New album coming!

 

END OF YEAR UPDATE: I've been hard at work in my studio over the last several weeks. Would you believe I've already recorded 6 new songs for a late spring album release?! Tentative tile is "Nightfall London" & the album will include "In the Bleak Midwinter," released just last week.

Will keep you updated as the new year progresses, but just want to again thank all of you who bought my music during 2016! Also, airplay by SiriusXM was HUGE for Rick Sparks Music this year, as they added at least 7 of my songs to their Spa & Escape channels (68 & 69) since early summer. No doubt about it: God is good. 

Peace, joy & love in the New Year!

 

New Christmas single

 

Leave it to me to release a new Christmas recording 5 days before December the 25th.  But in the midst of all the wonderful music of the season, I couldn't help but begin work last week on a new recording of one of my absolute favorite Christmas carols.

The lovely melody by Gustav Holst & the simple yet powerful lyrics by Christina Rossetti make "In the Bleak Midwinter" a standout of the season. I hope you enjoy my version & many thanks for helping to make 2016 a standout year for my music. The single is available now for download from Amazon, iTunes & here on my artist website in the Music Store.

Merry Christmas!

 

"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!