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Published on October 12th, 2017 | by Intern Intern

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Thacker Mountain Radio Hour 20th Anniversary

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour celebrates its 20th year on the air, Thursday, October 19 at 6 pm at The Lyric Oxford (1006 Van Buren Ave, Oxford, MS 38655). Admission is free and the public is invited. Doors open at 5:15 pm. Guests will include long haul trucker-turned-author, Finn Murphy, Oxford native musician, Jimbo Mathus, north Mississippi hill country blues guitarist, Kenny Brown and country/soul singer-songwriter, Bonnie Bishop.

The show will be hosted by Jim Dees and house band, The Yalobushwhackers, with a special appearance by the show’s original house band, The Sincere Ramblers: Caroline Herring, Bryan Ledford, Wendell Haag and David Woolworth.

The program will expand to 90 minutes for this anniversary show, 6-7:30 pm. The live broadcast can be heard locally on WUMS 92.1 FM and online at http://myrebelradio.com. The anniversary show will be broadcast on Mississippi Public Broadcasting at 7 pm on Saturday, October 28.

An after party will kick off following the Lyric performance at Off Square Books (129 Courthouse Square) at 7:30 pm. The party is free to current Thacker members; new members may join at the door.

As host of the show since 2000, Dees says he’s grateful to the audience for keeping the show alive for two decades. “Obviously we’ve had a great crew, producers and musicians for 20 years. But if nobody’s listening or coming out to be in the audience, there’s no show. I thank the people of Oxford and our statewide audience.”

Thacker Mountain Radio began in 1997 as the “Words and Music” show at Blind Jim’s, a former Oxford bar (now the Summit). Those early shows featured an author reading and music by a visiting band as well as songs by the house band, a format that continues today. The show now broadcasts some 31 shows a year, 12 in the spring and 12 in the fall as well as 6-7 on the road in various cities across the state.

In 2001, the program went statewide after being picked up for broadcast by Mississippi Public Broadcasting which continues to air the show every Saturday night at 7 pm on radio and online. In 2005, Thacker Mountain Radio received the Governor’s Award for Broadcast Excellence. This year, the show was awarded a “Certificate of Merit” by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters.

In his memoir of driving a truck for three decades, The Long Haul – A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road (Norton), Finn Murphy recounts with wit, candor, and charm the America he has seen change over the decades.

Kenny Brown played with the late bluesman R.L. Burnside for nearly 30 years. In recent years, Brown has forged his own successful career, taking the north Mississippi hill country blues sound all over the world. Each June, Brown plays host to two dozen blues acts at the annual North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic. The veteran musician was recently honored in Hernando by the Hill Country Blues Hall of Fame with the unveiling of his sculpted hands playing a guitar by noted Como sculptor Sharon McConnell-Dickerson.

Jimbo Mathus has been on the road this year, delighting national audiences as front man for The Squirrel Nut Zippers. His albums include, Band of Storms (Big Legal Mess) Blue Healer, Dark Night of the Soul and Confederate Buddha.

Country/soul singer Bonnie Bishop’s latest CD is, Ain’t Who I Was (Thirty Tigers), produced by Dave Cobb (Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbel). Bishop’s song (co-written with Al Anderson), “Not Cause I Wanted To,” appeared on Bonnie Raitt’s 2012 Grammy-winning album, Slipstream. “I am from Texas, but there’s a lot of Mississippi in me,” Bishop says. “I definitely got my soul from hanging with all the black girls in choir when I lived there. That’s how I learned to sing.”

Thacker producer Kate Teague says the 20th anniversary show should be a special night. “We have a great mix. We have artists who’ve never been on the show, like Finn Murphy and Bonnie Bishop, plus old friends like Jimbo, Kenny Brown, and Caroline Herring. We hope folks will come out and pack the Lyric!” The Local Voice Ligature

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