Pappyland – A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last

Wright Thompson in bourbon country, the return of a British folkie and offbeat Memphis jazz!

February 20, 2021 at 7 pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting; 9 pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio; 3 pm (ET) University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Thursdays 6 pm (CT) University of Mississippi; Fridays 9 am (CT) WYXR Memphis Community Radio

This Saturday, Feb. 20 we’re delighted to welcome ESPN writer Wright Thompson with his exploration of the most coveted bourbon in the world in Pappyland; the return of British folk singer Shirley Collins and the esoteric jazz stylings of Alex Greene and the Rolling Head Orchestra

Hosts: Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers

Air times:

Saturday, Feb. 20– 7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting

9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio

3pm (ET) University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Thursdays 6pm (CT) WUMS – University of Mississippi

Fridays 9am (CT) WYXR Memphis Community Radio



Wright Thompson

Wright Thompson is the author of Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon and the Things That Last (Penquin Press). The book is the true story of Julian Van Winkle, the third-generation head of his family’s business, Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. After losing their distillery when bourbon lost favor during the hip 1960s, the company has made a stunning comeback: a bottle of 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve now starts at $3,000 on the internet.

More than bourbon, the book is a deeply felt, well-written, often hilarious meditation on what each generation owes their forebears, the importance of family, love, and yes, the best bourbon on earth.

Thompson is a senior writer for ESPN. His previous book was a collection of his sports profiles, The Cost of These Dreams.



Shirley Collins

Shirley Collins is an English folksinger who has also worked as a folklorist and producer of folk records. She was Alan Lomax’s partner during his 1959 recordings of Mississippi Fred McDowell. (She described the experience in the 2016 film documentary, Shake ‘Em On Down, by Joe York and Scott Barretta).

As a significant presence during the Second English Folk Revival of the 1950-60s, Shirley formed a duo with her sister Dolly, who accompanied Shirley’s raw and direct voice on piano and portative organ; together they recorded the startling Anthems In Eden and Love, Death & The Lady.

After a 38-year recording hiatus, Collins released a new album, Lodestar, in 2016. Last year she released her latest, Heart’s Ease.

“It’s a miracle. I’m so happy to be doing it,” Collins told American Songwriter. “I was born under a lucky star that I was able to come back after being away for over 30 years. I’ve finally joined the old singers, and that’s great.”

Alex Greene and the Rolling Head Orchestra

Memphis songwriter Alex Greene’s latest album, with his band, the Rolling Head Orchestra is American Elegy. The guitarist builds his tracks on the Rolling Head Orchestra’s horns and pedal steel, mixed with his own primitive jazz interpolations.

The RHO features Jim Spake (sax & clarinet), Marc Franklin (trumpet), Jim Duckworth (guitar), John Whittemore (pedal steel), Tom Lonardo (drums), and John McLure (bass). Their previous album was Depression Jubilee.

Greene is best known for his guitar and keyboard work with such Memphis bands as the Reigning Sound (he was a founding member), Big Ass Truck, and Tav Falco’s Panther Burns. Greene is music editor for the Memphis Flyer.