?Imagine, if you will, Flannery O'Connor and the ghost of Hank Williams having an affair that results in the birth of an illegitimate child . . . . I have seen Minton Sparks. And if she's not the ghost child of the woman who wrote Wise Blood and the man who sang ?I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive,' then cotton doesn't grow in a cotton field.? Rocker, Marshall Chapman Fusing music, poetry, and her intoxicating gift for storytelling, wildly original spoken-word artist Minton Sparks continues to be in a category all her own.
Fusing music, poetry, and her intoxicating gift for storytelling, wildly original spoken-word artist Minton Sparks continues to be in a category all her own. ?Minton Sparks brings to the listener everything Southern from the sticky humid distress of pop-up thunder bumpers to the heartsick aftermath of love lost, gone wrong, starved, stuck, gossiped about to death, or otherwise misplaced.? Randy Moomaw
Minton Sparks travels extensively, performing at various universities, clubs, and music, poetry, and storytelling festivals to share her unique brand of performance poetry and creative writing workshops with audiences nationwide. This past year, Sparks appeared at Lincoln Center's American Songbook series alongside Rodney Crowell and Rosanne Cash and was a featured performer at the Jonesborough International Storytelling Festival.
Additionally, she has performed at The Belfast Songwriting Festival in Ireland, the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, and the Bowery Poetry Club, where she opened for Ben Folds. She also received rave reviews in Santa Barbara, California at the Trinity Backstage Songwriter Series. She has performed as an opening act for artists like Nancy Griffith and the renowned John Prine.
Sparks' unique brand of poetry and music has been showcased nationally on NPR's ?All Things Considered? and internationally on the BBC's ?Bob Harris Show? and the syndicated ?Woodsongs' Old Time Radio Hour.?
Ruckus Films recently featured Sparks in the provocative, brilliant, one-woman show, Open Casket, alongside world-class musicians: veteran Bob Dylan guitarist John Jackson, blues pianist Steve Conn, guitar and mandolin virtuoso Pat Flynn, and Irish singing sensation Maura O'Connell.
Thom Jurek (allmusic.com) hailed Sparks' CD debut on Dualtone, Middlin' Sisters, as "one of the finest spoken word recordings issued in America in more than ten years." On that recording she collaborated with the late, legendary Waylon Jennings and current singer/songwriter sensation Darrell Scott. Her second CD, This Dress, won "Spoken Word Record of the Year" in 2004 at the Just Plain Folk Music Awards, and The Chicago Sun Times named it one of the "Top Five Off the Beaten Path Records of 2003." This Dress features collaborations with artists like Keb' Mo' and Maura O'Connell.
Sin Sick, Sparks' most recent CD, was produced by Grammy-winning Gary Paczosa (Reba McEntire, John Prine, Alison Krauss, The Dixie Chicks). Throughout the album, Sparks' riveting spoken word guides listeners into the soul's dark struggle with moments of poignant comic relief. Drawing listeners into her world with charming familiarity and heart-breaking candor, Sparks picks the lock on her family's hidden stories and pulls each character up into her arms for a memorable dance across the stage. Along with John Jackson and Steve Conn, Sin Sick features Nickel Creek mandolinist Chris Thile and bluegrass sensation Abigail Washburn.
Sparks graduated from the University of the South with a B.A. in Psychology and earned an M.Ed. in Human Development Counseling from Vanderbilt University. Awarded the "Leonard Bernstein Fellowship" in 1998, Sparks used the grant to teach poetry classes in Tennessee high schools. She also served as adjunct professor of Psychology at Tennessee State University for 13 years. Sparks has published two books with Thomas Nelson Publishers, Desperate Ransom and White Lightning, and is working on a third. She resides in Nashville with her husband and two children.