Hi there! This is not actually jim, it’s kathryn
Thacker Mountain Radio helped to kick off this year’s Oxford Film Festival with a special broadcast at the Lyric Theatre on Thursday Feb. 21. Guests included Oscar winner Roger Avary who co-wrote the film, Pulp Fiction. Musical guests included former Oxford residents, Tim and Susan Lee and their band, the Tim Lee 3, plus Memphis indie rockers, Loser’s Way Home.
Roger Avary is a film and television producer, screenwriter and director. He worked on Reservoir Dogs, True Romance and Pulp Fiction, for which he and Quentin Tarantino were awarded the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1994. He also wrote the screenplays of Silent Hill and Beowulf. His directing credits include Killing Zoe and The Rules of Attraction. Avary discussed his career on Thacker and will also participate in a film festival screenwriter’s panel Friday (Feb. 22) at 7:30 at Malco Theatre with moderator, Chris Offutt.
Former Oxford residents, Tim and Susan Lee, have been making music together for nearly 30 years. Since moving to Knoxville, Tenn. in 2000, they have formed a trio, the Tim Lee 3 with Tim on guitar, Susan on bass, and Chris Bratta on drums. The band released Good2b3 in 2008. The band followed that in 2010 with the double CD, Raucous Americanus, two discs of bluesy, and melodic Southern rock ’n’ roll. Their new CD is Devil’s Rope and will be released on Feb. 28. The band is featured in Camilla Aikin’s film documentary, We Didn’t Get Famous, which will be shown Friday (Feb. 22) at 3:15 at Malco during the film festival. Following their Thacker appearance Thursday at the Lyric, the band will perform a full show that night at The Blind Pig.
Indie rock band, Loser’s Way Home, was formed in Cordova, Tenn. by guitarist Randall Downs and songwriter/producer Matt Cureton in 2008. In early 2009, Steven Bowman joined the band adding his fiddle and songwriting. The band now features Rex Gorman on bass guitar/keyboards/vocals and Ryan Veach on drums. Loser’s Way Home’s releases include Can I Let You Just Go? (2009), The Way Things Are (2011) and the three-song EP, Egypt last year. The band is currently working on a full-length concept disc to be released this summer.
More information regarding the Oxford Film Festival is available at http://www.oxfordfilmfest.com/.
Saturday, March 2 at 3 pm – Studio A, Whitfield Building, Delta State University, Cleveland, Miss. “Trials of the Earth” with Sheilah Hamilton Patin; songwriter Kate Campbell, student band, Ol’ Skool Revue and a musical tribute to Duff Dorrough with Fish Michie, the Revelators and others. Free admission. (Air date TBA).
Trials of the Earth was written by Mary Hamilton (1866-1936) in 1931 as recollections of her harsh life in the Mississippi Delta during the latter part of the 19th century. The book has recently been re-issued with a new introduction by Morgan Freeman. Hamilton’s great-granddaughter, Sheilah Hamilton Patin, will discuss her great-grandmother’s incredible life and the publication of this historic book.
A musical tribute will be performed in honor of our late bandleader and friend, Jerry “Duff” Dorrough. Performers will include pianist Jim “Fish” Michie, guitarists Carl Massengale and Jim Ellis, and vocalists Bobby Harris, Tricia Walker and Jan Gibson Smith.
Singer-songwriter Kate Campbell’s latest album is 1000 Pound Machine (Large River Music). The disc includes a guest appearance by Emmylou Harris and was produced by Will Kimbrough. Growing up in Sledge, Mississippi as the daughter of a Baptist preacher, Kate’s formative years were spent during the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960′s. Those experiences are reflected in her songwriting, as well as her love for soul, R&B, country, and folk music.
Ol’ Skool Revue consists of students enrolled in the Delta Music Institute at Delta State. Founded in 2006, the band specializes in blues, funk and soul music and features different students each semester. Under the direction of music industry instructor, Barry Bays, the Revue has performed at numerous festivals and venues including the Chicago Blues Festival. Students in the Revue can earn a B.S. degree in Music Industry Studies.
Thursday, Feb. 28 at 6 pm – Off Square Books with mystery author, Jenny Milchman, indie-rockers The Weeks and rocking soul music with the Bays-Guyer Band. Free admission. Radio: 92.1 FM. Online: www.myrebelradio.com.
Jenny Milchman is a suspense writer for Morristown, New Jersey. Her debut novel, Cover of Snow (Ballantine) was published last month. The book tells the story of Nora Hamilton, who searches to find the truth behind her husband’s mysterious suicide in an insular, frigid mountain town. Milchman teaches writing and publishing at the New York Writers Workship. Last year she founded “Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day,” which is now celebrated nationwide.
The Weeks are an indie-rock band from Jackson, Miss. who have toured with such bands as the North Mississippi Allstars and the Meat Puppets. Their CDs include Comeback Cadillac, Rumspringa, and their most recent, Gutter Gaunt Gangster which was recorded in Water Valley. Following their Thacker performance on Thursday, the band will play a full show at Proud Larry’s.
The Bays Guyer Band draws on their shared love of early rock and roll, R&B and soul. Their influences include, Dan Penn, Wilson Pickett, Little Walter, Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. For their Thacker appearance, the band will perform an all-original set. Audiences may be familiar with Bud Bays and Kevin Guyer from their other fine local bands, including the Mississippi Cadillac Blues Band and the Okratones.
Recently on Thacker Mountain Radio
Thacker Mountain Radio celebrated Valentine’s Day Thursday, Feb. 14 at Off Square Books with a reading from Ben Schrank, author of Love is a Canoe, along with hillbilly music from New Orleans and some good ole Mississippi blues.
Author Ben Schrank’s newest novel, Love Is a Canoe, (Sarah Crichton Books) deftly explores the ups and downs of relationships while also taking hilarious potshots at the publishing industry. It is a “smart, funny, romantic, and hugely satisfying novel about the fragility of marriage and the difficulty of repairing the damage.” Schrank previous novels include Consent and Miracle Man. In the 1990s, he wrote “Ben’s Life,” a monthly column for Seventeen magazine. He is currently publisher of Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers. Schrank grew up in Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife and son.
Bill Abel was born and raised in Belzoni, Mississippi and has trained with the area’s renowned bluesmen such as Honey Boy Edwards, Henry Townsend and Big George Brock. When not backing those greats, Abel often performs solo playing drums with his foot pedals while playing slide guitar. In 2009, he released a CD of such performances, One Man Band, which one reviewer said, “Pulsates with a cigar-box guitar boogie.” In addition to recording and performing, Abel also is an instructor at the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale where he passes on to a new generation the licks and wisdom he has received from the masters.
Michael Hurtt and his Haunted Hearts draw from a once rich New Orleans hillbilly music heritage that has been obscured by the city’s more well-known R&B traditions. The Hearts recall swamp-rock pioneers such as, Lonesome Rhodes, Jay Chevalier, Jody Leavins, Link Davis, and Bayou Lafourche. Their rock-a-bayou hillbilly style is “a Southern Gothic collision of the rural and the urban; an electrified string sound with a Cajun back beat.” Their latest release is the single, Hamtramck Baby. The band features Oxford guitarist, J.D. Mark.
Chet Bush is an Oxford pastor/author whose latest book is, Called to the Fire: A Witness for God in Mississippi;The Story of Dr. Charles Johnson (Abingdon Press). His book tells the true story of Dr. Charles Johnson, an African American preacher who came to Mississippi in 1961 during the summer of the Freedom Rides. He found himself unwittingly thrust into the heart of a national tragedy, the murder of three Civil Rights activists. As a key African American witness to take the stand in the trial famously known as “Mississippi Burning,” Charles Johnson played a key role for the U.S. Justice Department, offering clarity to the event that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The reader will be riveted with the book’s climax which details the shocking encounter between Charles and one of the murderers. Chet Bush lives in Oxford with his wife Allie and their two children. He is pastor of the Oxford Nazarene Church.
Aimee Bobruk is a songwriter originally from Huntsville, Texas and now based in Austin. Her latest CD is /ba.‘brook/, a phonetic rendition of her last name. Bobruk cut her teeth in Austin’s punk scene before pursuing a left-of-center folk sound as a solo artist. In 2010, she was voted one of the “Top Ten Bands in Austin” by Austin Monthly. Her new CD features Bobruk on guitar with just bass and drums. One reviewer described the album’s sound as, “laced with achingly gorgeous guitar tendrils, out-of-the-box percussion and effects, and Bobruk’s avant-pop compositions, which linger in the aural palate in the very best way.” Bobruk will appear on Music in the Hall at Southside Gallery at noon Thursday before her Thacker appearance.
Singer/songwriter Amy Andrews was born in Baltimore and raised on the Chesapeake Bay but now lives in Decatur, Georgia. She began as a classical vocalist before turning to folk music. Last fall, Amy appeared at feminist bookstores across North America, performing concerts in support of the work of booksellers and community centers. Her CDs include Amy Andrews, a 5-song EP, and Feminist, a live CD to be released this spring. Readers of the Georgia Voice recently voted Amy a finalist in the musician category in the paper’s annual “Best of Atlanta” awards. Her sound has been described as a marriage of “Alison Krauss purity and Patty Griffin soul.”
You can hear the show locally Thursday on Rebel Radio (92.1 FM). Tune in to Mississippi Public Broadcasting every Saturday night at 7 PM for Thacker Mountain Radio immediately following A Prairie Home Companion, or listen Saturday online: (http://www.etv.state.ms.us/radio/index.html).
Admission is free and the show can be heard on Rebel Radio (92.1 FM) or online: http://myrebelradio.com/
Saturday, January 26, 7 pm
Celebrate Duff Dorrough
On Saturday, Jan. 26, Thacker Mountain Radio celebrated our late great friend, Duff Dorrough, with a special all-Duff show . The hour long broadcast shared musical and humorous moments with our former Thacker bandleader who passed away last October. The show coincides with the release of Duff’s new CD, “If It Ain’t One Thing It’s Another,” which was finished shortly before his death and is now available online or in stores: Off Square Books, The End of All Music (Oxford), Turnrow Books (Greenwood), Morningbell Records (Jackson) and T-Bones (Hattiesburg).
All About the Time
by Jim Dees, Host of Thacker Mountain Radio
On Oct. 3, 2012 when Gerald (Jerry) “Duff” Dorrough passed away at age 60, the Dorrough family lost a father, son, brother and family member, while Mississippi lost its best guitar player. Thacker Mountain Radio lost not only our brother and bandleader, but a large chunk of the wit and soul of the show. Our heavy hearts are now blessed with memories of the mischievous spirit and generous soul of Duff Dorrough…
For the radio show, he was our ace in the hole. No matter the audience or the guest, we knew they’d dig Duff. This was never truer than when Bobby Keys, saxophonist for the Rolling Stones, visited. During his segment Keys regaled our audience with tales from his memoir, then sat down and Duff and the house band cranked it. During one of Duff’s solos in which he made his guitar seem to dance with a drawl, Keys, who has traded riffs with the Stones, Beatles, Clapton, leaned over to me and said, “Man. Wish I’d brought my horn.”
Thacker’s bass player, Slade Lewis, often heard similar comments. “Guest musicians would always ask me, ‘What is he doing? How is he doing that?’ I could only shrug and say, ‘That’s Duff.’ He could illuminate some old song you’ve heard a thousand times in five different ways inside of three minutes. He will always be my favorite guitar player.”
For me, working with Duff on Thacker was a double gift. He and I happened to be long-time friends, having met in the mid-1970s when I caught his then-group, Jesse Earl and the Blue Moons, playing a small club in Greenville, Miss. He was wearing a funky feed store cap, paint-splattered pants and what looked like a pajama shirt. His seen-better-days cowboy boots were held together with duct tape. If clothes make the man, Duff was the sartorial equivalent of Happy Hour. The band played such obscure covers (Goose Creek Symphony?) that I was intrigued. Sensing how utterly approachable he was with his casual country charisma, I sought him out during the break. We chatted and then chortled and have been doing the same ever since, for nearly 40 years.
The Mississippi Delta informed all his sensibilities, but especially rock and roll. In an interview with Miss. Public Broadcasting in 2008 he rhapsodized, “Every time I hear “Hound Dog” or “Don’t Be Cruel,” I’m right back at Pete and Tootsie’s on the corner of 8 and 49. I can almost smell the smell of real potatoes frying.”
Jim “Fish” Michie was one of Duff’s closest lifelong friends and band mates. He played piano throughout the 1980-90s in their heroic R&B band, the Tangents: “We were playing a Willie Morris anniversary party in the old Woolworth’s building in Yazoo City – the hardware store at the end of ‘O Brother Where Art Thou.’ Duff pulls out a chromatic harmonica. “I said, ‘What’cha gon do with that?’ “He says, Follow me, Cat.” He blows a perfect “Moon River.” A few years earlier I had mentioned it was Willie’s favorite. It was the first song Willie ever asked me to play when I met him in Lusco’s. Duff filed that story away in his head. You could tell he had worked on it because it’s not an easy song; it’s got some twists in it. He just played it. And he killed it. The audience had been jabbering but everyone stopped to listen. After he brought the house down, he put up the harp. Never heard him play or mention a harp again.”
I asked Fish what he would miss most about playing music with Duff.
“We could talk without saying a word. During a song he’d smile and I’d nod and we knew what that meant. Plus, he never consulted a lyric sheet. He knew the third verse to 250 songs. Try remembering all the words to “Monkey Business” by Chuck Berry for 30 years.”
“It’s like a river changing its course now that he has left us.”
Mark Yacovone is the current pianist for Thacker Mountain Radio’s house band, the Yalobushwhackers, joining in September 2009 after founder Jim Dickinson passed away. “From the first moment I played with Duff, it was like starting over,” he shakes his head. “I was being schooled by a seasoned pro with a jukebox full of tunes, an arsenal of licks, and a guitar clinic full of song endings. I always knew I was in trouble when Duff would say, “I got an easy one for you, ol’ Son.”
Duff had finished a new album when he left us, the just-released, “If It Ain’t One Thing It’s Another,” a rocking twelve-song collection, including eight originals. “He pulled another rabbit out of his hat,” Fish says of the posthumous release. “He waited until the very end to do the best he’s ever done.” True to Duff, the disc began as a favor to a friend. Ted Gainey, who co-produced the CD (with Duff and Carl Massengale), recalls that he was going through a rocky time back in 2009 and needed a project for distraction.
“I started messing around mixing a batch of unreleased Duff tracks from Chris Hudson,” Gainey says. “I asked Duff if he minded and he said, not at all. I felt like he was agreeing to it just to help me out. Then it became an actual project and he’d come down and record at my home studio. After he got sick, Carl and I would go to Ruleville and record in Duff’s living room. He signed off on everything before he passed away; the cover art and all the mixes. The only thing is, he never got to hold it in his hand.”
The CD’s title is particularly apt in Duff’s case. His best friend (and Tangents saxophonist) Charlie Jacobs died in 1997 at age 37 and the following year, Duff buried his beloved wife, Deborah, who passed away at age 42 and left him with two young children. Last year, on the same day his long-awaited liver transplant was abruptly canceled, doctors found spots on his lung. Meanwhile, back in Ruleville, his dog, Zorro, was run over and killed. Duff was in a Memphis hospital on the day these events all converged and responded by taking his guitar from room-to-room to cheer up the other patients.
Duff raised his daughter, Audra, and son Marlow, into fine, young adults. They lived in his rambling “home-made” house outside of Ruleville, on old family land that looks out across a vast Delta landscape. Here he had plenty of room for his art (he was a voracious painter of pastels), his garden, his sprawling collection of turtle shells and old radios and crowded rooms with easels, pots, gourds, bottles and every conceivable castoff wonder. He stayed true to himself, retaining that same country casual vibe I encountered almost half a century ago. His new CD features one of the last (and best) songs he ever wrote, “All About the Time.” In it, he takes an accounting of life as he stares down mortality:
“It ain’t the money, it ain’t the chicks. It ain’t the stocks and bonds, Son, or what comes next. Nowadays, you’re gon find, it’s all about the time. All about the time… Time; so precious to you and me. Time. That golden commodity. Talk about living, talk about dying, I’m talking about the time.”
In a rich and full life, Duff put his “time” to good use, creating art, love and laughter. He was a true Mississippi original and his family, friends and Thacker Mountain Radio will never be the same.
Thanks for the time, Duff.
Thursday, Nov. 8, at Off Square Books at 6 pm, Thacker Mountain Radio welcomes longtime Oxford musician, Tyler Keith with author John Perry and “swingabilly folkgrass” by the Okratones. Admission is free and the show can be heard on Rebel Radio 92.1 FM or online at www.myrebelradio.com.
Tyler Keith’s latest project is “The Outlaw Biker!” a self-described, “gay biker musical,” with original words and music by Keith, including 13 new songs. The play debuted to sold-out crowds at the Powerhouse last week and featured a large cast of Oxford actors and musicians. Since 1992, guitarist/vocalist Keith has performed in such hard rocking Oxford bands as The Cooters, the Neckbones (who toured Europe and recorded for Fat Possum) the Preacher’s Kids and the Apostles. Aside from his performing career, he also recently produced an all-gospel concert event in Oxford. His 2010 documentary film, Brown Family Dairy (with Eric Griffis, and Meghan Leonard), received national recognition.
John Perry is the author of The Art of Procrastination: A Guide to Effective Dawdling, Lollygagging and Postponing (Workman). The book is a wise, charming, compulsively readable book – a tongue-in-cheek argument of ideas. Perry contends that you can accomplish a lot by putting things off. He calls it “structured procrastination.” Perry is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Stanford University and co-host of the syndicated public radio program “Philosophy Talk.” He is the author and editor of several books and countless articles on philosophy… when he gets around to it. He lives in Palo Alto, Calif. with his wife of 50 years, Frenchie.
The Okratones are Wendell Haag (guitar, vocals) Kevin Guyer, (bass, vocals) and Cecil Abels on mandolin and vocals. They refer to themselves as “the South’s hottest swingabilly folkgrass three-piece.” Their sound encompasses classic bluegrass and honky-tonk, soulful 70s country, high-harmony gospel, western swing, rockabilly, and R&B. Their latest CD is, “The Okratones.” Guitarist Haag was a core member of The Sincere Ramblers, the acoustic music quartet that was the original house band for Thacker Mountain Radio.
Join host Jim Dees and Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers, this Thursday, Nov. 8 at 6 pm at Off Square Books. You can hear the radio show locally Thursday on Rebel Radio (92.1 FM) or online at www.myrebelradio.com. Tune in to Mississippi Public Broadcasting every Saturday night at 7 pm for Thacker Mountain Radio immediately following A Prairie Home Companion, or listen Saturday online: (http://www.etv.state.ms.us/radio/index.html). More information at www.thackermountain.com.
Thacker Mountain Radio returns to Off Square Books this Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6 pm. Guests will include novelist Inman Majors, Latin percussionist Luis Benetti and singer/songwriter, Stephen Gordon. Admission is free and the show will be broadcast live on Rebel Radio (92.1 FM) and also online: www.myrebelradio.com.
Inman Majors is author of the novel, Love’s Winning Plays (Norton). He is also the nephew of Tennessee coaching legend, Johnny Majors. He is a Vanderbilt graduate who grew up in Knoxville and he has poured his understanding and love of “the south’s national pastime” into his new book which has been called, “one of the finest, funniest and most uniquely Southern novels ever to consider the game of football.” The novel also dishes up satire aimed at the Book Club of America and those fussy discussion questions often appended into the back of books. Majors’ previous novels include, Wonderdog, Swimming in Sky, and The Millionaires. He teaches fiction writing at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia
A native of Puerto Rico, drummer Luis Benetti has performed and conducted percussion workshops worldwide since 1987. Benetti currently plays percussion for Pedro Brull, one of the world’s most popular salsa singers. Their latest CD is, “Pronosticos,” which contains the song, “Asi Gordito me Quieren” (Even Being Fat They Love Me) which pays tribute to salsa stars with “full figures.” The day after his Thacker appearance, on Friday, Oct. 26, at 7 pm, Luis Benetti and Pedro Brull, along with their band, Pedro Brull & Orquesta Rican Son, will perform at the Gertrude C. Ford Center.
Stephen Gordon is a singer/songwriter originally from Memphis, now based out of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Gordon’s sound is folk pop with a country bent, and influenced by such artists as Ryan Adams, Neil Young and Josh Ritter. Gordon’s latest release is the five-song EP, Out of the Jar. When he isn’t touring, Gordon leads worship at a church in Bowling Green.
Thacker Mountain Radio celebrates 15 years on the air this Thursday, Oct. 18th at 6 pm at the Lyric Theatre. Guests will include Sharde Thomas and the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band and authors, John Dufresne, Randall Kenan and Monique Truong along with musician, James Barrier of the Pine Hill Haints. Doors open at 5 pm and admission is free; a cash bar will be available. The show will be broadcast on Rebel Radio (92.1 FM) and online: www.myrebelradio.com.
Sharde Thomas is the granddaughter of the late Othar Turner, a leading practitioner of the North Mississippi fife and drum tradition. She began playing music at the age of 7 with her grandfather’s group, the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band. She started writing songs when she was 13, and in 2010, at age 20, she released her first CD, “What Do I Do.” The CD is a mix of the old fife and drum traditions, mixed with smooth soul and hip hop. Thomas, who has been called the last living link to fife and drum music, is a student at Delta State’s Delta Music Institute.
John Dufresne is the author of the short story collections, The Way That Water Enters Stone and Johnny Too Bad, and the novels, Louisiana Power & Light, Love Warps the Mind a Little, (both named NY Times Notable Books) Deep in the Shade of Paradise, and his latest, Requiem, Mass. He is also the author of two fiction writing guides, The Lie That Tells a Truth: a Guide to Writing Fiction and Is Life Like This: a Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months as well as two screenplays and a play. He lives in Dania Beach, Florida and teaches creative writing at Florida International University. Earlier this year, Dufresne was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Randall Kenan is author of the novel, A Visitation of Spirits and a collection of stories, Let the Dead Bury Their Dead, which was among The New York Times Notable Books of 1992. Walking on Water: Black American Lives at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century was published in 1999, and was nominated for the Southern Book Award. His latest book, The Fire This Time, was published in May 2007. Kenan was the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi in 1997-98. He is currently Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Born in Saigon, South Vietnam, in 1968, Monique Truong is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her second novel is, Bitter in the Mouth (Random House, 2010). Her first novel was, The Book of Salt (Houghton Mifflin, 2003) and was a bestseller and named a New York Times Notable Fiction Book, a Chicago Tribune Favorite Fiction Book, one of the Village Voice‘s 25 Favorite Books, and one of the Miami Herald‘s Top 10 Books, among other citations. Truong writes a monthly online food column, Ravenous, for the New York Times’ T Magazine. She was a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow.
Originally from Alabama, The Pine Hill Haints formed in the late 1990s and have since released several CDs, including Split, Welcome to the Midnight Opry (recorded in Water Valley) and their latest, Tales of Crime. Lead singer and main songwriter, James Barrier, sings the group’s “snazzed up, working-class rockabilly” behind his home-made wooden microphone stand.
After Thacker, at 7 pm, please stay for the film premier of Pride & Joy, a one-hour documentary film, directed by Joe York, that celebrates the culture of barbeque in the south.
Bring some friends and join host Jim Dees and Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers, at 6 pm this Thursday at the Lyric. Thacker can also be heard every Saturday at 7 pm on Miss. Public Broadcasting (90.3 FM) or online Saturday here.