Sunday, September 20, 2015

SEPTEMBER 19, 2015

       It all started with a short drive south down ol' #7 in Mississippi! The target was beautiful, tree-lined Rowan Oak, the legendary home of an even bigger legend, author William Faulkner. A wonderful new friend, Kathryn McGaw, a real Thacker Backer, provided us easy access to the home. The official name of the scheduled event is Sarah Fest, and sure enough, a fabulous spur-of-the-moment (not really) music event sprang up on the side porch. We Southerners are known for spontaneity!

      Hosted by Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Thacker Mountain Radio Hour host Jim Dees, accompanied by the talented TMR house band, the Yalobushwhackers, the gig was off to a fantastic start. The 'live radio show happens in Off Square Books in downtown Oxford on Thursdays on MPB 90.3 Oxford-University. "Put yo' hands on the radio!"

       There was even a lovely white-haired lady in a beautiful green blouse, Kaye Bryant, who kicked things off with her story of actually knowing and having daily conversation with William Faulkner. It doesn't get any better than that!

       First up to perform was Atlanta artist Chris Lopez, whose performance name is Tenement Halls (think Simon & Garfunkel). Couple of numbers later, we thought he was terrific!

       Then came Southerner Jon Langford (South Wales, that is) who performed with the talented Kelly Hogan and the Yalobushwhackers, along with Oxford's own Jack Pendarvis on accordion. You know Jon from the Mekons! Great stuff! We hope to hear more from them! Joining this group was Amy Ray (think Indigo Girls). Amy was great! She appears in a video that is too big to use here! Amy was accompanied by Kelly Hogan and Jeff Fielder in an amazing number called "Take This Meanness Outta Me". Killer music!

       Minton Sparks was next, accompanied by her multi-talented friend, John Jackson. These two Tennesseans have produced several CDs and videos together. Stories? Minton has stories. We always enjoy hearing the stories and listening to John's guitar work, which is perfectly suited to Minton's stories about life down South. We have followed Minton's work for over 25 years, since that first time we heard her on "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor.

       We would be remiss if we didn't share this photo of Minton Sparks renewing childhood friendship with our friend Claire Turner. We dare not ask what all they said in their little chat!

YouTube videos: Minton and John performing "Giddyup Gibson" and "Time Flies" listed here:  and

       The show concluded with all the artists onstage to sing Bob Dylan's classic "Ride Me High," which included audience participation! It was an incredible afternoon!

YouTube video: Closing number with all guest artists performing listed here:

Further information:
Thacker Mountain Radio Hour on MPB
Tenement Halls (Chris Lopez)
Jon Langford
Amy Ray
Minton Sparks
Rowan Oak