Tori Sparks
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Tori Sparks

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“The talented Tori Sparks… is a knockout…”
--Joe McCombs, The Village Voice

“Here’s a singer/songwriter with the strong, eloquent vocals of Bonnie Raitt and the guitar mastery of Joni Mitchell. Her second indie release Under this Yellow Sun is a bounty of subtle rock and haunting blues…
--Nancy Dunham, Relix

“Tori Sparks’ voice isn’t one of those passive instruments that treats a lyric like it’s a classified ad… Here is a supple, teasing voice that flutters and flies seemingly without effort from note to note, line to line, so that weepy sensitivity and pleading vulnerability cozy up with tough resilience and firm resolve so seamlessly you never even notice the mood swing.”
--Jeff Tamarkin, Harp Magazine

“Tori Sparks is one of those independent singer-songwriters who’s so driven it seems like signing with a record label would only slow her down. Sparks sings with distinct intensity—Scorpion is bluesy folk-rock in a Tom Waits vein: rough-edged, worldly-wise and potent.
--Jewly Hight, The Nashville Scene

“Sparks needs little in the way of effects or layering to get her music across… strong and fabulous…”
--Jason MacNeil, PopMatters

“Tori Sparks [is] a folky singer/songwriter graced with a fiery, gutsy delivery worthy of Ani DiFranco…” [5 stars]
-- Margaret Reges; All Music Guide

“A sensuous blend of folk, blues and rock. … Sparks proves herself a soulful songwriter and vocalist who at once manages both strength and vulnerability. An assured, auspicious disc that should bring [Sparks] deserved national attention.” [4 stars]
--Amanda Schurr; Creative Loafing

“Under This Yellow Sun, the second offering from songbird Tori Sparks, is drenched in drama, featuring Sparks’ torrid vocals splashed over self-penned, alternative roots-rock numbers that sizzle with authenticity.”
— LCB, Performing Songwriter

"With the grit of Chrissie Hynde, the sadness of Martha Davis in the Motels, and the pure sensualness of Margo Timmins from the Cowboy Junkies, this girl hurls you onto planet Sparks and leaves you there ...[Tori Sparks] is truly, one of the most original artists I have heard in a long, long time."
--Rebecca Rego, Music News Nashville

“Tori Sparks manages to avoid the misstep of sounding like every other coffeehouse-circuit singer… [She] wisely avoids the write-the-same-song-twelve-times approach favored by many young artists. Every track on Under This Yellow Sun sounds like Tori Sparks, but none of the songs sounds like another one.”
--Bill Kopp; Skope Magazine

“Those are the songwriting skills of someone like Roseanne Cash…[Tori] has Springsteen a la Nebraska or Darkness on the Edge of Town magic about it.”
--Jon Delange, Tinderbox Music

"Tori is a treat to have live in the studio... An excellent songwriter with incredible, fun energy."
--Nick James; WFPK 91.9FM Louisville

“[Tori Sparks] has displayed...a voice that is equal parts elegant, striking and rangy, while her songs can be soothing, evocative, or energetic.”
-- Ron Wynn; Nashville City Paper

“Tori Sparks is… a guitar whiz.”
-- Steve Shanafelt; The Mountain Xpress (Bele Chere Festival Preview)

“Tori Sparks is aptly named – she definitely has that spark in her performance!”
-- Chuck Leavell; Pianist for the Rolling Stones (1982 – present)

“Besides her great talent, Tori is also one of the hardest-working independent artists out there.”
-- Michael Jonathan; Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour

"[Tori] is an excellent songwriter... Her songs are well crafted, personal and at times introspective. ... More than anything, Sparks deserves to be recognized for her voice. It can take her about anywhere she wants -- it's that good."
--David Bowling, The DailyVault

“There is a very sensual quality to her voice. It just drips with emotion... damn near heartbreaking…The songs are well written, interesting and catchy without being trite. The musicianship is fabulous…"
--Amy Lotsberg; Collected Sounds

“[Sparks] packs a wallop of a voice… each song proves that she’s more than just a pretty face.”
--Paul Barbatano; Dayton City Paper

“Just damn good… [an] exuberant and muscular vocalist/songwriter/guitarist.”
--Chris Uebbing; Infringe This!

“[Tori] should add The Pretenders to [her] list of influences. In a good way. I’d take that any day.”
--Ben Folds

"[Tori's] dynamic live show is equal parts soulful singing and zany stand-up-style humor... falls somewhere between Dixie rock, folk blues, and Americana."
--Joyce Arnold; City at Night Magazine

“Sparks’ bluesy vocals and intensely rhythmic groove paints a sexy and sultry sound that’s a joy to hear in any venue… [the] songstress rocked the room, drew listeners from tables in the back to the stage front and pulled people in from off the street (yes, during SXSW) to hear her…”
--Anny Randel, Savvant Music

“Sparks. . . [has] stuck to her muse and it was exactly what people wanted.”
--John Stoehr; Savannah Morning News

“Americana-Rock artist Tori Sparks sounds like one tough, passionate cookie. Her voice has the gritty blues of countrified Etta James and the cool growl of Janis Joplin. [Under This Yellow Sun] is blessedly full of simple truth, kick ass guitar riffs and soul baring song writing. … It's obvious that Tori Sparks is the real thing.”
-- Carolina Jones; Unsigned Magazine

"A fearless performer, she is notorious for her blend of quirky humor and fiery delivery and has fused a sound and astyle that is unmistakably her own."
--Cassaundra Baber; Utica Life & Times

“I found her vocal stylings interesting, different…Her music possesses a grit and angst not heard much today…”
--Brooke Welu, Northeast InTune Magazine

“…Both concise and taut mixtures of lyrics with music that are thoughtful and evocative without being pretentious. … Discover Sparks’ powerful voice now…!”
--Ron Saranich, Cosmik Debris

"All of her hard work is starting to pay off... Yet, with all the apparent beginnings of commercial success, Sparks remains incredibly focused on the reason she sings and plays: the passion that fuels the creation of her music."
-Don Swaby, Melt Magazine

“When Tori began to sing I got chills down my entire body. I have never been in a room where a woman, or man’s for that matter; voice can bring me to that level. ...From song to song, I just wanted more... The show was a success from every possible angle. After a few hours of stories from Tori, I was nothing short of completely satisfied.”
-- Ricky Lee Potts, IndyConcerts.com

“Tori can rock so seductively then revert to a striking emotive process. . . there is nothing formulaic that you can pigeon-hole."
--Carmine Pascuzzi; Media Search (Australia)

“[Tori's] dynamic live show is equal parts soulful singing and zany stand-up-style humor...”
-- Dave Drebes; Arch City Chronicle

“Sparks’ hard work and constant touring is starting to pay off… Musically, Sparks doesn’t sound much like… any other young female singer-songwriter you’ve ever heard.”
-- Michael Summers; Fort Wayne Reader

“This multi-talented artist really struts her stuff on [Under This Yellow Sun]. Her warm gutsy vocals are full of soul… mixed with lots of attitude. You’ll want this one for your record collection.”
--Brad Fischer, Nashville Music Guide

“Sparks lets go of the typical restraints of the singer-songwriter stigma… She makes me want to grab hold of life, take a breath and push my boundaries to find my inner self. [Under This Yellow Sun] is not only sexy, beautiful, and enticing, but Sparks shows something that many artists forget—the truth.”
--Jeff Russell, Murfreesboro Pulse - Various (2008-2009)


To whom it may concern:

Tori Sparks performed at my previous institution of employment, Furman University in Greenville, SC (April 2008). This was an afternoon, outdoor festival called Market Day. She was phenomenal! Tori conducted herself in a professional manner.

Her show was interactive with the audience and she was well received. Tori’s performance was soulful, intellectual, with a spice of witty and comical yet appropriate commentary. She has an engaging style of performance that is suitable for many different environments

I would fully recommend Tori Sparks to perform at your institution/venue. You will not regret it!

Sincerely,

Jon Umbdenstock
Student Affairs Administrator
University of Texas at Austin
jon@union.utexas.edu
(512) 475-6865 - Jon Umbdenstock (Student Affairs Administrator)


To whom it may concern:

Our Java City Live Entertainment Committee engaged Tori Sparks to perform at our Java City Facility at Western Kentucky University. Tori arrived as expected and was totally professional throughout the event.

Tori's show was lively and her style was very appealing to our students, staff and faculty. She has a engaging manner that draws her audience to her. We received a lot of positive feedback on Tori's performance and would be delighted to book her again in the future.

It is with no reservation that I recommend you employ Tori Sparks to perform at your next institution/venue. You will not regret it!

Sincerely,

Jack Montgomery
Associate Professor, Chair, Java City Live Entertainment Committee
Western Kentucky University Libraries
304 Cravens, 1906 College Heights Blvd,. #11067
Bowling Green, KY 42101-1067 - Jack Montgomery (Associate Professor, Chair, Java City)


Tori Sparks CD Release Party
"Firestarter"
By Jewly Hight
Published on June 04, 2009

Tori Sparks is one of those independent singer-songwriters who’s so driven it seems like signing with a record label would only slow her down.

The Scorpion In the Story—a concept album of sorts, co-produced with David Henry and inspired by a fable about acting according to one’s nature—is the second she’s released on her own Glass Mountain Records (a different indie label released her debut full-length).

She’s resourceful too. Her drummer Steve Bowman’s wife is a cheerleader for the Nashville Rollergirls; Sparks sang the national anthem at a match, and the team returned the favor by appearing in a music video to be screened at the release show.

Sparks sings with distinct intensity—an expressiveness honed during her college theater studies... Scorpion is bluesy folk-rock in a Tom Waits vein: rough-edged, worldly-wise and potent.

CD Release at The Rutledge
Thursday June 4th @ 7 p.m. - The Nashville Scene by Jewly Hight (June 2009)


Words Fail, (06/04/09)
by Evert Wilbrink

FolkWax Rating: 8

The only negative remark I have about this album of Nashville songstress Tori Sparks is that her photo in the digipak is not half as dazzling as Tori is in real life...

Sparks co-produced this album at True Tone with engineer David Henry and engaged a great whose who amongst session players: the wonderful Will Kimbrough on electric and resophonic guitars, banjo and ukelele; Viktor Krauss on electric and upright bass; Fats Kaplin on accordion, fiddle and pedal steel; and Steve Bowman of Counting Crows fame on cajon and drums. David Henry didn't just fiddle the knobs but also contributed organ, trumpet, euphonium, percussion, vocals, and... cello... Not a note too much, and every instrument perfectly employed to properly augment the painting.

Inside there's a map of the United States pinpointing the fourteen different cities where the songs were written. Tori's idiom lies in Little Willie Norah territory: ballady, jazzy, but not too, a touch of bluegrass and a whiff of Americana, but nothing a Rock '

I waited with my review until I found the inspiration and the words to describe the music. But every time I play track five "Easy and Slow," I find out that my inspiration comes too slow, and it ain't easy to capture the spirit and the beauty...

...I think "Easy and Slow" is my favorite track, athletic vocals, great brooding instruments. But, Tori maintains that same high quality line throughout. I truly hope that more media will agree and that she'll find her way to bigger audiences. The Scorpion In The Story is definitely a keeper... Sorry that words fail me to more adequately describe why I enjoy it so much.

***

Evert Wilbrink is a contributing editor at FolkWax. Evert may be contacted at folkwax@visnat.com.
- Folkwax by Evert Wilbrink (June 2009)


Concert Review: Tori Sparks
Posted by Ricky | April 28, 2009

As I walked into [the house concert] I was immediately greeted with beverages and snacks that had been provided for the event. With chairs on the right and food on the left, I made my way to the kitchen to finally put a face to a voice that was Tori Sparks...

When Tori began to sing I got chills down my entire body. I have never been in a room where a woman, or man’s for that matter; voice can bring me to that level. I was absolutely shocked at how great she was, and from song to song I just wanted more.

...In between songs... she would begin talking to the crowd, and would speak in [instrumental breaks during the] songs... It was unique, and something that I wish more artists would do. She really connected with her audience.

The show was a success from every possible angle. ...Tori played the room as if she was born to play house concerts. After a few hours of stories from Tori, I was nothing short of completely satisfied. Tori will make it as far as she wants to go in this business, and if good looks and a mean set of skills on the guitar do not get her there, then her personality and song writing will.
- IndyConcerts.com by Ricky Lee Potts (April 2009)


Tori Sparks - Under This Yellow Sun (Glass Mountain)
by Nancy Dunham

Music insiders often lament the great talents who struggle to survive the industry's murky undertow. Submit Tori Sparks as Exhibit A. Here's a singer/songwriter with the strong, eloquent vocals of Bonnie Raitt and the guitar mastery of Joni Mitchell. Her second indie release Under This Yellow Sun is a bounty of subtle rock and haunting blues skillfully flavored with splashes of folk and country. The straightforward string accompaniments interspersed with keyboards, horns and percussion are the perfect backdrop for Spark's lush voice as it gracefully lures listeneres into tales of love, longing and adversity. Interesting that the first line of lead song "Cold War" seems autobiographical: "I been knocking/ At your door/ Don't call these blood knuckles bad luck/ Call them battle scars." Keep knocking, Tori. They'll answer.
- Relix Magazine by Nancy Dunham (October 2007)


Tori Sparks
Under This Yellow Sun
Featured Download: Caged Bird MP3

Under This Yellow Sun, the second offering from songbird Tori Sparks, is drenched in drama, featuring Sparks' torrid vocals splashed over self-penned, alternative roots-rock numbers that sizzle with authenticity. Produced by David Henry (R.E.M., Ben Folds), Yellow Sun spotlights Sparks' powerful voice - tender, weighted with remorse and backed solely by finger-picked guitars on "Providence RI," and later firing full cylinder on torch burners like "Caged Bird" (fueled by deft production and a really funky horn track). The album is lyrically focused on male/female relationships, while Sparks' style sometimes evokes early Jewel, with that ragged catch in her voice that makes the delivery so believable.

--LCB

torisparks.com - Performing Songwriter by LCB (July 2008)


"Tori Sparks' voice isn't one of those passive instruments that treats a lyric like it's a classified ad. The Floridian burrows deep inside her words, which largely attend to affairs of the heart, and once arriving at the core, she elevates them until they demand close attention. Here is a supple, teasing voice that flutters and flies seemingly without effort from note to note, line to line, so that weepy sensitivity and pleading vulnerability cozy up with tough resilience and firm resolve so seamlessly you never even notice the mood swing. Sparks' brand of Americana, powered by her own gutsy guitars and a like-minded crew, doesn't conform to any known filing syste: acoustic and electric blues, pre-war jazz, folk, country and rock commingle, but rarely does a song on her second full-length veer toward formula. The characters peopling Sparks' songs aren't always lucky in love, but they're lucky to have her telling tales." - Harp Magazine by Jeff Tamarkin (Jeff was the first editor of CMJ and has written for many publicatio


A singer/songwriter with a guitar, Tori Sparks man...
A singer/songwriter with a guitar, Tori Sparks manages to avoid the misstep of sounding like every other coffeehouse-circuit singer. Her tight songwriting and playing, coupled with interesting arrangements and high production values make Under This Yellow Sun a contender for mainstream success.

Pedal steel and trumpet are but two of the instruments that add color to the album's twelve tracks. The instrumentation never feels gratuitous, though; it always serves the needs and goals of the song at hand. The slinky opener, "Cold War" is more upbeat than the title might suggest. "Out of the Void" launches as a midtempo rocker but shifts gears quickly to a loping ballad, then back again. The shifts add a welcome texture not often found in this sort of music. The soulful "Under the Rug," with its 3/4 beat, reminds of nothing so much as Emmylou Harris. "Most Alone" rocks out in a manner that non-rock fans can still enjoy; its stuttering underpinning deserves special mention. "Providence RI" evokes a late-night, end-of-set number, with a single dim spotlight on the vocalist and her guitar. The title track features an odd gunshot-style drumbeat that works well in the context. "Caged Bird" kicks off with a trumpet line and settles back into a smoky groove that will be enjoyed by fans of Bonnie Raitt.

Sparks seems to have approached the arrangement of each song on its own; while the album holds together as a collection, it' wisely avoids the write-the-same-song-twelve-times approach favored by many young artists. Every track on Under This Yellow Sun sounds like Tori Sparks, but none of the songs sounds like another one. If there's any criticism of the album, it's in the disc's lack of vocal harmonies. But Spark's voice is strong enough to carry the day, and these are all her original compositions, so she has earned the right to arrange the songs her way.

In sum, this is a varied album well worth a listen. And be sure to check out the intriguing video of "Cold War," included on the CD and featuring plenty of shots of the lovely and talented Ms. Sparks. - Skope Magazine by Bill Kopp, Editor-in-Chief (December 2007)


Discography

ALBUMS:

*The Scorpion in the Story (Glass Mountain Records, 2009.)

*The Scorpion in the Story - Deluxe Version (Glass Mountain Records, 2009.)

*Under This Yellow Sun (Glass Mountain Records, 2007). Produced by David Henry and Tori Sparks.

*Little Stories EP (Glass Mountain Records, 2007). Produced by David Henry and Tori Sparks.

*Rivers + Roads (Platinum Plus Universal, 2005) Produced by Tony Migliore.

*Tidewaters EP (Independent Release, 2003) Produced by Tori Sparks.

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SINGLES:

*"Mr. Bickle" from Wooden Music for a Plastic World. Duet with Jeff Kuykendall. (In Production, 2009.)

*"Blackbird" from A Me-Shaped Hole, co-written with and recorded by Caroline Brewer. (Independent Release, 2008.)

*"Cold War" from Under This Yellow Sun. (Glass Mountain Records, 2007.) Produced by Tori Sparks and David Henry. (#93 on the College RIYL Weighted Charts.)

*"Caged Bird" from Under This Yellow Sun. (Glass Mountain Records, 2007.) Produced by Tori Sparks and David Henry.

*"Pale Sorghum Lo-Fi Blues" from Pale Sorghum Lo-Fi Blues. Duet with D.W. DeHart. (DeHorn Boys Music, 2007.) Produced by D.W. DeHart with D. Dennis.

*"Hope for Me" Christmas Single. (Glass Mountain Records, 2007). Produced by Tori Sparks.

*"Trouble" from Rivers + Roads. (Platinum Plus, 2005).
Produced by Tony Migliore.

*"Rivers + Roads" from Rivers + Roads. (Platinum Plus, 2005).
Produced by Tony Migliore.

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VIDEOS:

* Sparktaculous: Live at the Rutledge (Glass Mountain Records, In Production 2009) Directed by Wayne Hall.

* Merry Go-Round - Music Video. (Glass Mountain Records, 2009) Directed by Wayne Hall.

*Cold War - Music Video. (Glass Mountain, 2007)
Directed by Wayne Hall.

*The Making of Under This Yellow Sun: Tori Sparks with Producer David Henry. (Glass Mountain Records, 2007). Directed by Wayne Hall.

*Behind the Scenes: Screen Printing Madness with Tori Sparks (Glass Mountain Records, 2007) Directed by Wayne Hall.

*Rivers + Roads - Music Video (Platinum Plus Universal, 2005). Included bonus feature Live at the Gibson Showcase Theater. Directed by Wayne Hall.

These and a number of live videos are available at the Glass Mountain Records YouTube Channel.
http://www.youtube.com/user/GlassMountainRecords

Photos

Bio

TORI AT A GLANCE:

"A knockout!"
-The Village Voice

"Gutsy, fiery delivery. Five Stars."
-All Music Guide

"Truly, one of the most original artists I have heard in a long, long time."
-Music News Nashville

*Tori plays 180-200 tour dates/year in the U.S. and Europe, in clubs, theaters, listening rooms, house concerts, juke joints, colleges. Her dynamic live show is equal parts soulful singing and audience interaction - she keeps it fresh and fun and is at home in any setting.

*She has played shows with with Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones), John Lombardi (10,000 Maniacs), Justin Townes Earle, many more.

*Tori's songs are licensed to MTV, Lifetime, and Oxygen Networks for use in their 2009 TV seasons.

* Tori's brand-new album The Scorpion in the Story were produced by indie rock veteran David Henry (R.E.M., Ben Folds, Josh Rouse, Cowboy Junkies). It features players such as Steve Bowman (Counting Crows), Viktor Krauss (Lyle Lovett, Allison Krauss, Mindy Smith), Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell, Jill Sobule, Todd Snider), John Deaderick (Patty Griffin) , Barry Walsh (Gretchen Peters), Fats Kaplin (Mark Knopfler, Kevin Welch), more.

*'Scorpion' is a concept album - is a series of true stories, songs based on thirteen individuals Tori met while on the road in 2008. Includes a French version of the song "Merry Go-Round." Promotional team includes Burnside Distribution, The Planetary Group, Bill Wence Promotions, The Press House, Wry Toast Publishing, and Glass Mountain Records.

*Tori's song "Cold War" is included on the Universal Music France compilation, Country Vol. 2. (40, 000+ copies sold.)

*Tori was the cover story for City at Night Magazine and Triangle Live (April/May 2008)

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AWARDS:

Recipient: 2008 ASCAPlus Award
Performing Songwriter: Top 12 DIY Downloads (July 2008) ("Caged Bird")
Selection: Florida Music Festival Indie Film Jam 2008 ("Cold War")
Cashville 411: Top 10 Tracks of 2007 ("Caged Bird")
Finalist: 2007 Unisong International Songwriting Contest Finalist ("Cold War")
Recipient: 2007 ASCAPlus Award
Best Pop Video: 2006 Indie Gathering ("Rivers + Roads")
Selection: 2006 Flint Film Festival ("Rivers + Roads")
Recipient: 2006 ASCAPlus Award
Recipient: 2005 ASCAPlus Award
Finalist: 2005 Unisong International Songwriting Contest ("The Poster Child")

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Please see ToriSparks.com or Tori's MySpace site for a more extensive bio, radio and television stations playing her albums, more.

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Interested in booking Tori to
The Arithmetic of Tori Sparks

Guitar + Quirky Humour x Huge Set o' Pipes = Great Live Show

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Interested in booking Tori to play or speak at your university?

"She was phenomenal! Tori's performance was soulful, intellectual, with a spice of witty and comical yet appropriate commentary. ...She has an engaging style of performance that is suitable for many different environments. I would fully recommend Tori Sparks to perform at your institution/venue. You will not regret it!"
-Jon Umbdenstock; Student Affairs Administrator (University of Texas at Austin)

"Tori... was totally professional throughout the event. Tori's show was lively and her style was very appealing to our students, staff and faculty. ...We received a lot of positive feedback on Tori's performance and would be delighted to book her again in the future. It is with no reservation that I recommend you employ Tori Sparks to perform at your next institution/venue. You will not regret it!"
-Jack Montgomery; Associate Professor, Chair, Java City Live Entertainment Committee (Western Kentucky University at Bowling Green)

"Tori Sparks... writes her own songs, owns her own record label and publishing company, is basically a one-woman operation... She is notorious for her blend of quirky humor and fiery delivery and has fused a sound and a style that is unmistakably her own."
- Dave Fiore, Florida State Times (Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL)

More references available on request.

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