Sparky & Rhonda Rucker, California Guitar Trio perform

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117329779029309.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Hideyo Moriya, Paul Richards and Bert Lams—the California Guitar Trio—return to Rockford for an 8 p.m., Saturday, March 10, performance at Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, 415 N. Church St.‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-117329797530831.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘James “Sparky” and Rhonda Rucker are sure to deliver an uplifting presentation of toe-tapping music spiced with humor, history and tall tales.‘);

It’s another double feature weekend for Charlotte’s Web. Friday, March 9, at 8 p.m., see Sparky & Rhonda Rucker perform in the Listening Room at JustGoods, 201 Seventh St., Rockford. At 8 p.m., Saturday, March 10, the California Guitar Trio returns for a performance at Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center, 415 N. Church St.

Sparky & Rhonda Rucker

Internationally acclaimed James “Sparky” Rucker is recognized as a leading folklorist, historian, musician, storyteller and author. He has been singing songs and telling stories from the American tradition for more than 40 years. He accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and spoons, and has released more than 11 recordings. Rhonda is from Louisville, Ky., and practiced medicine for five years before becoming a full-time performer. In addition to piano, she adds sweet-sounding vocal harmonies, a mean, gutsy blues harmonica, old-time banjo, and rhythmic blues to their music. She began performing with Sparky in 1989 and appears on five recordings with him. The couple’s audio release, Treasures & Tears, was nominated for the W.C. Handy Award for Best Traditional Recording. They also contributed music to the syndicated TV miniseries The Wild West. Their unique renditions of “John Henry” and “Jesse James” were used in the National Geographic Society’s 1994 media project entitled Storytelling in North America.

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 amusing renditon 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, cowboy music, railroad songs and their own original compositions.

Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door.

California Guitar Trio

Saturday at Mendelssohn, the California Guitar Trio returns. Paul Richards, Bert Lams and Hideyo Moriya will entertain you with a whirlwind of instrumental styles fusing classical, rock, blues, jazz, world music, progressive, as well as the quintessential California musical genre surf music. Their music has been featured on several Olympics TV broadcasts, as well as on CBS, NBC, CNN and ESPN TV programs. They performed on the 2003 Grammy Awards-nominated track Apollo on Tony Levin’s CD Pieces of the Sun. Their music was even sent into outer space as wake-up music for the crew aboard NASA’s Space Shuttle Endeavor.

The California Guitar Trio’s stunning virtuosity and sly sense of humor have earned them a rabid following and wide notoriety, with significant crossover in the progressive, acoustic and classical music scenes. This show is co-sponsored by WNIJ-FM. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door.

Tickets are available at Rockford Area Arts Council, 713 E. State St., 963-6765; The Postal Shoppe, Edgebrook Center, 397-7301 and 2205 S. Perryville, 484-0940; The Kilt & Clover, 1414 N. Main St., 962-5458; or by mail with check and SASE, 10928 N. Main, Rockton, IL 61072. For Web information, call 964-2238.

From the March 7-13, 2007, issue

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