James "Sparky" Rucker has over forty years of
international touring, recording, and teaching experience. He is known
as a storyteller, historian, and folk musician. He has taught and led
workshops at Augusta, Common Ground, Ashokan, Pinewoods, Summer Acoustic
Music Week, Hindman Family Folk Week, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop,
Clarion Folk College, and Wisconsin's String-A-Long Weekend.
His performance credits include NPR's On Point, Prairie Home
Companion, Mountain Stage, and Morning Edition. In his study of the
blues, Sparky learned at the feet of such masters as John Jackson,
Howard Armstrong, and Babe Stovall. Reverend Pearly Brown, who taught
Duane Allman how to play bottleneck-style guitar, showed him some moves.
Sparky also picked up pointers from Buddy Moss, who taught Blind Boy
Fuller and Johnny Shines, who traveled with blues legend Robert Johnson.
Sparky has researched the music of early America, including the vast
number of songs that the American Civil War produced. He performs with
his wife, Rhonda, and their album, The Blue & Gray in Black and White,
won critical acclaim from historians and Civil War buffs alike. Their
music is also included on the Grammy-nominated anthology, Singing
Through the Hard Times.