Global Tennessee Podcast – Ep 9 – Legendary Photog Ron Modra | The Sweet Lizzy Project

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Episode 9

Roundtable: Nashville’s Ron Modra on a spectacular photography career and capturing the world with his camera.

Conversaion: Meet Lisset Diaz, lead vocalist of the Sweet Lizzy Project, an indie rock band from Havana that hasn’t lost its roots.

Subscribe on iTunes or Listen to this episode at the link below.


Today we bring you two dimensions of global affairs awareness that surround us everyday — the worlds of travel photography and music.

  • Global Tennessee brings you a special Podcast featuring renowned photographer Ronald Modra, 25 years with “Sports Illustrated” and a whopping 70 “SI” covers!
  • In our second segment we talk with Lisset Diaz, lead singer of the Sweet Lizzy Project, a band with its roots in Havana, Cuba that is now working hard to make it big in Music City in the process making some great sounds.


  • Executive Producer: Patrick Ryan
  • Senior Producer: Logan Monday
  • Technical Advisor: Bill Ryan
  • Voice of Global Tennessee: Ben Olson

Ron Modra (R) and Ronnie Dunn (L) share a love of photography.


Mention any legendary athlete from the last four decades and there’s a likelihood that she or he has been at the other end of Ron Modra’s camera lens. Mickey Mantle, Muhammad Ali, Pete Rose, Brett Favre, Nolan Ryan, Martina Navratilova, Lawrence Taylor, Tom Brady, Cal Ripken, Joe Montana. World Series, Olympic Games. Portraits, action shots, coffee table books. Well you get it. Ron’s 25 years with SI put him front row with the world’s best. Then there’s his love of the Blues and his portraits of some of America’s finest musicians.

But there’s more.

Travel photography. We loved talking with Ron about the best of the best professional athletes and his great stories – like winding up in Gordie Howe’s home for Thanksgiving dinner – but our lane in the road is Ron’s international travel photography. Galapagos, Argentina, Cuba, China, Italy, Scotland, and many more. Special images of people and places – bringing the world to you in the magic of still photography.

Join us in our conversation with photographer Ronald Modra, one of the people who make Nashville a special place, as we learn about capturing the world with a camera.

Also learn about how you can join Ron and his colleague, Don Smith, on an upcoming photo excursion. “Fall in the Scottish Highland” next October can be your chance to experience the mystical landscapes and villages of the Isle of Skye, Isles of Harris and Lewis and the Glencoe area. Check Don Smith’s web site for details on this fabulous opportunity.


“Turn up the radio.” Indeed. In our conversation with Cuban native Lisset Diaz (aka Lizzy of the Sweet Lizzy Project) we learned the value of being in the right places at the right times. If making great music is only part of the formula for success in a tough business Sweet Lizzy Project is well on their way. Mix in their good fortune of being profiled in a PBS documentary “Havana Time Machine” along with the “Mavericks” from Nashville and lead singer Raul Malo. That connection led to an invitation to Nashville, an opportunity that was almost lost to Washington’s change in visa policy under the current White House. Fortunately Sweet Lizzy Project had performed for American diplomats in Cuba and managed to get their paperwork through just under the wire.

Listen to this Global Tennessee Podcast to hear the rest of Lisset’s and the band’s story of making great music in Nashville, inside a Tennessee mountain cavern and in their travels around America – “a distinctive sound imbued with overtones of classic American indie pop-rock suffused with an intoxicating Latino flair.” We have several of Sweet Lizzy Project’s songs in our Podcast for your enjoyment.

The Sweet Lizzy Project – official web site

The Sweet Lizzy Project perform in “Bluegrass Underground” inside the Caverns of the Cumberland Mountains

“Havana Time Machine” (Paywall for NPT members)

“Raul Malo explores music, Cuban heritage in ‘Havana Time Machine’”

A sample of Ronald Modra’s photography, courtesy of Ronald Modra. How many of these stars do you recognize?


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