Robert Andersson's Awful Grace reminds us of something that seems overlooked in the growing podcast mania. That the medium is a launchpad for fresh, thought-provoking, beautiful, outrageous, often unique artistic expression that otherwise would never see the light of day or tickle an auditory nerve.
Not even a year old, Awful Grace, like Love + Radio and Here Be Monsters, is just too potent a home brew to be served up in the narrow confines of public radio as we know it. But when you want to curl up with a good podcast, add this one to your list — even if it doesn't lead to a peaceful night's sleep.
Why Awful Grace even exists is an amazing story in itself. For producer Andersson, it's not just personal expression, it's a kind of therapy — a continuation of when he was in college and searching for something to hold on to.
The Awful Grace story is also about the journey of a guy with a masters in journalism and love of This American Life who caught the podcasting wave just as it was breaking. It serves as a case history of a one-man producer/interviewer/musician/graphic artist/writer/webmaster team as he defines and shapes his work in progress.
And when he's not crafting a new Awful Grace episode, the 32-year old Andersson is a paid intern at Chicago's WBEZ, happy to do everything but a Starbucks run while soaking up all he can about the medium. Except for his occasional dip into the gig economy, it's an all-in obsession with artful sonic storytelling.