Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, a weekly live radio show featuring authors and a wide array of musical guests, is hosting a special 20th anniversary celebration show at The Lyric at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19.
The 90-minute celebration show will feature Thacker Mountain Radio’s original house band, the Sincere Ramblers, who will perform their version of Thacker’s theme song, “Can You Feel It,” as well as other songs. Other special guests include “long-haul trucker” and author Finn Murphy and music by country and soul singer/songwriter Bonnie Bishop, Oxford native Jimbo Mathus and North Mississippi Hill Country blues guitarist Kenny Brown.
The show will be hosted by Jim Dees and the house band, The Yalobushwhackers, with special appearances by Caroline Herring and Bryan Ledford.
Beth Ann Fennelly and Tommy Franklin talk about Thacker Mountain Radio Hour in celebration of the upcoming 20th Anniversary show this Thursday.
After 20 years, 500 shows and over 1,000 guests, the program’s format has remained the same, but Thacker’s future never looked so bright. What began as a celebration of Southern sounds capturing Oxford’s culture has since become a statewide show, being picked up by Mississippi Public Broadcasting in 2001 and receiving the Governor’s Award for Broadcast Excellence in 2005.
Jim Dees, show host since 2000, said he sees even bigger things ahead for Thacker Mountain Radio Hour.
“The show is in better financial shape than ever,” Dees said. “We perform more out-of-town shows than ever before. The show now has a reputation, so we don’t have to search as hard for guests. A lot of authors and bands now ask to be on. I see the show constantly improving. I think at some point we will reach national syndication in some form.”
Dees has seen a slew of amazing artists perform on the show, from Elvis Costello in 2004 at an April Fools Day show to last week’s Songhoy Blues, an African blues band, who had the crowd jump out of their chairs to sing and dance alongside the band. Dees expects Thursday’s show will be nothing less than another one for the books.
“We’re expecting a big crowd,” he said. “I think our whole crew is psyched, as is our audience. So there should be a little electricity in the air.”
Director Kate Teague is fairly new to the Thacker team and is excited to witness the original show’s performers, particularly the Sincere Ramblers, take the stage again Thursday night.
“I have known a lot about them just through learning about this job and learning about our history,” Teague said. “So I’ve been studying them from afar, but being able to be with them in person and have them a part of another Thacker show is going to be extremely special, and I’m really honored to be a part of it.”
Admission to the celebration show will be free, but the celebration won’t stop there. A party for Thacker Mountain Radio members will be held from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Off Square Books.
“We’re really excited to continue the celebration at Off Square books after the show,” Teague said. “We’re excited to bring it home and really take that time to celebrate our crew and our guests that are on the show.”
Food and drinks will be provided by The Main Event, and music will be provided by the Sincere Ramblers. Non-members can easily become members by signing up at the door of The Lyric during the show or at Off Square Books during the party. A year-long membership costs $20 for students, $50 for individuals or $75 for partners.
“What Thacker brings to the table and brings to our community is a place for everyone to come and listen to really great music and really great literature, and just sit back,” Teague said. “Thursday is really a celebration of the show itself. It’s a celebration of Jim and a celebration of our house band and a celebration of our members and sponsors who have helped keep Thacker alive for 20 years. So I hope our community will come out to celebrate that with us.”
By Randall Haley, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.