(Tremont 2007)

Mountains Above and Valleys Below album cover

Listed on the "Top Folk Albums and Songs" of January 2008 !!

(compiled by Richard Gillmann of KBCS-FM, from FOLKDJ-L radio playlists, based on 14499 airplays from 149 different DJs)

What People Are Saying . . .

"In a word, The Mountains Above and the Valleys Below is breathtaking. It's been a long time since I have been that moved by the quality of a recording . . . . Congratulations on a fine release."

Larry Berger, Executive Director
SLB Radio Productions, Inc.
The Saturday Light Brigade, Award-Winning Public Radio for Kids and Adults

"The thing that's really great about this CD it that there are so many old chestnuts on it and Sparky and Rhonda just make them fresh and alive. What a treat to hear these great songs done the way they did them. I just absolutely love the album."

Jim Albertson
Down Jersey Radio Program, WSNJ

"What a monumental work on American folk music this is. I have never before received a CD which immediately opens a website giving such full and interesting information about the songs. The songs themselves comprise the best of whatever one could ever want to hear of traditional American music, performed in an authentic down-to-earth style. Immensely enjoyable."

Menachem Vinegrad
Radio Upper Galilee 105.3 FM
Jacob's Ladder Folk Festival

"This new CD by the Ruckers is wonderful; music from the Appalachian traditions, Afro- and Anglo-American, that grew side by side."

Paul Stamler
St. Louis, MO

"Today's most talked-about record was Sparky and Rhonda Rucker's version of 'C.C.Rider.' To be sure, Sparky appeared in Fredonia a number of times in the 1980s, but much of the response the new CD was getting was from students who hadn't even been born yet when Sparky used to play the late, lamented Unicorn Coffeehouse. Does my heart good."

Tom Bingham
"General Eclectic"
Fredonia, NY

"Through the years, entertainers and educators Sparky and Rhonda Rucker have become folk music treasures. Sparky began rambling around the country playing slide guitar and singing country blues and folk music in the late 1960s. He and Rhonda married and began performing together in the late 1980s and, since that time, Rhonda has become an accomplished harmonica and old-time banjo player, singer and an equal part of the musical equation. "The Mountains Above and the Valley Below" is the Ruckers' folkiest disc to date. It's filled with ancient standards, including "Ruben's Train," "Tom Dooley," "Goin' 'Cross the Mountain" and the ever-scary "Pretty Polly." The disc is a combination of songs preserved and performed by both black and white Appalachian musicians at a time when racial segregation was not only the norm, but a rule enforced with violence in most places. Art, though, has always crossed borders without regard for cultural barriers and was no less hindered in the 1800s and 1900s than now. The Ruckers have always provided a visual and aural testament to racial harmony. "The Mountains Above and the Valley Below" may be the couple's best disc to date at displaying where whites and African-Americans came together long before anyone dared to acknowledge it. The disc also contains additional computer-only essays that enhance the package."

Wayne Bledsoe
Knoxville News-Sentinel
Knoxville, TN

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