MADELEINE BRAND, host: Let's check in now with NPR's David Greene. He's reporting this week and next from the road. He's travelling between Barack Obama's hometown Chicago and John McCain's hometown of Phoenix, where he'll end up. And along the way he's asking Americans who they look up to, who they rely on for leadership. We are calling his series Take Me To Your Leader. Hi, David.

DAVID GREENE: Hey there, Madeleine.

BRAND: Well, yesterday we talked about where you were going to sleep last night, that you really didn't have a fixed destination. Where did you end up?

GREENE: Very true. We ended up, actually, in Springfield, Missouri. We decided to come here, we're going to try and find a spot to watch Barack Obama's big speech, with you know a group of people, you know far from the con hall, but who might be keeping an eye of things.

BRAND: Well, who have you been talking with?

GREENE: I think I told you yesterday, we were spending some time in the Ozarks, in Mountain View, Arkansas, this little town, we spent a couple of days. It's all about the music. And people talking about leadership, they say what's really important is the people in the community who help preserve the music and pass it down, you know the folk music and other kinds of music, from generation to generation. And I want to play a little bit of tape from Scott Blake(ph), who was part of a jam session we found one night, and his son who's eight-years-old, Samuel Blake, who's already playing the guitar and has been playing it for a while.

Mr. SAMUEL BLAKE (Son of Musician, Arkansas): My guitar was in my baby bed before I was even born.

Mr. SCOTT BLAKE (Musician, Arkansas): That's true. He was less that a month old. He was in the baby bed in our bedroom, and I sat down and I started playing, and his little wobbling head just raised up and looked over there at me and he listens to music now. He also listens to the Beatles.

Mr. SAMUEL BLAKE: Paul McCartney, baby!

Mr. SCOTT BLAKE: Oh boy.

MAN: We don't know how...

BRAND: Paul McCartney, baby! I love that. So did you hear him play?

GREENE: A little bit. You know he was playing a bit, and also his father sang a tune and was playing as well.

BRAND: OK, let's hear a little bit.

Mr. SCOTT BLAKE: (Singing): If the Yankees don't kill me and cause me harm, I am a rebel soul and...

BRAND: That's Scott Blake, a man that you met in Arkansas. And I'm wondering on your trip if you're hearing any kind of consistent answer at all, when you ask people about who they look up to for leadership?

GREENE: You know, I'd say a lot of people looking inward, talking about family, their spouses or mothers or fathers, people in their community. And I don't know if it's because, you know these are some tough economic times in parts of the country we've been in, or if that's just the way people feel about politics right now. The one exception was probably Chicago, you know, people were very excited about Barack Obama and looking forward to the con. But elsewhere we've kind of come into the middle of the country, a lot of people talking about self-reliance and figuring out ways to survive and cope with some of their life challenges on their own.

BRAND: OK, well thanks, David.

GREENE: thank you Madeleine. We'll talk to you again tomorrow. NPR's David Greene, he's on the road for his series Take Me To Your Leader. If you want to write to David and suggest some stops he might make on the road to Phoenix, he'll get there next week, you can email him at meetyourleaders@npr.org, that's all one word, meetyourleaders@npr.org.

BRAND: Day to Day is a production of NPR News, with contributions from slate.com. I'm Madeleine Brand.

CHADWICK: And I'm Alex Chadwick.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.