J. D. Wilkes is an American visual artist, musician, author, filmmaker, and lead singer of the Legendary Shack Shakers, whose latest album is After You've Gone. Wilkes is the author of a book of nonfiction, Barn Dances and Jamborees Across Kentucky, and the novel The Vine That Ate the South, described by NPR as "Undeniably one of the smartest, most original Southern Gothic novels to come along in years.” His new album is Fire Dream.
A Kentucky Music Issue web exclusive: J. D. Wilkes’s Jackson Purchase.
The richness of the Jackson Purchase has served so many artists and thinkers over the years, the least of which includes your author. From the kudzu-choked ghost tracks of the L&N railroad to the charcoal-sketch vistas of our silver winters, the Purchase continuously impresses upon us its mysticism, its regional transcendence. I set every song, story, and film I create somewhere within its fables. Here are a few of its surviving, gothic destinations.