'LIGHTS UP' THE BASEMENT!
JUNE 18, 2016
NOBODY DOES IT QUITE LIKE MINTON SPARKS! YOU HEAR ME? NOBODY! She hits the stage at The Basement in Nashville, TN, or Rowan Oak (the William Faulkner home) or Off Square Books, both in Oxford, MS, or at the Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, TN, and one begins to think, "Where am I, who is that up there, and what on Earth is she going to do?"
7 PM Minton Sparks $15
Minton shows up in simple attire, her hair just out of those pink rollers, and she is carrying her now-famous rather ordinary-looking pocket book like your mama carried back in the 1950's.
Minton Sparks weaves a spell over the crowd at The Basement
When she starts to spin a story, the listener is instantly drawn in, because here in the Deep South, we know these people she is talking about, or we know some like 'em. She brings along her enormously talented accompanist, John Jackson, who is at home on a guitar or two and even a banjo. His musical timing fits right into wherever Minton is in that tale she is spinning. It's a perfect match!
John Jackson warming up before the show
Minton Sparks has been at this thing for probably 30 years now, and her stories are filled with gossipy women she knew, men who often were not very nice to their women, little children, gas station attendants, her mama's purse, an open casket at a Southern funeral, the dairy bar at the neighborhood swimming pool, and even kids on a school bus headed to a game somewhere.
Minton Sparks captivates her audience
Minton Sparks' purse, part of her wonderful stories about life
As a Nashville native, this writer couldn't help but smile when Minton mentioned Green Hills Village and Richard Jones Road in one story. My own father walked for exercise in that area a million miles or more when we lived there. Mama even worked at Castner-Knott, when there was a Castner-Knott in Green Hills. Oooh's and aaah's erupted again when Minton mentioned Pat Summitt, retired top-tier coach of the women's basketball team at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I told you that Minton knows our story!
Our recent trip to hear Minton yet again brought us to The Basement, a three-story firetrap kind of a building across from Reservoir Park on 8th Avenue in Nashville, Tennessee. Development in the area has left the structure behind; however, Grimey's Record Shop still sells new and gently-used music on the main floor of the building. And there's The Basement where wonderful music and entertainment happens often. So, they're still carrying on and it's all OK by us!
The Basement, bottom floor at Grimey's Record Shop
The opener for the show was Miss Lauren Pratt. Lauren pointed out that the 'Miss' sticker on the front of her guitar had fallen off, but she would go ahead and play. Lauren performed the following songs: Down in the Valley, Days Like Tonight, Cocaine Gospel, and Things Fall Apart. Lauren writes her own music, sings extremely well, and plays that guitar with or without the missing 'Miss' sticker. We look for her to do great things in singing and songwriting.
Miss Lauren Pratt opening for Minton Sparks
Minton Sparks came on with John Jackson to accompany her. We will share her song list and throw in a few notes about a story or two:
If I Needed You (from the album "Gold Digger")
Vicki Pickle's Mama (there was talk in town)
Cluck, Cackle, and Peck (family members who could gossip with the best)
Assisi (town, St. Francis County, AR, kids called a boy 'a sissy')
Where You From? (Tennessee and Pat Head Summitt)
Granny Panties (Tom Jones concert)
The Streaker (in her family)
World Where Humans End and Birds Begin
Her Purse (the one you looked through at church when you were little and bored)
Hi, Helen (seniors who wave at someone and the arm jiggles a bit)
Giddy-Up Gibson (little boy and his mama's guitar)
Catch Minton Sparks whenever and wherever you can. She has CDs and DVDs at her website. You can learn more about this amazing performer by going to www.mintonsparks.com