"Hearts As One" single release

 

After 40 incredible years with she who is my wife, my soulmate & best friend, it was time to write a song for her. "Hearts As One" is the love theme to the story of our life together. The single is available now on CDBaby.com, iTunes, Amazon & www.ricksparksmusic.net.

 

1st Review for "Matilda's Flowers!"

 

Receiving the first review on a new album is always special! Many thanks to Kathy Parsons at MainlyPiano.com for her nice review of Matilda's Flowers. You can read her full review on my Reviews page, but here are a few excerpts: 

"Matilda is remembered as a strong but gentle woman 'who loved flowers, her family and her Lord Jesus,' and these songs express those qualities so well. The album begins with the title track, a warm and affectionate piano solo that reflects the sweet innocence of the cover artwork. The painting is of a young girl picking an armload of flowers in a field - the piece is a favorite!" 

"Memories of Her makes me think of Kevin Kern’s tender melodies - always a treat!" 

"I love Sparks’ arrangement of (the Sting hit) Fields of Gold! It begins with the sound of heavy rainfall and thunder, giving way to flute, keyboard and strings - gorgeous and soul-satisfying!" 

"Mountain Laurel is another favorite. A piano solo for most of the first half of the piece, strings and wordless vocals are added to the second half. I love the graceful simplicity of the melody and the contented feeling of the piece."

"Old Tennessee is a nostalgic look back to a less complicated time - also a favorite." 

"Tildy’s Waltz is a charming solo piano waltz that alternates between major and minor modes, giving the piece a bittersweet taste - my favorite piece on the album!

"Nearer My God To Thee is said to have been played by the ship’s orchestra as the Titanic sank in 1912, the year of Matilda’s wedding. Sparks has arranged it as a lovely piano solo that brings the album to a close."

"Matilda's Flowers is an excellent second release from Rick Sparks! It is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Recommended!" -Kathy Parsons, MainlyPiano.com, September 19, 2016

 

5 songs now on SiriusXM!

 

Received word yesterday that SiriusXM Radio has added my recording of Beautiful to their Escape channel 69! It's my favorite Gordon Lightfoot song & my first recording to be added to Escape. That makes 5 songs from the Endless album now in rotation on SiriusXM! (The other 4 songs from Endless are on Spa channel 68.) https://www.siriusxm.com/escape

 

"Matilda's Flowers" now available!

 

"Matilda's Flowers" CDs & downloads are now available through my Music Store on this website (via CD Baby), Amazon & iTunes.

Packaging on the CD could not be more beautiful, a perfect representation of the music inside. I'm so grateful for these songs that God poured through me during this project. I believe Matilda would love them, too. :)

 

Matilda's Flowers liner notes

 

Thought you might enjoy the liner notes to Matilda's Flowers, with the backstory to "the 1912 girl named Matilda." It was a privilege to honor my grandmother with this album.

 

We're on SiriusXM!

 

For all you SiriusXM radio subscribers, I just received word that Ch. 68 Spa has added at least 4 songs off my "Endless" CD. :) :) :)

 

Near the finish line!

 

I am excited to report that, after two months of hard work (& even a few tears), the music of Matilda's Flowers is finished! I wrote & recorded the album of piano-based songs around the theme of "the girl named Matilda." In 1912, Matilda Angeline Cannon turned 18 and married her sweetheart, my grandfather. Matilda would live a long life, raise a large family (5 boys & 2 girls) and was a wonderful, sweet woman who loved flowers, her family and her Lord Jesus.

For my part, the tears would come occasionally with my memories of Matilda throughout the production of "her" album. I only knew her in her golden years, but Tildy's wonderful 1912 engagement picture was a constant inspiration as I wrote & recorded the 7 original songs (of 10). Matilda was raised by a loving Tennessee family after her parents died when she was just a little girl. She grew into a beautiful, strong yet gentle woman whose prayers for me as a young boy still resonate in my life today. It was a privilege to honor her with these songs.

I recorded two hymns of her era, including the final song on the album. Nearer, My God, to Thee was famously played by the orchestra of the Titanic as the ship sank in 1912, the year of Matilda's wedding. That song was the central theme of my grandmother's life - her constant faith & devotion to the Lord was a hallmark of Matilda's existence. She would happily tell you that she couldn't have done it without her faith in Christ. I would gladly say the same for my life & this album.

At this point, I am carefully reviewing all the musical & graphic elements of the album before sending it off for manufacturing & distribution. As with EndlessMatilda's Flowers will be available on CD as well as digitally through iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, etc. We'll also be sending the album to music reviewers as we prepare to promote Matilda's Flowers to broadcast radio stations (think NPR) & online outlets.

So how does the music sound? I'll let you decide, but I love these songs & can't wait to get them out. Between now & the album release in mid-August, I'll post some song excerpts to my artist page on Facebook as well as my YouTube channel.

Stay tuned!

 

 

New album update

 

It's mid-June - after five weeks and countless hours in the studio, half the new album is now complete! The album title is Matilda's Flowers, after my grandmother, Matilda Angeline Fortner. All seven of the originals (out of 10) on the album are for her, as is the perfect album cover (she loved flowers) by 19th century artist Ludwig Knaus. Songs finished to this point are Fields of Gold (the Sting hit), Matilda's FlowersSimple LoveTildy's Waltz and Nothing But the BloodFive more songs to go with summer speeding by, but we're on schedule for release in August. Endless set the bar high for this album, so I'm sweating the creative & production details to make it the absolute best I'm capable of. Be sure to check my artist page (Rick Sparks Music) on Facebook for updates! 

 

 

ZMR Awards update

 

A check of the ZMR (Zone Music Reporter) site for 2015 album nominees reveals that Endless didn't make the 2nd round of voting. To be honest, it was a huge honor just to be considered. For Endless to go to #7 on the national radio airplay charts in Dec. '14 is a thrill I will never forget.

My new album, Matilda's Flowers, is set for release in August. I'll be sharing more about that as the year progresses, but I'm planning at least 5 originals this time around. Am already working on arrangements for a couple of the cover songs - achingly lovely music.

 

BIG NEWS!

 

BIG NEWS! I have received word from my radio promoter that Endless has qualified for the 2015 ZMR (Zone Music Reporter) Music Awards in two categories: "ALBUM OF THE YEAR" & "BEST PIANO - W. INSTRUMENTATION!"

Totally & utterly unexpected but wonderful news. There are two rounds of nomination voting in February - if we survive that, then Endless will be one of the 5 finalist albums in either or both categories. The winners will be announced at the 12th Annual ZMR Music Awards on Saturday, May 7th, at the Joy Theater in New Orleans.

Whether we win or not, I'm grateful for the whole experience of recording Endless & receiving such a great response from radio, the reviewers and my friends. Most of all, thanks to my Lord Jesus for inspiring this album & my lovely wife's constant support, encouragement & love.