TPAC is ‘Smokin’ with Minton Sparks and Friends


"Minton Sparks & Friends at TPAC: Smokin’ Word" continues to sell-out for another season at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) with a star-studded lineup of special guest artists rounding out the April 14 and May 12 shows both at 7:30 p.m. in the Johnson Theater.

Joining Sparks onstage Saturday, April 14, are Tim Carroll, Elizabeth Cook, Rodney Crowell and Will Kimbrough in a living room show featuring poetry and song. Wrapping up the series with Sparks will be Nanci Griffith on Saturday, May 12. Appetizers at 6:30 p.m. and a reception with the artists after the show (compliments of White Trash Cafe) are included in the price of the ticket. Cabaret seating, ideal for taking drinks into the theater, is available.

“I’m always amazed to see all of the people who keep coming back,” Sparks confessed during a recent interview over coffee at Portland Brew in the 12 South area of Nashville. “There are people who come to every show religiously. It’s incredible to me.”

Often compared to leading contemporary Southern writers, Minton Sparks is a writer, poet and storyteller backed by musicians as she paints vivid pictures of people and places in the South with her words.

“Every one of them is based on a real person or event,” said Sparks, “but no matter how crazy it seems it’s always something that really happened. Sometimes the characters are kind of compilations but always based in reality.”

Playing to sold-out crowds at Nashville night spots, and nationwide at universities, clubs, songwriters series and festivals, she has recorded three CDs and a DVD and has been featured on internationally syndicated radio. Sparks’ latest endeavor is the release of her book "Desperate Ransom: Setting Her Family Tree," which will be released April 10 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and WestBow Press as the first of a four-book deal.

Sparks is an incredibly original talent who has developed a following in Nashville and nationwide with collaborations with some of the finest musicians in our city. Johnson Theater is the perfect setting for their sound and style as audiences can easily see how much the artists enjoy and appreciate working together in such an intimate setting. Fans of spoken word should be excited about the ongoing success of this cutting-edge, groundbreaking series. There’s truly nothing else like it in Nashville. Backing Sparks onstage at TPAC is John Jackson, who toured with Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne and played with Bob Dylan for seven years, recently appearing in the musical tribute The Times They Are A Changin’ on Broadway.

"Minton Sparks & Friends at TPAC: Smokin’ Word" is recommended for mature audiences. Tickets, including appetizers and desserts, are $25 for standard reserved seats and $30 for cabaret tables. For tickets, visit the TPAC Box Office (Downtown or at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in The Mall at Green Hills), online at, or any Ticketmaster outlet, including area Kroger locations and Macy’s. Tickets may also be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 615-255-2787.