Tune in Thursday, July 7 , Friday July 8 and Saturday, July 9 – The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour returned to Clinton, MS for this show at Alumni Hall on the campus of Mississippi College. (Recorded June 18,2022).
Guests: Edgar Award-nominated author Curtis Wilkie, roots musician Beth McKee and New Orleans jazz band, The Shotgun Jazz Band.
Hosts: Jim Dees and Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers
Air times on air/online:
Thursday, July 7 – 6 pm WUMS Rebel Radio 92.1
Friday, July 8 – 6 am WYXR 91.7 FM Memphis, TN.
Saturday, July 9 –3 pm (ET) University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting
9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio
Curtis Wilkie is the author of When Evil Lived in Laurel: The White Knights and the Murder of Vernon Dahmer (Norton). The bestselling book was a finalist for the 2022 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime
The book is a thoroughly reported inside story of how a courageous FBI informant helped bring down the KKK organization responsible for a brutal murder in 1966 Laurel.
By early 1966, the work of Vernon Dahmer was well known in south Mississippi. A light-skinned Black man, he was a farmer, grocery store owner, and two-time president of the Forrest County chapter of the NAACP. He and Medgar Evers founded a youth NAACP chapter in Hattiesburg.
This put Dahmer in the crosshairs of the White Knights, with headquarters in nearby Laurel, who burned down his home and store.
A year before, Tom Landrum, a young, unassuming member of a family with deep Mississippi roots, joined the Klan to become an FBI informant at great risk to himself and his family.
Veteran journalist Curtis Wilkie draws on his exclusive access to Landrum’s journals to re-create these events—the conversations, the incendiary nighttime meetings, the plans leading up to Dahmer’s murder and its erratic execution—culminating in the conviction and imprisonment of many of those responsible for Dahmer’s death.
In riveting detail, When Evil Lived in Laurel brings fresh light to this chapter in the history of civil rights in the South—one with urgent implications for today.
Curtis Wilkie covered civil rights activity in Mississippi in the 1960s and afterward served as a national and international correspondent for a quarter century at the Boston Globe.
His previous books include Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians and Persons of Interest, Fall of the House of Zeus, Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped the Modern South and Arkansas Mischief: The Birth of A National Scandal (with Jim McDougal).
Wilkie lives in Oxford, Mississippi.
Keyboardist Beth McKee’s latest EP, Monday After Sunday, will be released in July. Her current release is the funky single, Swamp Sistas Cosmic Drifter.
Early copies of Monday After Sunday will be for sale at Alumni Hall.
Her previous releases include the single Hold On (Italian’s in the Night) and the albums Dreamwood Acres, Sugarcane Revival and Next to Nowhere.
From her native Mississippi to her immersion in the scenes of Austin, New Orleans, North Carolina, and now Orlando – McKee embraces a southeast gumbo of sounds.
“… a perfectly fine roots act…” – New York Times, Nov. 6, 2021
The latest release from New Orleans jazz band, the Shotgun Jazz Band, is the live album, Live at the Dew Drop. Their album, Yearning was voted “Top 50 Louisiana Album Releases.” Their follow-up, Steppin’ On The Gas, garnered similar accolades. International journalist Steve Steinberg summed up the band: “Gutsy, gritty and grabbing… straight-ahead New Orleans jazz of the first order—no tricks or gimmicks here.”
The band can be found performing weekly residencies in New Orleans at The Spotted Cat, Three Muses, and Maison Frenchmen.