‘The Great Realization’ for young and old plus classic gospel tunes and folk rockers, My Girl The River!

Coping with Covid with a globally-loved poem; plus classic 1970s Memphis gospel and southern tunes from a family band now 'across the pond'.

November 21, 2020 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

Saturday, Nov 21The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour welcomes poet/filmmaker Tomos Roberts, Americana performer Kris Wilkinson Hughes (My Girl The River) and  a special appearance by the Rev. Juan Shipp and gospel groups, the Calvary Nightingales and The Pilgrimairs, among others.

Hosts: Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers

Air times:

Saturday. November 21 – 7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting

9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio

3 pm (ET) University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Thursdays 6 pm (CT) WUMS – University of Mississippi

Fridays 9 am (CT) WYXR Memphis Community Radio



Tomos Roberts

Tomos Roberts (Tomfoolery) is a spoken-word poet and filmmaker, born in New Zealand to Welsh parents. He was inspired to write The Great Realization (Harper Collins) while homeschooling his seven-year-old brother and sister, and the resulting film includes a cameo from his brother, Cai. Since its release, Tomos’ heartfelt poem has been watched by tens of millions, bringing with it interviews, high-profile endorsements, and thousands of messages of appreciation from around the world. Tomos lives in London.

Selected by NBC’s Today show as a book “to ease kids’ anxiety about coronavirus,” The Great Realization’s message of hope and resilience, of rebirth and renewal, has captured the hearts of children and adults all over the globe. The book contains beautiful illustrations by award-winning Japanese artist, Nomoco.


Kris Wilkinson Hughes (My Girl The River)

Kris Wilkinson Hughes (aka My Girl The River) is a Louisiana songwriter who has lived for the past 18 years in Bedford, England. Her latest release, with her family band, is Cardinal in the Snow. The band is Hughes on guitar and vocals, husband Joe on bass and daughter Ruby on vocals and ukulele. The album is produced by Grammy nominated Neilson Hubbard and features guitarist (and former Thacker guest) Will Kimbrough. Hughes’ previous album, This Ain’t No Fairy Tale, was described as a ‘love letter to the American Deep South.’

Rev. Juan D. Shipp and The JCR Records Story

The Last Shall Be First: The JCR Records Story, Volume 1 (Bible & Tire) is a new compilation of raw 1970s Memphis gospel-soul from the sacred soul music label started by Fat Possum’s Bruce Watson. The music – originally some 170 reels of tape – was recorded by pastor and gospel DJ, Juan Shipp.

Shipp will join us to talk about the re-issue of these great tunes and the many gospel groups he recorded decades ago.

Shipp currently hosts a gospel show on WYXR, 91.7 FM in Memphis every Saturday from 12 pm to 2 pm. (WYXR also broadcasts Thacker Mountain Radio Hour every Friday at 9 am).

The backstory: “Rev. Juan D. Shipp, a pastor at the Greater Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church, also had a gospel radio show on K-WAM, where he spun gospel quartet records as “Juan D.” Believing that “local artists deserve a better sound,” he formed a relationship with Clyde Leoppard, a former Sun Studio drummer who owned Tempo Recording Studio in downtown Memphis. Shipp began recording and releasing professional quality singles for many local and regional gospel groups on his own small boutique label, D-Vine Spirituals.

“Soon business was booming, and he spun off a secondary label, JCR, for up-and-coming artists who wanted to press a record but didn’t make the D-Vine cut. Seventeen of these tracks are featured on The Last Shall Be First: The JCR Records Story, Volume 1.” – blackgrooves.org