Friday, July 21, 2017

City Winery - Nashville, TN
July 16, 2017
       CAROLINE HERRING showed up on stage at the City Winery in Nashville, TN, on a recent Sunday evening, and she completely charmed the roomful of fans and supporters! She even brought some members of her fan club! We were not familiar with her work, but we are now! We bought a couple of her newer CDs, and they haven't left the CD player in the car. We hope to hear more from this talented singer-songwriter who reminds us a little bit of the late Kate Wolf with a tad of Joni Mitchell thrown in for good measure. There's no doubt that Caroline Herring stands on her own, and her story-songs will transport the listener to another place and time. Did you know that twenty years ago, this Atlanta-based artist co-founded the very popular "Thacker Mountain Radio" which comes out of Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB)? We are regular listeners at 90.3 FM from Oxford, MS.
Caroline Herring performing at Nashville City Winery
 Here are the songs she sang for the packed house: Wise Woman (went to the mountain and came back a 'wise woman'), Tales of the Islander (about artist Walter Anderson, from Caroline's album "Golden Apples of the Sun"), The Great Unknown (loosely based on Dante's "Inferno"),Meadows of Dan and Black Mountain Lullaby (a medley about Cecil Sharp's song-collecting in Appalachia in the 1920's), Thin Places (mesmerizing places for the Celts of early Scotland that jolt us out of old ways of seeing the world), and Sam's Song ("curled up in your little bed / one little curl upon your head") 
       And did you also know that one of her favorite artists it comes...Minton Sparks?
L to R: Caroline Herring and Minton Sparks after
performances at Nashville City Winery
In addition to her appearance with Minton Sparks at City Winery on July 16, 2017, Caroline Herring can also be seen at the following venues:  July 23, 2017 - Hindman Settlement School Appalachian Writers' Workshop, Hindman, KY; and October 27, 2017 - Eddie's Attic in Decatur, GA, for her CD Release Party.
       MINTON SPARKS may resemble your kindergarten teacher as she stands before you, simple attire and a lacy handkerchief tucked into her belt, hair up in a loose bun, and comfy low beige heels. Don't let that fool you! This Tennessee storytelling artist with roots from here to Arkansas and beyond has some hard-hitting stories of family life down South that will make  you howl and weep, often in the same moment. She has the art of the spoken word down pat! You know the people in her stories without really knowing them personally: Abusers of women and children, mean drunks, cigarette-puffin' aunts (called Cluck, Cackle and Peck), loose women like Vickie Pickle's mama, gold diggers, women in prison who are hardened by life itself, carnival workers (Wanna go faster on the Tilt-a-Whirl?), a granny who threw undies at Tom Jones at Murphy Center (MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN), hoping to play basketball one day for the legendary Pat Summitt (Which young girl didn't want to play for her?), and even an incident when meeting Minnie Pearl. One of Minton's most touching stories concerns a grandmother's purse, which Minton inherited after the grandmother's funeral. The contents of the purse resembled those of our own dear mother, and maybe yours, except for a very special letter. We shall let Minton tell you about that.
Minton Sparks accompanied by John Jackson at
Nashville City Winery
     We have followed Minton Sparks' career since we first heard her on "A Prairie Home Companion" and thought to ourselves, " Who IS THIS?" I knew 30 years ago that I wanted to hear more stories and to watch her work her magic with a little dancing and great use of her arms and her entire body, all of it accompanied by the very talented John Jackson on guitar, banjo, and an occasional vocal lick. We have been fortunate enough to see Minton at Rowan Oak, the home of author William Faulkner in Oxford, MS, and in Memphis, TN, at the Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center, in Nashville, TN, at The Basement and also at City Winery. Oh, and at we saw her at least once at Off Square Books, Oxford, MS. We're loyal fans!
       There are so many stories that we will skip through with a few words to identify the ones we heard on July 16, 2017, at City Winery on Lafayette Street in Nashville: (singing): "If I Needed You, Would You Come to Me", Slick Willie Webb and Muffin Top, Opal Potts' Obituary, Where I'm From, Back Then More Than Now, Her Purse, Strip Mall Carnival, Gold Digger, Tennessee Prison for Women, Fight Club (happened at home and involved harsh discipline with whippin's and a Hot Wheels track), Suburban Snakehandler, and Minnie Pearl in a club having a snifter of sherry.
       Minton Sparks can be seen and heard on July 29, 2017 at Eddie's Attic in Atlanta, GA, with Lonnie Holley; and on August 6, 2017, at Nashville City Winery with singer Marshall Chapman.
For more information:
Caroline Herring
Minton Sparks
Caroline and Minton can be seen on YouTube as well
These artists have wonderful CDs and even a DVD or two.