Thacker News – Radio show roars into spring, “made to explode!”


The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour kicks off its spring 2021 series of shows this week with a virtual visit to the Oxford Conference For The Book and a reading by poet Sandra Beasley.

Beasley (top photo) will read from her new collection of poems set in the Washington, D.C. area, Made to Explode: Poems. Memphis jazz combo The City Champs and Austin, TX rockers, Parker Woodland are the musical guests. The show is hosted by Jim Dees and Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers with Ricky Burkhead on drums, Slade Lewis on bass, Mark Yacovone on keyboards and Paul Tate on guitar and vocals.

Subsequent shows throughout March and April will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning author Viet Thanh Nguyen (second top photo), acclaimed Mississippi author Kiese Laymon (bottom photo), Grammy-winning author Dr. William Ferris and Memphis soul legend, Don Bryant (second from bottom photo).

The show can be heard Thursdays through Saturdays online and on air on Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee public radio stations. Air times here.

The 2021 spring season wraps on April 18. For the remainder of the spring and into the summer, the show will rebroadcast recent shows of note including interviews with nationally bestselling authors including former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Ace Atkins, Michael Farris Smith and Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Musical guests will include Luther Dickinson, blues veteran Bobby Rush, the legendary Suzi Quatro and a sweet – but rockin’ – remembrance with the late Reverend John Wilkins.

The long-running Oxford-based broadcast opens its fall season in early September. With the status of Covid vaccinations ongoing and the fall premiere date still months away, the show is cautiously weighing its return to weekly audiences at its broadcast home, Off Square Books on the Oxford square.

For the past pandemic year, the show has broadcast in-studio programs put together at Taproot Audio Design, a local audio production studio owned by longtime Thacker sound engineer, Jeffrey Reed. Recorded musical performances and phone interviews with authors are edited together each week. The shows’ house band and host Jim Dees also contribute virtually.

“Of course, we miss our audiences,” says Thacker producer Alice Pierotti. “We’ll follow science and safety and make our decisions as events develop. We’d love to get on the road this summer and see our out-of-town friends as well as have audience-attended shows this fall in Oxford. Like everybody, we’ll see.”

In the meantime, Thacker Mountain Radio Hour is excited about this upcoming batch of new shows as spring warms up and the pandemic shows signs of (possibly?) loosening its grip.

As host Dees says, “Radio may be your safest entertainment. No mask required for your ears.”

Stay safe, everybody! Stay tuned and we hope to see you soon!

Featured photo: Daria & The Hip Drops