February 3-5 The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour celebrates a deep dive into the soil and soul of southern writing and music. (From Sept.2020)
Guests: Southern fiction master Ron Rash, roots rock guitarist Luther Dickinson and soul songwriter Kyshona Armstrong
Hosts: Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers
Air times – Online and on air:
Saturday. February 5 – 7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting
9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio
3 pm (ET) WUTC 88.1 FM – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Thursdays 6 pm (CT) WUMS 92.1FM – University of Mississippi
Fridays 9 am (CT) WYXR 92.7FM – Memphis Community Radio
Ron Rash’s latest book is the story collection, In the Valley (Doubleday). In the ten stories, Rash spins a haunting allegory of the times we live in–rampant capitalism, the severing of ties to the natural world in the relentless hunt for profit, the destruction of body and soul with pills meant to mute our pain–and yet within this world he illuminates acts of extraordinary decency and heroism.
In this new book, Rash also returns to his character Serena, his deliciously vindictive heroine – “Appalachian Lady Macbeth” – who increases the body count wherever she goes. Rash’s 2008 novel Serena was adapted into a 2015 film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
Praise for In The Valley: “Haunting and darkly funny.”
—New York Times Book Review
In addition to the PEN/Faulkner finalist and New York Times bestselling novel Serena, Rash’s previous work includes the novels, The Risen, Above the Waterfall, The Cove, One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, and The World Made Straight; four collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, Nothing Gold Can Stay, a New York Times bestseller, and Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award.
Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize and winner of the 2019 Sidney Lanier Prize for Southern Literature, he is the Parris Distinguished Professor in Appalachian Cultural Studies at Western Carolina University and lives in Clemson, SC.
Luther Dickinson, with brother Cody Dickinson, is known for blues-boogie band, the North Mississippi Allstars, The group earned a Grammy nomination for their critically acclaimed debut album, Shake Hands With Shorty. and The New York Times praised Dickinson as “an impressive player in the Southern guitar-hero mold,” and Rolling Stone hailed the group’s “boogie blues and fuzzed-out funk.”
The Allstars topped the Billboard Blues Albums chart three separate times, most recently with 2017’s Prayer For Peace. The band’s newest album, Set Sail, was released January 28, 2022.
Dickinson’s restlessness and versatility has fueled an impressive solo career and landed him stints playing with the likes of John Hiatt and The Black Crowes in addition to studio work with Patty Griffin, Devon Allman, Seasick Steve, and more.
Jazz critic Ted Gioia chose Luther’s album, Blues & Ballads: A Folksinger’s Songbook, Volumes 1 & 2 (New West, 2016) for the eleventh spot on his list of the top 100 albums of the year
Luther’s 2019 joint recording with Sisters of the Strawberry Moon, Solstice, was chosen as a ‘Favorite Blues Album’ by AllMusic. The versatile Dickinson can also be found once a year at The Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs, MS performing a commissioned concert inspired by Anderson’s art work.
Kyshona Armstrong’s latest album is Listen, co-produced with Andrija Tokic (St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Alabama Shakes). It features southern soulful grooves and an acute social conscience. Kyshona, based in Nashville, has mixed her love of story-telling with the sound of her musical roots. Soulful, spiritual, and, at times, guttural.
From Billboard’s review: “Kyshona’s descriptive songwriting and soulful vocals work alongside a versatile blend of folk, rock and R&B influences. While Kyshona sings of fear, hope, community, love and understanding throughout the 10-track project, she also finds herself.”