The way I discovered Tori Sparks‘ music was a fortunate fluke. One late night/early morning on the Cayamo cruise, after most of the music had ended for the evening–I went looking for where any jam sessions might have been happening. And that’s when I discovered Sparks performing an impromptu show in the ship’s library. I so enjoyed her witty storytelling and performance skills, I decided to get an email interview with her. We got to discuss last year’s release, as detailed here: “Tori’s third album, The Scorpion in the Story, was co-produced with indie rock veteran David Henry (R.E.M., Ben Folds, Josh Rouse, Widespread Panic, Cowboy Junkies) , and features players such as Steve Bowman (Counting Crows), Will Kimbrough (Rodney Crowell), Viktor Krauss (Lyle Lovett, Mindy Smith, Allison Krauss), Fats Kaplin (Mark Knopfler, Kevin Welch), and Barry Walsh (Gretchen Peters) … The Scorpion in the Story is a tale in thirteen chapters, a tour diary in the form of a concept album . Each song was written about one of the many colorful individuals Tori met while touring across the U.S. last year. The album includes a French version of the song ‘Merry Go-Round,’ (‘Le Manege’), and was released on Glass Mountain Records in June 2009.” As evidenced by some of our discourse, in addition to her musical talents, she’s also quite effective in terms of marketing. My thanks to Sparks for her time.
Tim O’Shea: How did the duet with Shawn Mullins on Letter to a Wretch #2 come about–what is it about Mullins’ voice (and how it interacts/plays off/compliments yours) that motivated you to want to duet with him?
Tori Sparks: I contacted Shawn and asked him if he’d be willing to sing on the song, and was very happy when he said yes. He’s a very gracious guy, and extremely supportive of independent music too – he worked on his own for about ten years before ever signing a record deal, so he knows what it’s like to have to be out there working for it. I’ve always loved the range and the timbre of his voice, and of course his songs as well. Both always ring true to my ears. He sings and writes from the heart.