Thacker News – Spring season kicks off Thursday with big band, fiction award winner

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour returns to live performances on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 6:00 pm at the Powerhouse Arts Center in Oxford, MS. The season premiere will feature author De’Shawn Charles Winslow, winner of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, plus songwriters Rod Smoth and Amara Nicole.

Admission is free and the public is invited. Doors are 5:30 pm; show at 6:00 pm.

The show is hosted by Jim Dees and the season opener will feature the Yalobushwhacker Big Band with the Thacker Horns and guest vocalist, Mary Frances Massey.

The Powerhouse Community Arts Center is located at 413 S 14th St., Oxford, MS.

All Thursday broadcasts can be heard in Oxford on air at WUMS, 92.1 FM or online: WUMS 92.1 FM

Fridays: 6 am (CT) WYXR 91.7 FM Memphis, TN

Saturdays: 3 pm (ET) WUTC 88.1 FM Chattanooga, TN

7 pm (CT) on Mississippi Public Broadcasting 

9 pm (CT) on Alabama Public Radio

Sundays: 3 pm (ET) on WUOT 91.9 FM Knoxville, TN

Paul Tate, bandleader for the Yalobushwhackers, says his group is ready for 2023.

“We’ve got a good band together for the opening show,” he declares. “We’re backing up Amara Nicole too so that will be fun!”

The season opener will also feature a set by Rod Smoth and a reading by De’Shawn Charles Winslow from his murder mystery, Decent People.

Publishers Weekly said the book has “strong characters, impeccable prose, and brisk pacing.”

Hear the NPR interview with Winslow and the great Scott Simon here.

Thacker’s 2023 spring schedule runs every Thursday (except spring break, March 16) through the season finale on April 27.

Other highlights: Possible rooftop show (weather permitting) at the Graduate Hotel (Feb. 23) and the Oxford Film Festival show at The Lyric Oxford with Saturday Night Live screenwriter, David Sheffield (March 2).

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour will perform live on Saturday, March 4 at 3 pm in Cleveland, MS on the campus of Delta State University to celebrate the Duff Dorrough Scholarship Fund.

The Oxford Conference For The Book show with drummer-turned-author Nic Brown and songwriter Charlie Parr at the Lyric is set for March 30.

Other dates of note include author Jeannette Walls (April 6); Cold Mountain author, Charles Frazier, with his new novel, The Trackers (April 13); and the season finale on Thursday, April 27 at the Lyric with Mississippi gospel groovers, The Staples Jr. Singers. The group recently signed with Talking Heads front man, David Byrne’s Luaka Bop record label.

Tim Lee, Thacker’s production director, looks forward to the show’s eclectic musical line-up, including the Staples Jr. Singers.

“The Staples Jr. Singers are coming off a European tour,” he notes. “They’ve got this crazy late-life-career going and they haven’t toured since they were teenagers in Aberdeen, MS forty years ago.”

“I’m also excited about LaDonna Smith on the show at the Graduate,” Lee continues. “She’s an improvisational violinist. We have good ole Webb Wilder (pictured above in full Webb mode) on April 20 and New Orleans rapper Alfred Banks will join the Staples Jr. Singers on the April 27 show. That will be a cool way to kick off Double Decker weekend.”

Thacker executive director Katelyn O’Brien is excited for the new season and notes the show has a new affiliate, WUOT 91.9 FM in Knoxville, TN.

“We have more listeners than ever, an exciting season planned and some surprises too,” she hints. “We look forward to seeing everybody!”

Frequent updates to the 2023 spring and summer schedule will be posted on the Thacker website.