Celebrating a literary father and son

Two memoirs from Terry and Nick McDonell

On air and online: Thursday, Jan. 18 – Sunday, Jan. 21 – Join The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour for a very unique literary and musical hour: father and son authors, Nashville roots music and New Orleans blues!

Author: Terry McDonell (Irma – The Education of A Mother’s Son) and Nick McDonell (Quiet Street – On American Privilege)

Music: Blues guitarist D.K. Harrell plus singer-songwriter Stephen Simmons

Hosts: Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers

(Originally aired: 9-21-23)

Air times:

Thursday, Jan. 18 – 6:00 pm (CT) WUMS – University of Mississippi

Friday, Jan. 19 – 6 am (CT) WYXR 91.7 FM Memphis, TN

Saturday, Jan. 20 – 3 pm (ET) WUTC 88.1 FM Chattanooga, TN

7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting

9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio

Sunday, Jan. 21 

3 pm (ET) WUOT | 91.9 FM, Knoxville

2 pm (MT) KNCE 93.5 | Taos, New Mexico



Terry McDonell

Terry McDonell is the author of Irma – The Education of A Mother’s Son (Harper).

In this dazzling memoir, McDonell discovers the real hero in his life was his mother, Irma. The two moved to California hoping for a new life and Irma raised her young son as a single mom, albeit a very resourceful one.

Like most headstrong boys growing up in mid-century America, McDonell took his mother for granted, never giving her life much thought.

But as he matured, built a career, married, divorced, remarried, and raised his own sons, McDonell came to see that Irma had lived her life in a way that allowed him to discover what he wanted his own life to be.

From his recollections—a series of colorful, deeply personal, sometimes funny, stunningly composed vignettes—an intriguing and poignant portrait emerges.

“Compulsively readable and filled with useful truths about our unpredictable lives.” — Thomas McGuane

Terry McDonell’s previous books include a memoir of his remarkable career, The Accidental Life and the novel, California Bloodstock. He is president emeritus of the Paris Review Foundation and most recently cofounded Literary Hub.

Nick McDonell

Nick McDonell is the author of Quiet Street – On American Privilege (Pantheon). McDonell grew up on New York City’s Upper East Side, a neighborhood defined by its wealth and influence. As a child, McDonell enjoyed sailing lessons in the Hamptons, school galas at the Met, and holiday trips on private jets.

But as an adult, he left it behind to become a foreign correspondent in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Quiet Street, McDonell returns to the sidewalks of his youth, exhuming with bracing honesty his upbringing and those of his affluent peers.

“An eloquent and compelling study.” —Kirkus Reviews


Stephen Simmons

Stephen Simmons is a singer-songwriter from Nashville. His latest single is Little Bird Singing. His latest album is Family Album. His previous releases include A World Without, Girls, and Last Call.

“…not many singers achieve such a confident, full-bodied sound while delivering conversational confessions.” — The Washington Post

D.K. Harrell

D.K. Harrell a Ruston, La., native, has carved out a career as a blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. This year has seen the young guitarist play a month-long tour of Brazil as well as performing at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, The King Biscuit Blues Festival and Portland’s Waterfront Festival.

His newest album is The Right Man.