The Sparks Family Singers have been playing a blend of traditional gospel songs and their own compositions since 1972. The group is led by mandolin player and singer Bryan Sparks and it has featured several of his siblings over the years. Currently, he is joined by brother Dalton Sparks on guitar and vocals and their sister Peggy Sparks Adams on accordion and vocals.
Willis and Isabelle Sparks, parents of the musicians, raised fourteen children on their farm outside of Belmont. The couple instilled a deep love of music in their children by making music a regular part of life in their home. Willis Sparks played banjo and guitar and would entertain the children with music during the evening. Isabelle Sparks had a strong soprano voice and would often sing for them.
Bryan Sparks got involved in music as a young man. He led his group, The Pine Ridge Boys, for several years. They played country music in the older, more acoustic style and recorded and played throughout the region. They also had their own Friday night show on a local television station for a few years during the 1950s.
After the Pine Ridge Boys broke up in the late 1950s, Bryan Sparks put aside music for a number of years until forming the group with his siblings in 1972. The Sparks Family Singers has been active since then, performing at festivals throughout the eastern United States and releasing eleven recordings. One of their songs, a recitation called “Jonah” received heavy airplay on several radio stations.
In addition to touring, the family also plays host for a number of events on their homeplace. They sponsor two annual bluegrass festivals (in May and August) as well as host a weekly Thursday night gathering. The weekly session allows friends and neighbors of the family to get together, play music, and socialize. It has become an important gathering for musicians in Tishomingo County.
More information on the group, see their myspace page