‘We Cast A Shadow’ into the future of race relations with Maurice Carlos Ruffin plus Memphis songwriter Amy LaVere and blues with The Kinsey Report!

A funny, beautiful - and sometimes - horrifying - look into the future plus rockin' blues and cool, original tunes from Memphis

October 10, 2020 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, October 10, The Thacker Mountain Radio Hour welcomes this year’s John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, Maurice Carlos Ruffin and his “energetic and acrobatic” novel, We Cast A Shadow. Our musical guests are Memphis Americana songwriter, Amy LaVere and rocking blues brothers, The Kinsey Report.

Hosts: Jim Dees and our house band, the Yalobushwhackers

Air times:

Saturday. October 10 – 7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting

9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio

3 pm (ET) WUTC – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Thursdays 6 pm (CT) WUMS – University of Mississippi

Fridays 9 am (CT) On air only –  WYXR Memphis Community Radio



Maurice Carlos Ruffin

The plot of Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s debut novel, We Cast A Shadow (One World Random House) concerns a future world when a procedure is offered to Black citizens that can radically alter their appearance. They can get their lips thinned, their skin bleached, and their nose narrowed. A complete demelanization—if you can afford it.

In this near-future, a Southern city is plagued by fenced-in ghettos and police violence, thus more and more residents are turning to this experimental medical procedure. Like any father, our narrator just wants the best for his son, Nigel, a biracial boy whose black birthmark is getting bigger by the day. The darker Nigel becomes, the more frightened his father feels. But how far will he go to protect his son? And will he destroy his family in the process?

This electrifying, hallucinatory novel is at once a keen satire of surviving racism in America and a profoundly moving family story. The novel is a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

“An incisive and necessary work of brilliant satire.”—Roxane Gay

A New Orleans native, Ruffin is a professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University, and the 2020-2021 John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at Ole Miss.


Amy LaVere

Memphis Americana songwriter Amy LaVere’s latest album, Painting Blue (Nine Mile Records) was produced by her husband-guitarist Will Sexton.

Check out the cool video (with the Barnes Brothers) for Amy’s song, Girlfriends.

“… the subtleness of the album, from LaVere’s lyrics to her muslin-wrapped vocals, are what make this such an interesting record. It’s unpredictable but not in a jarring way. Instead, LaVere has crafted an album with the delightful surprise quotient of an antique store in a town undiscovered by hipsters.” – No Depression

“A richly rewarding album that deals with dark and personal issues.” – Americana UK

Her previous albums include, Halleluiah I’m A Dreamer (2015), Runaway’s Diary (2014 – produced by Luther Dickinson), Stranger Me (2011), Anchors and Anvils (2007 – produced by Jim Dickinson) and This World Is Not My Home (2005).

The Kinsey Report

The Kinsey Report are brothers, vocalist/guitarist Donald, drummer/vocalist Ralph, and bassist/vocalist Kenneth. They are known for their tours and records with their late father, Lester “Big Daddy” Kinsey, as Big Daddy Kinsey and the Kinsey Report. In more recent years, the band has expanded their sound beyond Chicago blues to include reggae, rock, funk, and soul.

Their albums include the EP, I’ll Be Standing.