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S-Town review: More than a basket of deplorables

A new podcast takes a nuanced look at real life in small-town America

By Lucinda Smyth  

S-Town’s host and producer Brian Reed ©Sandy Honig

“I am 49 years old,” a thick Southern accent drawls through the phone. “I shoulda got out of this goddamn f***in’ shit-town in my twenties. I shoulda done something useful with my life.”

The voice belongs to John B McLemore: a polymathic clock-maker who—like his mother and grandfather before him—has lived in Woodstock, Alabama all his life. He is also its fiercest critic. In 2012, McLemore sent an email to journalist Brian Reed, captioned “John B McLemore lives in Shit town…

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