There’s a party in the Delta and you’re invited! The Delta Music Institute (DMI) entertainment industry program at Delta State University will once again host the award-winning Thacker Mountain Radio Hour Saturday, March 2 at 3 p.m. The show will take place in Studio A of the Whitfield Building on the campus of Delta State in Cleveland, MS. Admission is free and the public is invited.
The event marks the 12th year for the “Thacker in the Delta” program, which serves to raise awareness in support of DMI programming and the Duff Dorrough Memorial Scholarship Fund. Dorrough, who passed away in 2012, was an art major at Delta State and former bandleader for the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour. To contribute to the fund: http://www.deltastategiving.org/duffdorrough
Saturday’s show will be hosted by Jim Dees and Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers. There will be no live broadcast but the program will be recorded for future air on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and Alabama Public Radio.
This year’s literary guest is crime fiction writer William Boyle. Boyle was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and now makes his home in Oxford, MS. His latest novel, to be published on March 5, is A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself (Pegasus Books). The novel is a screwball noir about a Brooklyn grandma on the run (in a classic ’62 Impala) who tries to mend her relationship with her estranged grandchild as they outrun mob goons. Boyle draws readers into a sometimes gruesome world of quirky personalities, action and misadventures, all told with sardonic humor.
Joe Lansdale, author the popular Hap and Leonard series said, “A brilliant and nasty piece of joyful ambiguity that I loved deeply. What a marvelous and unexpected bunch of female characters, in particular. With this one, William Boyle vaults into the big time, or he damn sure should.”
Boyle’s previous books include the novel, Gravesend, which was nominated for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière and was shortlisted for the New Blood Dagger Award in the UK; the story collection, Death Don’t Have No Mercy; the novel Everything is Broken (published in France in 2017); and The Lonely Witness (2018).
The featured musical guest for Saturday’s show will be keyboardist Beth McKee, whose latest album is Dreamwood Acres. The album displays McKee’s signature roots music that rides the backroads of soul, gospel, blues, folk, pop, and rock. From her native Mississippi where she learned the blues firsthand from Malaco Records session musicians, to her immersion in the scenes of Austin, New Orleans, and now Orlando, McKee brings all of her musical travels into her songwriting and funky sound.
A working pianist since age 14, McKee’s musical identity really began when she moved to Austin, Texas where she was recruited by harmonica legend Greg “Fingers” Taylor to join his band and embarked on a tour opening for Jimmy Buffett. McKee then moved to New Orleans to join noted ‘90s bayou-country band Evangeline, which was discovered and signed by Buffett to his Margaritaville Records label. She released two albums with Evangeline before setting out to make her own mark.
Her solo CDs include Sugarcane Revival (2015), Next to Nowhere (2012) and her acclaimed tribute to songwriter Bobby Charles, 2009’s I’m That Way. The cultural website, Pop Matters, said of her latest album, “Dreamwood Acres is the kind of album to savor, and it is an example of just how vital and vibrant the independent American music scene remains.”
Saturday’s show will also feature vocalist Tricia Walker. Walker’s long career includes a spot backing Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith and extensive touring with Shania Twain and Paul Overstreet. Walker is a recording artist who currently serves as director of the Delta Music Institute. Students at the Institute are also expected to perform as members of the band B4Y2K, delivering classic hits of the 1990s.
Photo: Duff Dorrough (Mark Yacovone)