Written by Martha Grace Mize

Event Details

  • When: Saturday, Sept. 12, broadcast at 7 p.m. on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and 9 p.m. on Alabama Public Radio; rebroadcast Thursday, Sept. 17 on local station WUMS 92.1
  • Author: Diane Williams, author of “The Life and Legacy of B.B. King: A Mississippi Blues Icon”
  • Guest Musicians: John Wilkins and Dom Turner
  • Host: Jim Dees and TMR house band, The Yalobushwhackers

Host Jim Dees will be in conversation with author and storyteller Diane Williams for the season premiere of the Thacker Mountain Radio Show, which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Living Blues magazine. Williams, who calls herself a “narratologist,” wrote an intimate portrait of B.B. King, where she offers a brief account of the monumental blues man’s life before settling in for a series of interviews with his bandmates and beloved family members. Her book gives readers an invaluable opportunity to feel like they know King, too.

In addition to this conversation, listeners will enjoy the sounds of the radio show’s house band, the Yalobushwackers, and guest musicians Rev. John Wilkins, a Memphis-born, Mississippi-based spiritual blues scion, and Dom Turner, an Australian guitarist, vocalist, and founding member of the Australian blues group the Backsliders.

The partnership between The Thacker Mountain Radio Show and the Center for the Study of Southern Culture helps emphasize the celebration of Living Blues magazine’s 50th anniversary.

Founded as America’s first blues publication in Chicago in 1970, Living Blues magazine has provided fans with insightful, in-depth stories on legendary blues artists. In addition to focusing on icons like Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Koko Taylor, and John Lee Hooker, Living Blues focuses on true creative originals like Otha Turner, Chris Thomas King, and Super Chikan, artists, often overlooked by other blues press.

“We’re excited to celebrate Living Blues’ 50th anniversary with Thacker Mountain Radio,” said Melanie Young, publications manager for Living Blues. “Over the past five decades we have documented the living tradition of the blues and its culture, and this episode reflects that work in a meaningful way.”

The Thacker Mountain Radio Show features author readings and a wide array of musical performances. The winner of numerous awards in broadcasting and airing on Mississippi Public Broadcasting and Alabama Public Radio, Thacker Mountain is usually a much loved live event on the Oxford square.

“We couldn’t be happier for this Thacker Mountain Radio and Living Blues edition of the radio show,” said Alice Pierotti, director and producer of the show. “The fact that we are partnering in the middle of a pandemic is proof that blues music is meant to do one thing—keep living and make us feel and help us hold one another up when times get rough. It’s going to be one heck of a show, and I hope you’ll tune in!”

Due to Covid-19, the broadcasts will air on Saturday evenings this fall for its 23rd year on the air. They can be heard on Mississippi Public Broadcasting at 7 p.m. and Alabama Public Radio at 9 p.m. and rebroadcast on local WUMS the following Thursdays at 6 p.m. Listeners who miss the live radio broadcasts can listen back to the show from Thacker Mountain’s archives available on their website www.thackermountain.com. Digital and print subscriptions to Living Blues start at just $18 and are available at www.livingblues.com.