Thacker Mountain Radio and the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies partnered last night to host a radio show together as a part of this year’s Sarahfest, an annual month-long celebration of women and their accomplishments.
Held at Rowan Oak, friends of the Isom Center and music fans alike gathered on the lawn to watch female artists showcase their work.
After Thacker Mountain Radio host Jim Dees opened the show with house band the Yalobushwhackers, he introduced the three performers.
First was singer-songwriter Tasche de la Rocha. Donning a steel guitar, she and her bass player serenaded the audience with three of her ‘50s-style rock singles. One of the songs, “Puppy Dog,” will be on her new album.
After de la Rocha, Dees welcomed Ashley M. Jones, a published poet, Birmingham native and founder of the Magic City Poetry Festival. A teacher at the Alabama School for the Arts, Jones said that she always looks for new material amongst her students.
“There are so many new poets today speaking on different issues, and I love that,” she said. “I’m not a dead white guy, so I can’t relate to Shakespeare.”
Jones recited five pieces of her poetry, and four out of the five appear in her new book “dark // thing.” Her final poem of the night was a haiku based on the Children’s March in 1963. Jones said she gets inspired by historical events and the emotions behind the people involved in them.
“A lot of my poems are historical,” she told Dees. “I think often we see emotions as flat, but emotions are multifaceted, especially anger… I try to put that into my poetry.”
Julia James, a sophomore public policy leadership and journalism major, said she attended the radio show after her sister invited her.
“I grew up coming to arts events like these,” she said. “In a lot of ways, you get to see a whole new perspective from the artists, especially the poetry.”
Hope Clayburn’s Soul Scrimmage, a classic funk band featuring saxophone, bass, drum set and a jazz flute, was the final performer of the night. Led by soul singer Hope Clayburn, the band played a trio of funky jazz that encouraged audience members to dance until the end of the radio hour.
Theresa Starkey, associate director of the Isom Center, said the event was a success.
“It honestly couldn’t have gone any better,” Starkey said. “I’m very grateful that I have such great community partners that come together with us to create something like this.”
This event kicks off the last week of Sarahfest. Effie Burt will do an interview with LMR Live on Tuesday night, then play a concert in Nutt Auditorium on Friday night. There will be queer studies lectures on campus on both Thursday and Friday.