Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light!

New Orleans funk, indie rock and laughs from the front lines of southern womanhood!

Recorded at Hal & Mal’s in Jackson, MS as the concluding event of the 2022 Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, MS, this show has it all: laughs, funky music and, best of all for our crew, air-conditioning!

Guests: Southern humorist Helen EllisBring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light

Music: New Orleans soul/funk band Water Seed and Jackson, MS indie band, Empty Atlas

Hosts: Jim Dees and Thacker house band, the Yalobushwhackers with special guest, Jim “Fish” Michie!


Presented by The Community Foundation for Mississippi

with additional support from Hilton Garden Inn & the Rug Place

Air times:

Thursday, August 25 – 6:00 pm (CT) WUMS – University of Mississippi

Friday, August 26 – 6 am WYXR 91.7 FM Community Radio – Memphis, TN.

Saturday, August 27–3 pm (ET) WUTC – 88.1 FM – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

7pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting

9pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio

Archives: Thacker Mountain SoundCloud




Helen Ellis

Helen Ellis, the bestselling author of American Housewife and Southern Lady Code returns with Bring Your Baggage and Don’t Pack Light (Doubleday) an “inspiring, hilarious, straight-to-the-point” (Entertainment Weekly) collection of essays.

In these twelve comic and, often moving pieces, Helen Ellis dishes on married middle-age sex, sobs with a theater full of women as a psychic exorcises their sorrows, gets twenty shots of stomach bile to the neck to get rid of her double chin, and gathers up the courage to ask, “Are you there, Menopause? It’s Me, Helen.”

“Ellis’ prose is filled with so many laugh lines, you might want to go ahead and book the Botox…” – NPR

Raised in Alabama, Ellis lives with her husband in New York City.


Water Seed

Water Seed is a funk fusion band from New Orleans. Mixing the sounds of James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Prince and Earth Wind and Fire, Water Seed captures a modern sound that bridges the musical gap a la Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson and Childish Gambino.

Their latest album, Say, Yeah rose into the Top 20 on the Billboard R&B charts.

“What ever IT is they are drenched in IT.”
– Cyril Neville

Empty Atlas

Empty Atlas is an indie rock band from Jackson, MS. The band includes Micah Smith (lead vocals; rhythm guitar), Alex Ingram (bass and keys), Brennan Michael White (lead guitar; vocals) and Robert Currie Hansford (drums).

Empty Atlas’ debut album is Hestia. Their latest single is Half-Magic.

Jim "Fish"Michie

Jim “Fish” Michie is known as the piano player for the Tangents, a hard driving Delta R&B band from the 1980-90s. In recent years, Michie has collaborated with jazz singer, Kristian Dambrino.

The duo’s CD, Bluer Than This, won the 2017 Mississippi Institute for Arts and Letters Award for Best Popular Music Composition.

Michie will fill the piano chair for the Yalobushwhacker’s performance.