Murder, mayhem and wine: A Delta mystery

True crime, blues and rock and roll!

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour took our show on the road to Delta State University in Cleveland, MS at Studio A of the Delta Music Institute, an entertainment studies program.

The program is in support of the Delta Music Institute on campus and its Duff Dorrough Scholarship Fund.

If you care to support, please specify Duff Scholarship:

Dorrough was a Delta State alum where he studied art while maintaining his long-running career as a professional guitarist and vocalist. From 2005 until shortly before his death in 2012, he was the beloved bandleader for Thacker Mountain Radio Hour.

Guests for this show: Delta-native author Di Rushing whose memoir The Delta in the Rearview Mirror tells the story of her co-founding Mississippi’s first winery in 1976 only to have the business terrorized by a disgruntled ex-employee in 1990 who was later murdered.

Musical guests: Bluesman Anthony “Big A” Sherrod and the Delta Music Institute student band, B4Y2K

Hosts: Jim Dees with Paul Tate and the Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers.

Big thanks to our sponsors: Delta Music Institute, Cleveland-Bolivar County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Delta Magazine

Air times for this show:

Friday, March 22 – 6 am (CT) WYXR 91.7 FM Memphis, TN

Saturday, March 23– 3 pm (E T) WUTC 88.1 FM Chattanooga, TN

7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting

9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio

Sunday, March 24

3 pm (ET) WUOT | 91.9 FM, Knoxville

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

Archived here: Spotify, SoundCloudGoogle PodcastiHeart Radio



Di Rushing

The Delta in the Rearview Mirror – The Life and Death of Mississippi’s First Winery (University Press of MS).

In 1976, Di Rushing and her husband, Sam, were recent college graduates who found themselves back on their family farm near Merigold, Mississippi, with 350 acres and no real clue what to do.

The couple decided to open the first winery in Mississippi, and with it, a successful business was born. Six years later, a small restaurant joined the Delta winery. Both businesses were thriving by 1990, with eight national award-winning wines, a beautiful vineyard, and a successful restaurant.

But in March of 1990, a series of unforeseen events rocked the operation.

After the Rushings discovered one of the tour guides, Ray Russell, selling drugs in the winery parking lot, they fired him. He responded with a terrorizing vengeance that persisted over the next nine months.

One early morning, the former guide broke into the winery, crept into the wine cellar, and released the entire inventory—nearly a quarter of a million dollars’ worth—down the drain.

Fortunately, his incompetence thwarted his most destructive intention to blow up the restaurant. In his rampage, he broke all the windows, which allowed the gas from the kitchen oven to escape, sparing the premises.

Though the Rushings rebuilt with the help of their community, Russell continued to stalk and threaten the young family. As his menacing behavior continued to escalate, the Rushings closed their business of 14 years and moved to Ouray, Colorado, where they began rebuilding their lives.

Culminating in the sudden, violent murders of Russell, his wife, and his father twenty-five years later, this book tells a story of both shock and resilience as well as chronicling an important (and riveting) chapter in Mississippi’s history.


Anthony "Big A" Sherrod

International touring artist, multi-instrumentalist Anthony “Big A” Sherrod, personifies the authentic Delta blues legacy that is still heard today in his native Clarksdale, Mississippi.

As the godson of veteran blues rocker, the late Big Jack Johnson, he learned all facets of his craft at the feet of a master. He has honed his showmanship at venerable, real-deal venues in Clarksdale such as Sarah’s Kitchen, Red’s Lounge and Ground Zero.

Sherrod’s latest album is Right on Time (Nola Blue Records).

“Gritty, powerful and heartfelt, his approach to the blues helps keep the juke joint tradition alive.” Living Blues Magazine

Photo: Christophe Losberger


Made up of students learning the music business at Delta State University’s Delta Music Institute, B4Y2K performs hits from the 1990s and early 2000s.

The band has performed at the Grammy Museum Mississippi, and at Cleveland’s Octoberfest, among other events.