All Crime No Cattle: A Review

All Crime No Cattle is a “conversational true crime podcast hosted by Texas natives Erin and Shea.”  New episodes drop every Wednesday. Crime is bigger in Texas, y’all.

Ain’t that the truth? I’ve really enjoyed watching the evolution of this podcast. I met Shea and Erin through a MFM fan group. They were launching their podcast just as I was launching my blog. I only review podcasts that I really like, but I knew after episode 3 that this podcast was going to be a winner.

The banter works great because they are a real life couple and you just can’t fake the chemistry of two people who live together. Their style is Texas with just the right amount of twang. I don’t notice any accent at all to their voices, which naturally means they sound authentically Texan. For a new podcast, I haven’t noticed the technical struggles I hear with many start ups.

This podcast is in the same realm as My Favorite Murder, but a little more serious than say, It’s About Damn Crime Crime or Wine and Crime. It’s less serious than Casefile or Murderous Minors. I especially love the fact that I am learning about cases I don’t know well, or even at all. I’m pretty steeped in Texas crime, but I had never heard about the lynching of Allen Brooks in episode 3. If you are looking for a place to start, that’s an excellent episode to try out.  I also enjoyed the recent Matamoras episode. I was a college student during the 80s Satanic Panic and the name “Matamoras” has long conjured images of murder and ritual but I’d never really heard the story.

I reached out to Shea and Erin for a brief interview.

1. First, tell me a bit about how you became interested in true crime. I love to hear about the genesis of a murderino.

E: I’ve been interested in true crime since I was a little kid watching Unsolved Mysteries and Dateline with my mom. In high school I admittedly became a little obsessed, reading any book I could get my hands on about serial killers or forensics. It became such a deep interest that in my first year of college I majored in psychology with the intent on becoming a criminal profiler for the FBI! I ended up going into anthropology but I never lost my true crime roots.

S: I’ve always had a casual interest in true crime, but I was a little overwhelmed at first after meeting Erin and realizing her deep fascination with the genre. Although I didn’t quite understand at first, her love of true crime rubbed off on me, especially after binging and discussing podcasts and tv shows like Serial, Making a Murderer, and Forensic Files. It fascinated me how much more there was to know and talk about.

2. When did you decided to start your own podcast? How did you go about making the idea a reality?

E: When we first really started listening to true crime podcasts we jokingly threw around the idea of making our own, as I think a lot of listeners do. After months of talking about it we started getting more serious about the idea, but it always seemed like a far-fetched goal. For me, the technical aspect of recording and figuring out the equipment that we needed was daunting so I assumed that our own podcast was just wishful thinking. But Shea really spent time learning and researching all about the behind-the-scenes aspects of podcasting and one day announced to me he had picked out all of our equipment and we were ready to go! That made everything a stark reality, and it was a bit scary. Yet everything else fell into place surprisingly easily.

S: I think we had been throwing the idea around for about a year. I kept going back to the idea of doing something creative with Erin that we were both passionate about and would bring out each of our talents. A podcast seemed like a natural fit. For months I did research on equipment, podcast hosting sites, and the do’s and don’ts of podcasting. I have previous experience as an audio technician and a musician and that knowledge really helped on the recording side of things. I knew Erin was an amazing writer and researcher and I could handle the technical end, but the clincher was we are best friends in real life who love talking about true crime. That’s what really made me believe we could make it work.

3. What do you think has been the biggest challenge? What’s your favorite part of podcasting?

E: We knew we wanted to do a conversational-style podcast with a bit of banter. We also knew that it would be intrinsically more difficult to cover serious cases while still maintaining any sort of witty repartee. That balance between covering these soul-crushing, devastating cases while still throwing a few jokes around has been delicate but I think we’re getting better with each episode. We also wanted to make a concentrated effort to present cases about people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other minorities, but the clear difference in media coverage and attention these types of cases have in our culture make many of these hard to research. Still, we’re continually trying our best to present diverse stories. My favorite part of our podcasting is the weeks where Shea presents the case he’s been working on so I get to lay back and listen to a story I don’t know much, or anything, about! It’s like being a part of the audience and it’s been a fun experience.

S: For me, it’s the editing. Since our podcast is about an hour long per episode, we have to edit out a lot of breaths, word fumbles, and other stupid mouth sounds. I also have to complete several steps to process the audio to make it sound as good as I can. It has turned into a second job, but one that I actually enjoy. What I have found to be the most helpful is designing a post-recording workflow to help with the consistency of the audio quality as well as save time. My favorite part of the podcasting experience is when we delve into interesting discussions which bring out details about a case that neither of us individually had considered. It’s neat to hear that kind of discussion happen organically with a case you’ve worked so hard to research.

4. Describe your creative process. How do you choose your subject and how do you divide up the work?

E: We each decide independently what cases we are going to cover. We try to find cases in a different part of Texas or a different time period in order to represent our state and our history as holistically as possible. We also have to make sure any subject we choose has enough information on the crime, investigation, prosecution, or other details in order to fill the hour time limit we have.

S: Like we say in the intro episode, it’s a weekly podcast where one of us is telling the other about a specific true crime case. We work pretty much independently from each other as far as the research and writing goes. This helps to get genuine reactions and conversations about the cases we cover. It also gives us each about a two week research period per episode. Additionally, we have the Lone Star Lunatic series episodes, which are much bigger or complicated cases involving serial killers or other major crimes. We research, write, and present those cases working together throughout the process because generally they are too much for one person to handle alone.

5. How have you found the podcast community? They seem like a pretty supportive group. Have you had people who helped?

E: The true crime podcast community has been so wonderfully supportive! We have made so many friends just on Twitter and Facebook with independent podcasters just like ourselves who are doing great work. I consider the community an awesome bonus to this entire experience.

S: We have had a great experience with the podcast community so far. Several podcasts larger than us promoted our show since the beginning, which has really helped our audience to steadily grow. We are always happy to do promotional support for other podcasts that we believe in.

6. What is your favorite episode so far and why?

E: My favorite episode so far was episode 3, the Lynching of Allen Brooks. The history and social issues at the turn of the 20th century were incredibly interesting to research in order to give context to the case. It is still so fascinating to me that a mass spectacle lynching in downtown Dallas has nearly been forgotten and I hope that we did a small part in helping tell Allen Brooks’ story.

S: My favorite episodes have been parts one and two of Robert Ben Rhoades, the
Truck Stop Killer. There are not many resources out there, if any, that fully tell the story of this serial killer from beginning to end. I’m so proud of the work we did in compiling this massive amount of information from multiple sources together into a cohesive story.

7. Tell me a little more about yourselves away from podcasting.

E: I love arts and crafts, board games, video games, and bad movies. We are really big nerds at heart. I have a master’s degree in anthropology and I focused on zooarcheology and bioarchaeology (the study of animal and human bones in archaeological contexts). Because of my studies I have a strong interest in bones and a passion for osteology. I actually collect and process animal bones that I find while out hiking to add to a comparative collection I’ve been amassing over the past couple of years. I know that might be a major red flag to those of us in the true crime community, but my love stems from a purely academic interest in bones and the information you can glean from them about an individual’s life. It’s actually pretty helpful in studying true crime since I know a decent amount about pathology, trauma, and the identification of human remains. We also have amazingly supportive friends and family and the two best dogs in the world.

S: I love being outdoors. You’ll often find me fishing, camping, or playing disc golf. We both are members of the archaeology societies in our county and state and we try to make it to as many archaeological field schools as we can every summer. If you follow us at all on social media it’s probably not surprising that our lives also revolve around our dogs, Nelson and Brienne.

I appreciate Shea and Erin’s empathy for victims and sensitivity in not sensationalizing cases.  They don’t doctor the stories up with dramatic music. The best banter style podcasts are the ones that make you feel as if you’re sitting in a room listening to your friends chat and that’s exactly how All Crime No Cattle makes me feel. So if you like your crime with a Texas flair, this is a great podcast for you to try.

Cowtown Crime Verdict: A Rising Texas Star

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