Like other great spoken-word performers such as Don Van Vliet and Little Rock, Ark.-born tale-spinner Ross Johnson, Minton Sparks uses blues-based music to accompany her narratives. Van Vliet constructed intricate backdrops for his surrealistic outpourings, and Johnson favors demented R&B to flavor his Memphis-specific psychodramas, but Sparks relies on gentle acoustic guitar and piano accompaniment by such Nashville stalwarts as John Jackson and Steve Conn. Born in Murfreesboro in 1962, Sparks specializes in stories about Southern womanhood — her compositions feature tough females who light their cigarettes from matches they strike on their zippers, suburban snake handlers, and the consequences of marrying life insurance salesmen named Larry. The prestigious Fellowship of Southern Writers gave her their 2011 spoken-word award — a category apparently created specifically for Sparks. If you’ve ever wondered about the appeal of kinfolk with pork-rind fingers, Sparks will fill you in.
Thu, Aug 22 | 7:00 PM