podcast series I listened to and I wish it weren’t because nothing else measures up. The storytelling, production, atmosphere and of course the rants and musings of John B. McLemore - all add up to make these seven episodes something I come back to time and again. Don’t know if you could come close to this if you tried. This was lightning in a bottle, off the whim of a person sending an email and NPR deciding it was worth enough time for Brian Reed to go check it out. The end result was nothing relative to the reasons for Reed going to S*town, meaning I and many others just have to except that serialized podcasts have been ruined for us.
  • madeline ted
    You should be ashamed of yourselves.
    This podcast picks at the life and secrets of a deceased person like a vulture. And for what? In service of good storytelling? Eh. To tell some deep truth about people? I don’t think so. I was suspicious when Brian started to get into the family disagreements around John B’s possessions; this is a normal thing that happens when people die and it’s not his business? But later on Brian Reed even discloses information about John B. that he said *was off the record*- and Brian justifies it incredibly weakly. I stopped listening out of respect for the dead. I’m horrified and disgusted by this cheap podcast. Truly. Brian exhumed a dead person’s past with no respect, class, restraint, or ethics. I would not wish this fate on my worst enemy. I can’t believe this was allowed to be made. Truly.
  • TamTamawsnap
    Still my favorite podcast!
    I just finished the series for the third time. Originally introduced to it by my sister two years ago I’ve yet to find a story that tops it! An amazing story that sticks w/ you. This coming from a person who splits their time between Los Angeles & rural Alabama. So much of the story is typical life in a poor Alabama county but the big draw is the big personality of John B and secondarily Brian for telling the story as a New Yorker refraining from judgement. The only thing I’m left wanting for is more of the story which cannot go on for obvious reasons once you hear it. Love, love, love and will be very fortunate if I ever find another story that holds a candle to this one!
  • Ktwater
    Great story and storyteller
    The story takes twists and turns. I am fascinated by the local accents and lingo. Storyteller stays kind and a true listener throughout, give it a whirl!
  • stinaquentin
    The best
    This is the first podcast I ever listened to and I kind of wish it wasn’t... because nothing else has really measures up, to be honest. There are other good ones sure, but Serial is the best.
  • DuKing80
    Should’ve been titled the Clockmaker.
    Other then the title, just, WOW! This is a complex story about an extremely complex genius/depressed/possibly crazy man. But it’s so much more than that. It has death, scandal, a bitter feud, a treasure hunt, all great elements for a great story. The best part, for me personally though, was learning about the complex relationships he had with so many people. Other then my belief it should have been titled the Clockmaker, everything about this story was fascinating and I was addicted, finishing it in one afternoon. If you’re looking for a podcast to listen to, I highly recommend this one. Easily five stars.
  • fugitabouit
    John
    OMG! Totally hooked! I really cried. Stayed up till late listening to all of it.
  • Your old high school teacher
    If you liked “Tiger King”….
    If you liked “Tiger King” you’ll probably like this. It doesn’t have the nefarious doings that “Tiger King” had, but pretty much the same atmosphere. And like TK, I binged it.
  • sno611
    The best
    I am hooked! I need another one like this ASAP. The live documentary is amazing
  • Dr. S.S.
    Horrible
    Basically the reporter got tricked into investigating a murder that never happened. So he decided to do a biopic on a man with Mercury poisoning. Of all the mentions of time through the story, just know, mine was wasted the most.
  • Duncanomics
    A plus
    This is one of the best podcasts I have listened to. The story is fascinating and the narrator style is flawless.
  • RAGEQUITLIKEABOSS
    More exploitive than intriguing
    This podcast is more exploitive than intriguing. I lived in a neighboring town during the time before & during the podcast. Now I’m a West Coast city person, and still get the same icky feeling when I try to re-listen, that feeling of someone with little cultural context coming n to aw-shucks the people. As a concept, it’s tack. As a practice, it exploits people and landscapes.
  • tomi2much
    One of a kind
    This was one of the most intriguing, spellbinding, wonderful, sad stories I’ve ever heard! The man was such a complicated genius, then I guess they usually are, he touched the lives of so many in different ways and probably really never knew. I’ll probably listen to it again!
  • gtzme
    WOW
    Absolutely wonderful listen! I love how the focus didn’t just die but instead was put on John and all of his regular irregularities.
  • veryfewpodcasts
    Brian Reed
    I returned to this story by Brian Reed and was amazed to find I’d overlooked the final ep and realized this might be worth re-reading. Reed now seemed the most interesting character. His whole vibe now overtook the original story. I’d read anything by him now. It’d be so detailed, so curious, and yikes, so original. Remember we were recovering the end of Serial. I realized, this was so much more than podcast recovery. I today, was more curious than I was then evidently. He was so dogged and non-judgemental at every step. This may well be the best told, most intellectually satisfying podcast I’ll ever be graced to have learned. I’m so glad I easily returned today, all day.
  • @hambaptist
    An Unexpected Favorite
    I stumbled upon this podcast while looking for my next true crime fix. It was not exactly what I had anticipated, although it did have elements of investigative journalism and crime. The true stars of this podcast were the strange but fascinating people of S-Town, namely John B. McLemore. The interviews and storyline were a bizarre mix of dark and hilarious that will be appreciated by anyone with an affinity for the clever, complex, and f-ed up. It quickly became one of my favorite podcasts. Even three years later, it remains in my top 5 podcasts of all time. It’s not a podcast you will soon forget.
  • lovedbyamp
    Excellent
    Just finished the podcast it was excellent and very thoughtful. I feel so bad for John B. But it was a great story very interesting. Really shows there’s always two sides to every story pertaining to the cousins and Tyler or the racists & anyone they hate they said black people are on welfare and the men are in jail but Tyler lived all the stereotypes they hated about black people, multiple kids with multiple women, went to jail, stole, his dad wasn’t around. If anything this podcast can teach us is never judge a book by its cover John B. was fascinating, sad, intriguing and this podcast left me wanting more. Well done.
  • bekahbekah
    *contains spoilers*
    Just happened upon this when looking for new podcasts. I was originally looking for a true crime story, and his ended up being a wonderful surprise. I am so sorry for the loss of John B. Thank you for sharing this with us.
  • jopjen
    Brilliant
    This might be the most unexpectedly best podcast I will ever listen to. Thank you!
  • Anya1234*
    Hmmmm
    The story definitely took a turn from where I expected it to go, but to me if felt like they were grasping for something that just wasn’t there, like they were trying to make more of John’s life than it was. To me it seemed to drag on.
  • Binghuff
    Amazing Story
    I love the story on so many levels! So sad that John B is gone.
  • alicia3321
    I fell in love with John.
    Not in a romantic way, but he warmed my heart. He wasn’t any typical Christian but there’s good and bad people everywhere, regardless of your faith. He had a servant’s heart, and whether or not he believed in Christ, Jesus always loved people where they were at, muddy and all... not some future better version. I’m going to look him up now on Google Earth. Great story. I❤️TAL.
  • josh mcdaddy
    Best podcast ever
    This story is simply captivating. Starts off good, has a great middle, and blows you away at the end. You’ll be unable to turn it off until it has completed. Made me late to work more than once.
  • jen_n_memphis
    Fascinating and tragic
    In from a small southern town in Mississippi. I have known men like John and Tyler. my father was one of those men that could’ve built a labyrinth if you wanted to. This is a great story. A Southern story. A real story about the Mundane of life but the magic of life. John was too big for that town but he was also just right for it. Wonderful narration
  • AugBrad
    The best
    I wish I could go back and listen to this for the first time.
  • Lindsey-Droopy
    Blew my thoughts
    This started out as something I was probably not going to be interested in, but then turned very quickly. I couldn’t stop listening. This really puts in perspective that even the most highly intelligent people can’t seem to overcome their own vices. Puts a real perspective of mental health as well. Hats of to you Brian! You did an outstanding job on this and the time you spent on it. I felt as if John B was my friend and my soul ached for you having to capture this story and to loose John B at the same time.
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