Welcome to a soulful episode of Rock is Lit. If you’ve got a hankering for that sweet soul music—the kind that echoes with the sounds of Otis Redding, Al Green, Sly & The Family Stone, and Aretha Franklin—then you’re in for a treat. My fellow Tar Heel native Michael Parker is here to talk about his novel ‘If You Want Me to Stay’, a story in which 14-year-old narrator Joel Dunn, Jr., takes us on a poignant odyssey. Joel, Jr., shares the heartfelt tale of salvaging his family in the aftermath of his mother’s departure and his father’s unraveling sanity. From the rural landscapes of eastern North Carolina to the coastal vistas, Joel and his little brother Tank embark on a journey guided by junk food and the soulful melodies their daddy taught them to love.

Michael Parker is the author of three collections of short stories and seven other novels, including his most recent, 2022’s ‘I Am the Light of This World’. He is a three-time winner of the O. Henry Award for short fiction and winner of the 2020 Thomas Wolfe Award. Michael has taught for almost 30 years in the MFA program at UNC-G.

Catch Michael on Season 1 Episode 11 of Rock is Lit, when he joined me to discuss ‘I Am the Light of This World’.



  • R&B/Soul Music Funky Bass Royalty Free
  • Rock is Lit theme music
  • Clip from Season 3 Announcement/’Duck Tales’/Disney Channel
  • [Guitar Instrumental Beat] Sad Rock [Free Use Music] Punch Deck—“I Can’t Stop”
  • R&B/Soul Music Funky Bass Royalty Free
  • “(Do the) Push and Pull (Part 1)” by Rufus Thomas
  • “Gone to Carolina” by Shooter Jennings
  • “If You Want Me to Stay” by Sly & The Family Stone
  • “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell and The Drells
  • “People Get Ready” by Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions
  • “Ain’t No Way” by Aretha Franklin
  • “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of The Bay” by Otis Redding
  • “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers
  • “Call Me (Come Back Home)” by Al Green
  • Hollerin Contest Festival in Spivey’s Corner, CBS 17: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC7-Nuf2MYQ
  • “Love Train” by The O’Jays
  • Rock is Lit theme music




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Leave a rating and comment for Rock is Lit on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rock-is-lit/id1642987350

Michael Parker’s website: https://www.michaelfparker.com/

Michael Parker on Instagram: @texheel22

Michael Parker on Season 1 Episode 11 of Rock is Lit: https://www.christyalexanderhallberg.com/rockislitpodcast/michaelparkerandjeffplace

Christy Alexander Hallberg’s website: https://www.christyalexanderhallberg.com/

Christy Alexander Hallberg on Twitter, Instagram & YouTube@ChristyHallberg

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