Sparky and Rhonda Rucker in Concert

What: Cornell Folk Song Club Concert
When: Saturday, March 11, 2006
Where: 165 McGraw Hall
Cornell University
How Much: $15 advance / $17 door / usual discounts

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker

Based in Tennessee, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker will cross the Blue Ridge Mountains to brave the cold March winds of Ithaca. Their concert will provide its own heat with their infectious humor, quick-witted sociopolitical commentary, and passion for traditional songs and stories from the past - ballads of Appalachia, slavery, the Civil War, cowboys and railroads, gospel and blues - with relevance today. A freedom song from the civil rights movement may follow the tale of John Henry and lead into some driving blues or an original composition.

Sparky Rucker is dynamic and spell-binding in performance, with a rich, expressive voice and distinctive, rhythmic guitar style. His powerhouse, big-boned slide blues (learned from some of the old-time greats) is complemented by Rhonda's vocal harmonies, shake-it-up keyboard, and wild, lonesome harmonica. Banjo, spoons, bones, and hambone liven the mix. Among the Folk Song Society's favorite performers, Sparky and Rhonda have a special knack for getting their audience to participate whole-heartedly; their energy is unmatched. It's always a joy to have this duo back.

James "Sparky" Rucker is a superb, internationally recognized African American folklorist, musician, storyteller, author, and serious historian who researches his material with dedication. A former schoolteacher and a child of segregated schools, he can't help himself from educatin' his audience. His storytelling has been featured in National Geographic productions and has won the Hurston-Hughes Award, and he has eleven acclaimed recordings to his credit, five of them with Rhonda. These veteran performers (more than 40 years for Sparky, more than 15 for Rhonda) are completely at home whether on the stage of a major folk festival or concert hall, doing an NPR interview, or sitting in a circle with a bunch of mesmerized kids.

With endorsements from U. Utah Phillips ("It's an absolute must to see Sparky in concert!") and Phil Shapiro, host of Bound for Glory ("I'll praise them to the treetops!"), you don't want to miss this show.

Tickets are available at Ludgate Farm Market, Ithaca Guitar Works, Greenstar Co-op, Small World Music, Colophon Books, and, if any are left, at the door. You may also order tickets online and by mail: SASE to CFSC, PO Box 481, Ithaca, NY 14851.

(Margaret Shepard)

For information about the concert, contact

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