by Jim Dees – When the Thacker Mountain brain trust (not me) discovered there was a ukulele band in Memphis, their first thought was, ‘Who can spell, ukulele?’ We booked them and luckily there is spell check and an album, The Memphis Ukulele Band (Blue Barrel Records) to uke to.
For most, ukulele music conjures visions of cheesy luaus and even cheesier floral-print shirts. (I’m in.) This band seeks to move the ukulele out of the one-note tourist ghetto and give it some Memphis soul. All five of the Ukulele band members have day jobs, or rather, night gigs, as working musicians or studio engineers in the city of Stax. And yet, they make time for this labor of love – some might even say, a labor of quirk.
At Thacker Mountain Radio, we are here for you – all laborers of quirk.
Quirk might also describe some of the goings-on in author Jimmy Cajoleas’s young adult novel, The Good Demon (Amulet Books). It’s the goth tale of a young woman, Clare, who is unhappy with her exorcism and seeks the return of the titular demon, known simply as, “Her.” For help, she enlists the aid of Roy, a preacher’s son and her (kinda) boyfriend, who guides her through the “dark underbelly of a small southern town.”
Cajoleas is a Jackson, MS native and a graduate of the MFA writing program at the University of Mississippi. If anyone knows demons, it’s writers. We’re calling on all of Jimmy’s writer pals to come out and celebrate Jimmy’s book and their demons too!
We’ll close the show with The Red Clay Strays, a rock and roll band from Mobile, AL. The Strays have a soulful edge with shades of gospel befitting a Deep South band. They’ll provide a fitting exclamation point to our first Lyric show of this season.
As always, our house band, the Yalobushwhackers, will bring the curtain down. The band will be at full Yalo-strength with the return of globe-trotting pianist Mark Yacovone and guest vocalist Mary Frances Massey.
This should be a good one. Join us for quirks and underbellies, demons and holy ghosts and of course, AIR CONDITIONING!
Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6 pm at the Lyric Oxford (1006 Van Buren Ave, Oxford, MS 38655). FREE admission. Doors: 5:30. Cash bar; plenty of seating!
Guests: Author (and former Oxford resident) Jimmy Cajoleas and musical guests, The Memphis Ukulele Band and The Red Clay Strays
Hosts: Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers
Radio: WUMS 92.1 FM (Oxford)
Photo: Cherry sunburst tenor ukulele – Kamoa Ukulele Company (Memphis Ukulele Band Facebook)