Oxford’s Thacker Mountain Radio Hour showcases wild west and rock and roll this Thursday

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour features two authors this week, both of whom focus on “wild life.” Robert Olmstead will read from his new novel “Savage Country” about buffalo hunters in the 1870s. Journalist Bob Mehr will read from “Trouble Boys,” his biography of hard living rock band, The Replacements. Musical guests will include Muscle Shoals songwriter, Dylan LeBlanc, plus local jazz band, FunkAtomic.

The show is this Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m. at Off Square Books (129 Courthouse Square). Admission is free. The show is hosted by Jim Dees and Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers.

The program can be heard locally on WUMS, 92.1 FM. It will be broadcast on Mississippi Public Broadcasting on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m.

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Robert Olmstead’s ninth book is the novel, “Savage Country “ (Algonquin). Set against a backdrop of the devastating buffalo hunts of the 1870s, the narrative has an unlikely protagonist: an indefatigable woman, Elizabeth Coughlin. She is a widow bankrupted by her late husband. In an epic mission reminiscent of the cattle drive in “Lonesome Dove,” she embarks on a dangerous buffalo hunt with her estranged and mysterious brother-in-law in hopes of saving her farm.

Oxford author Tom Franklin says, “Robert Olmstead gets better with every book. If you know all of his previous books, you know how startling this fact is, and how startlingly good this writer is.” Olmstead’s previous novel, “Far Bright Star”, is in development as movie with Joaquin Phoenix. Olmstead is a professor at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Bob Mehr is the author of “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements” (Da Capo Press) an epic biography about the notorious, hard-living band. Based on a decade of research and reporting–as well as access to the Replacements’ key principals, Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson–Mehr has fashioned something far more compelling than a conventional band bio. Trouble Boys is a deeply intimate portrait.

Bob Mehr is a music critic for the USA Today Network, The Commercial Appeal and a longtime contributor to MOJO magazine. He lives in Memphis with his wife.

Of special note is the release of The Replacements first-ever live album. The End of All Music will be present at the Thacker show with copies of The Replacements for Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986, a 29-song, double disc set on both vinyl and CD a day earlier than the release date (Oct. 6th). The package includes liner notes by Bob Mehr.

Dylan LeBlanc’s latest album is Cautionary Tale (Single Lock Records). The singer/songwriter grew up in Shreveport and Muscle Shoals but his sound is more Neil Young than southern soul. The album was produced in Muscle Shoals by Ben Tanner of the Alabama Shakes and John Paul White, formerly of The Civil Wars. Though not exactly “country music,” LeBlanc was named one of “Ten Country Artists To Watch” by Rolling Stone. On Friday, Oct. 6, LeBlanc will be the headline act at the Levitt Shell in Memphis.

FunkAtomic is a funk/jazz band led by veteran north Mississippi-New Orleans saxophonist, Casey Ray Lipe. The quartet includes “Star” on keyboards, Michael Vaughn on bass and drummer Jonny Lott. The group is putting the finishing touches on album of original songs recorded at Dial Back Studio in Water Valley.

The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour will celebrate 20 years on the air with a special 90-minute show on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m. at the Lyric. More information at http://thackermountain.com/