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Ramblin' at Waterside


with Bob Zentz



Rhonda & Sparky Rucker

Hosted by Bob Zentz

November 4, 2009

The Listening Room at Dockmaster's inside Waterside

7:00 PM -- Admission free!


Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform throughout the U.S. as well as overseas, singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition. Sparky Rucker has been performing over forty years and is internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller, and author. He accompanies himself with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, banjo, and spoons. Rhonda Rucker is an accomplished harmonica, piano, banjo, and bones player, and also adds vocal harmonies to their songs.

Sparky and Rhonda are sure to deliver an uplifting presentation of toe-tapping music spiced with humor, history, and tall tales. They take their audience on an educational and emotional journey that ranges from poignant stories of slavery and war to an amusing rendition of a Brer Rabbit tale or their witty commentaries on current events. Their music includes a variety of old-time blues, slave songs, Appalachian music, spirituals, ballads, work songs, Civil War music, cowboy music, railroad songs, and a few of their own original compositions.

Sparky and Rhonda have numerous recordings, and their 1991 release, Treasures and Tears, was nominated for the W.C. Handy Award for Best Traditional Recording. They have also contributed music to the syndicated television miniseries The Wild West (directed by Kieth Merrill). Sparky's unique renditions of John Henry and Jesse James were used in the National Geographic Society’s 1994 video entitled Storytelling in North America. Sparky Rucker has also appeared on numerous radio programs, including National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Prairie Home Companion, and Mountain Stage. He also performed in Carry It On and Amazing Grace: Music in America, two videos produced by the Public Broadcasting System.

Sparky is a natural storyteller, having grown up hearing his father, uncles, and other family members endlessly telling tales. Sparky tells stories by himself, but Sparky and Rhonda also tell stories together (in tandem), always adding life and humor to the characters and tricksters in their Brer Rabbit tales, Jack tales, High John the Conqueror stories, preacher tales, and family stories.

Sparky & Rhonda Rucker Official Website:  http://www.sparkyandrhonda.com/

MySpace Site at: http://www.myspace.com/sparkyrhondarucker

NPR appearance on "On Point" at: http://www.onpointradio.org/2007/11/sparky-and-rhonda

Live appearance at the Kennedy Center:


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