Video interview with J.D. Wilkes (Paducah, Kentucky)


July 2, 2016

This Episode

An interview with the author of The Vine That Ate the South, J.D. Wilkes, shot by Mike Shiflet and Two Dollar Radio publisher Eric Obenauf at the author's home in Paducah, Kentucky.

The Vine That Ate the South front coverThe Vine That Ate the South (Two Dollar Radio, 2017) is a Homeric voyage that strikes at the very heart of American mythology. Two friends set out in pursuit of adventure and the legendary Kudzu couple—an elderly couple who quietly passed away in their homes only to be swallowed whole by a hungry vine. On their way, they encounter vampire cults, albino panthers, gun-toting property owners, and just about every folk demon imaginable.

In his NPR book review, Michael Schaub describes the book as "a relentlessly fun novel, the literary equivalent of a country-punk album that grabs you and refuses to let go. Wilkes has a perfect ear for the dialect of Kentucky, and his writing is so bright, you can almost see every abandoned shack, every kudzu-covered tree. Sure, it's bizarre, and at points almost gleefully obscene, but it's undeniably one of the smartest, most original Southern Gothic novels to come along in years."

Below is a video interview we produced and shot during the summer of 2016 while visiting J.D. at his home in Paducah, Kentucky, in which he talks about the origins of his first novel, the writing process, and what he hopes to accomplish with the work.



J.D. WILKES is an American visual artist, musician, author, filmmaker, and Kentucky Colonel. He is also an avid purveyor of traditional American music, an accomplished musician, and the charismatic frontman for the Legendary Shack Shakers, a band that has been described as a “dynamite group” by author/fan Stephen King, and whose music has been featured on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for HBO’s TrueBlood. Wilkes is the author of The Vine that Ate the South (Two Dollar Radio, 2017) and Barn Dances and Jamborees Across Kentucky (The History Press, 2013), an exploration of his state's rich folk music heritage.


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Two Dollar Radio is a family-run outfit founded in 2005 with the mission to reaffirm the cultural and artistic spirit of the publishing industry. We aim to do this by presenting bold works of literary merit, each book, individually and collectively, providing a sonic progression that we believe to be too loud to ignore. Check out the ABOUT US section to read more...

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