music, storytelling, history

"Sparky and Rhonda put on a good concert, with plenty of heart, soul, and good feeling. It is always a joy to see and hear them."

Loyal Jones, Director, Appalachian Center
Berea College, Kentucky

Sparky & Rhonda Rucker
Photo by Pam Zappardino
Click on the photo above for a high-res version

"Sparky Rucker is unique! He'll make you glad to be alive and struggling."

Pete Seeger

Online Concert!

Sparky & Rhonda team up with the Ronstadt Generations

Sparky & Rhonda Rucker
Ronstadt Generations

Join Sparky and Rhonda Rucker, along with Ronstadt Generations, for an Internet Concert on Saturday, November 15, 2014! They will be performing before a live audience at LandMark Sound Recorders in Tucson, Arizona, and the concert will be broadcast to the world. You are invited to be a part of this event no matter where you live. All you need is an Internet connection.

Set One will feature Ronstadt Generations Y Los Tucsonenses and begin at 6:30 pm MST (5:30pm PST/8:30pm EST)). Visit this link for more information:StageIt Set One

Set Two will feature Sparky & Rhonda Rucker and begin at 7:30 pm MST (6:30pm PST/9:30pm EST). Visit this link for more information:StageIt Set Two

For people who live in the Tucson region and want to attend, visit the following website to buy a ticket: Brown Paper Tickets

Please join us - either in person or online!

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform throughout the U.S. as well as overseas, singing songs and telling stories from the American folk tradition. Sparky Rucker has been performing over forty years and is internationally recognized as a leading folklorist, musician, historian, storyteller, and author. He accompanies himself with fingerstyle picking and bottleneck blues guitar, banjo, and spoons. Rhonda Rucker is a musician, children's author, storyteller, and songwriter. Her blues-style harmonica, piano, old-time banjo, and bones add musical versatility to their performances.

Sparky and Rhonda are sure to deliver an uplifting presentation of toe-tapping music spiced with humor, history, and tall tales. They take their audience on an educational and emotional journey that ranges from poignant stories of slavery and war to an amusing rendition of a Brer Rabbit tale or their witty commentaries on current events. Their music includes a variety of old-time blues, slave songs, Appalachian music, spirituals, ballads, work songs, Civil War music, railroad songs, and a few of their own original compositions.

treble clef

Over forty years of performing, Sparky and Rhonda have performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival as well as NPR's On Point, Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, and Morning Edition. Their recording, Treasures & Tears, was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award, and their music is also included on the Grammy-nominated anthology, Singing Through the Hard Times.

The Ruckers have been featured tellers at the International Storytelling Center and Festival. Sparky is a natural storyteller, having grown up hearing his father, uncles, and other family members endlessly telling tales. Sparky and Rhonda each tell solo stories, but they also tell stories together (in tandem), always adding life and humor to the characters and tricksters in their Brer Rabbit tales, Jack tales, High John the Conqueror stories, preacher tales, and family stories.


Sparky and Rhonda weave their music into captivating stories that the history books donít always tell, and they share this knowledge in many schools, colleges, and libraries. Their educational programs span over three centuries of African-American history, including slavery, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, the birth of blues music, and the civil rights movement. Each era is interspersed with stories and popular songs from the time period, celebrating the diversity of the nation's history. They are also available for author visits to schools and libraries.

See the following video of Sparky and Rhonda's performance at the Big Muddy Festival in Missouri.

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Copyright © 2001-2014 by James "Sparky" Rucker and Rhonda H. Rucker. All rights reserved.
Web Site by Rhonda H. Rucker