Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, acclaimed folk singers, interweave storytelling with history and blues into their concerts. This husband-and-wife team, Maryville residents, perform professionally all over the United States, including at Carnegie Hall, as well as abroad.
Internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller and author, Rucker accompanies himself with finger style 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.
For the third Hot Summer Nights concert at the Blount County Public Library, Sparky and Rhonda Rucker will perform on Thursday, Aug. 21, at 7 p.m.
As a couple, they blend their research and musical talents to share pieces of history wherever they go as Rucker’s gravelly vocals and acoustic blues harmonize with Rhonda’s sorrowful harmonics.
Growing up black in Knoxville and from a family of preachers and policemen, Rucker began playing guitar at age eleven, fell in love with blues and then with stories and history from the American folk tradition. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, Rucker taught school in Chattanooga. A social activist in the Civil Rights Movement, he played freedom songs at rallies and sit-ins with other folk singers such as Guy Carawan and Pete Seeger. During performances, the scholarly research interests are evident in the music and stories.
Their 1991 recording, “Treasures and Tears,” was nominated for the W. C. Handy Award for Best Traditional Recording.
Free and open to the public, the program is at the Blount County Public Library, located at 508 N. Cusick Street, Maryville.
For further information about other library programs or services, call the library at 865-982-0981 or visit the Web site at www.blountlibrary.org.