Former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, soul singer Talibah Safiya and gospel group, Dedicated Men of Zion!

A haunting new memoir, original Memphis tunes and classic gospel sounds!

July 17, 2021 at 7 pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting; 9 pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio; 3 pm (ET) University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Thursdays 6 pm (CT) University of Mississippi; Fridays 9 am (CT) WYXR Memphis Community Radio

Saturday, July 17 – The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour is proud to welcome back former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey with her haunting new memoir, Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir. Our musical guests will include Memphis singer-songwriter Talibah Safiya (“Middle of the Night”) and North Carolina gospel group, the Dedicated Men of Zion (“Can’t Turn Me Around”).

The show is hosted by Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers.

Air times – On line and on air:

Saturday, July 17 – 7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting

9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio

3pm (ET) University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Thursdays 6pm (CT) WUMS – University of Mississippi

Fridays 9am (CT) WYXR Memphis Community Radio



Natasha Trethewey

At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her stepfather shot and killed her mother. Trethewey’s newest book is a memoir of that horrific act and its aftermath, Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir (Ecco) a beautiful book, both elegy and ode at once.

The daughter of parents who had an illegal mixed-race marriage in Mississippi, and raised in the shadow of the Jim Crow South, Trethewey plumbs the depths of history, memory, race and racism in her memoir, while also writing heart wrenchingly about her mother’s murder and reckoning with the domestic abuse that preceded it.

Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a “child of miscegenation” in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.

Excellent New York Times review here.

Trethewey won the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 2007 for her collection Native Guard. She served two terms as the 19th Poet Laureate of the United States (2012-2014) and State Poet Laureate for Mississippi from 2012-2016.

Her previous book in 2018 was the poetry collection, Monument – Poems New and Selected, which was longlisted for the National Book Award.

Natasha Trethewey was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, and is currently a Board of Trustees Professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.


Talibah Safiya

Talibah Safiya is soulful singer-songwriter from Memphis TN. Her single, Middle of the Night created a buzz and Safiya was producing her debut EP when the coronavirus pandemic interrupted. In the meantime, she has released a series of singles on Soundcloud.

She expects to finish up her EP and an accompanying short film this year as she -like so many of us – works from home.

“I’m a genre-hopping musician,” she told the Memphis Flyer earlier this year. “I say that it’s diasporic music because it’s every form of music that Black people have explored. Some of them sound kinda bluesy or folk-inspired. Some of them are totally R&B, and then one of the new releases sounds super hip-hop. So … I do everything.” More info.

Dedicated Men of Zion

The Dedicated Men of Zion’s debut album is Can’t Turn Me Around (Bible and Tire Records). The album is “sacred soul,” music with the classic soul sound – horns and funky beats – but set to gospel harmonies.

These tunes hit that sweet spot  when “Saturday night and Sunday morning jump lanes.”

The band came from eastern North Carolina, around the city of Greenville and its small neighboring town of Farmville. Each trained in the church and the home, the group’s four vocalists – Anthony Daniels, Antwan Daniels, Dexter Weaver, and Marcus Sugg – share the bond of that upbringing and another more literal bond of kinship (they’re all family now through blood or marriage).

The group formed in 2014, reformed in 2018 after a personnel shuffle and recorded Can’t Turn Me Around in Memphis at Bruce Watson’s Delta-Sonic Sound in 2019.

Dig these grooves and “Retread your soul!”