Thacker Mountain Radio will be having its 20th anniversary show at The Lyric Oxford at 6 p.m. Thursday with special guest Finn Murphy, author of “The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road,” who will be the evening’s keynote speaker. It will be a community-based event and admittance is free and open to the public.
“The book is about two things,” Murphy said. “The first is what life is like out on the road for a long-haul truck driver, and in addition to that, the moving diaspora effect that Americans seem to be addicted to. Forty-one million Americans move every year, which is equivalent to one-eighth of the population.”
He features the people he meets and interacts with in his book and talks about what their plans and aspirations are. Most are upper-middle class and routinely wealthy, whereas he is a working-class truck driver. He illustrates this dichotomy in his book and talks about an intimate and immediate connection he has with the people he works with.
“I know more about people in 30 minutes than their best friend knows about them in 30 years,” he said.
Murphy’s book, which chronicles his experiences on the road, was published by the independent publisher W.W. Norton in New York in June. It has earned rave reviews in The New York Times, the New York Post, The New Yorker, the Los Angeles Times and several other publications.
His trailer is expected to be parked in front of The Lyric, if parking is available. It will be wrapped in vinyl with his book cover.
“One of the important differences with the book tour I’m doing is I’m going around the country with a tractor trailer,” Murphy said. “I’m not flying down to Oxford. I’m driving around the country, bringing my book to America.”
Leading organizers of the event have voiced excitement about the radio show and having acclaimed author Finn Murphy coming to speak.
“This is a special event, and we are lucky to have such great guests including veteran driver Finn Murphy. His memoir is informative, humorous and beautifully detailed,” Lyn Roberts, general manager of Square Books, said.
Jim Dees, host of the Thacker Mountain Radio Show, said he is excited to have Murphy at the anniversary show.
“His book, ‘The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life on the Road,’ represents his completing years of travel, crisscrossing the country,” Dees said. “We feel like our radio show — 20 years old this week — has also completed a long haul on the airwaves. Of course, we’re not retiring. We’re looking forward to 20 more years of memories.”
Murphy said he is excited about landing this gig at a radio show.
“I typically do very informal events, because I like to use lunacy, humor, and anecdotes here and there,” Murphy said. “My publisher found out about this event in Oxford and that Square Books offers authors a chance to do press on his/her book, so we jumped on the opportunity.”
The event will be a celebration of the show itself and of the crew, house band, patrons and audience members who have helped keep Thacker alive and thriving for 20 years. Four guests have been booked for the night’s festivities, one literary and three musical. Finn Murphy will head the cast as the literary guest and musical guests will include Kenny Brown, Bonnie Bishop and Jimbo Mathus. The original house band, “The Sincere Ramblers,” will also be returning to perform.