The folks at Billboard seem just as fascinated with Nashville-based “speaker-songwriter” Minton Sparks as the rest of us.
In trying to define Sparks’s genre-defying work, Chuck Dauphin makes a few attempts:
“Some might call her a musician. They would be right. Some might call her a lyricist, a poet, perhaps. Again, the definition would be right on. No matter what you might want to call her, the spoken word artist certainly strikes a chord in her audience.”
The article especially focuses on the way Sparks’s work fits into the tradition of storytelling. Her newest spoken-word CD, Gold Digger—which Chapter 16’s Sarah Norris called “a forty-two-minute joyride through the desert at night with the windows open and the headlights off”—includes a track titled “Tennessee Prison for Women,” a tale which Sparks claims as “her own personal story.” This kind of story, according to Dauphin, have made Sparks “a favorite of her audience, who continue to identify with her work in growing numbers.” Swelling those numbers: Sparks’s recent appearances at the Grand Ole Opry and at the Conference on Southern Literature, where she was rewarded the very first Spoken Word Award by the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Whatever Sparks’s genre may be, her occupation as a word-crafter and a storyteller is clearly flourishing.
For more updates on Tennessee authors, please visit Chapter 16’s News & Notes page, here.