Join us for The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour Thursday, March 21 at 6 pm at Off Square Books (129 Courthouse Square, Oxford, MS 38655). FREE admission.
Guests: Spoken word artist and songwriter, Minton Sparks plus author (and kidnap victim) Lovejoy Boteler (“Crooked Snake: The Life and Crimes of Albert Lepard”) with musical guest, The Wineskins
Hosts: Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers
Radio: WUMS 92.1 FM (Oxford)
In 1968, during Albert Lepard’s fifth escape from a life sentence at Parchman Penitentiary, he kidnapped Lovejoy Boteler, then eighteen years old, from his family’s farm in Grenada, Mississippi. Three decades later, still beset by half-buried memories of that time, Boteler began researching his kidnapper’s nefarious, sordid life to discover how and why this terrifying abduction occurred.
Crooked Snake: The Life and Crimes of Albert Lepard (University Press of Mississippi) is the true story of Lepard, sentenced to life in Parchman for the murder of seventy-four-year-old Mary Young in 1959. During the course of his sentence, Lepard escaped from prison six times in fourteen years.
In Crooked Snake, Boteler pieces together the story of this cold-blooded murderer’s life using both historical records and personal interviews–over seventy in all–with ex-convicts who gravitated to and ran with Lepard, the family members who fed and sheltered the fugitive during his escapes, the law officers who hunted him, and the regular folks who were victimized in his terrible wake.
Lovejoy Boteler spent his early years on Riverdale Farms in Grenada County. He worked for the Mississippi legislature, as a deck hand on the Mississippi River, and in a rodeo in Colorado. Boteler has also taught construction technology and instrumental music in public schools. He builds custom furniture.
Minton Sparks is a wildly original poet, performance artist, novelist, teacher, and essayist born in Tennessee and raised in and around Arkansas. Fusing music, poetry and storytelling, Sparks paints word pictures of life in the rural south. She is the author of two novels, Desperate Ransom and White Lightning, which have received wide acclaim. Her CDs of spoken word and poetry include Live at the Station Inn, Sin Sick, Gold Digger and This Dress.
Sparks has earned degrees from the University of the South and Vanderbilt University. Her appearances range from the prestigious Jonesborough National Storytelling Festival all the way to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and the American Songbook Series at Lincoln Center in New York City.
Sparks hosts writing workshops around the country including her latest, Quest 2019, which works with participants on writing and yoga over four weekends from February to July at various locations across Tennessee.
John Jackson, Minton’s musical accompanist, is a brilliant guitarist and no stranger to the world of poetry and music. He played in Bob Dylan’s band for six years, 1991-97. He also was part of Lucinda Williams’ “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road” Grammy winning tour, as well as Shelby Lynne’s Grammy winning “I am Shelby Lynn” tour. Jackson did a stint on Broadway performing in the Twyla Tharp/Bob Dylan play, “The Times They Are ‘a Changin‘.
The Wineskins are an acoustic roots trio based in Oxford. Guitarists and songwriters W. Keith Moore and Jeff Gordon are joined by upright bassist, Greg Johnson. Their CDs include, Rattle My Faith and their latest, Shut Me Up Sundance.