Kathy Sparling

Welcome! I am a Berkeley, California based singer-songwriter, and very happy to announce the 2014 release of my second album of original songs, Blind Spot.

Blind Spot features thirteen original "story songs," covering a range of styles and moods, produced, aided, and abetted by the production team of Tim Rowe (drums) and Myles Boisen (guitar, bass, organ), assisted by a “How'd I get so lucky” lineup of bay area musicians. You can listen to all these tracks and more by clicking over to my "music" page, or in the "Have a Listen" widget over to the right! ------->>>>>>>>>

Highlights from this new release include:

  • Fire Sale – The musical spirits of Tony Orlando and Amiee Mann meet and together find the phoenix-like fun in a fiery break-up! Featuring trumpeter Chris Grady.
  • Dancing with Eleanor – an elderly gentleman reflects on his long history with Eleanor; the shifting musical language reflects the changing “dance” of their lives. Featuring Dennis Finnegan on guitar, Chris Grady on trumpets, and Lila Sklar on violin.
  • Spin – a driving, manic, drinking song, a Pretenders-drink-too-much-coffee-and-meet-at-the-circus kind of number, featuring star turns by horn player Ralph Carney, guitarist Steve Kirk.
  • The Next Thing You Say – an intimate, contemplative meditation, caught forever in suspense, weaving between the melancholic strains of Dan Cantrell on pump organ and Cheap Suit Serenader Robert Armstrong on saw.
  • High Holy Days – yes, those high holy days: the evocative language of the days of awe and repentance finds its way into an intimate pop song featuring the vocal harmonies of The House Jacks’ Austin Willacy.

In 2010, I released my debut album As You Believed, a record about life, love, longing, and laundry. On that work, as in life, the heartbreak of the songs' themes is always tempered with humor and hopefulness: the silly and the serious are ultimately wedded in modern marriage, the loss of childhood is both poignant and full of brave promise, and sunlight illuminates even the dreariest corners of domestic life. This largely acoustic album was arranged and produced by Steven Strauss, an artist well-known to Bay Area music lovers for his multi-genre-spanning and virtuosic bass and ukulele work, and features performances by Steven along with numerous Bay Area musicians including pianist Charlie Hancock, drummers John Hanes and Federico Gil Sola, guitarists Kurt Stevenson, Steve Kirk, Dennis Finnegan and Tim Fox, violinist Julian Smedley, and percussionist Bobby Santos.

Since 2001 I have had the good fortune to play ukulele and sing songs of the 1920s and 30s with Dodge’s Sundodgers, a string band led by Al Dodge, a founding member of R. Crumb's Cheap Suit Serenaders. In this context, as in my own work, I am often accused of sounding “sweet,” but I’m working on that. In 2011 I took up with the classic American pop band, Along Came Jones, providing harmony vocals on their recordings and at their live shows around the Bay Area.

By day, I work as a professional librarian facilitating an uneasy peace between the technology and the books. (I do covertly sell arms to the books.)

 

Upcoming...

Previous events

Dec14

Bobby Black - “Hawaiian Paradise”

Back Room, Berkeley

Singing a few Hawaiian songs with steel guitar hall-of-famer Bobby Black and friends.

Kathy Sparling, Dennis Finnegan, Karlyn DeSteno

The Monkey House Theater, 1638 University Ave., Berkeley, CA

Joined by Dennis Finnegan on guitar, Felix Sparling on violin/ukulele, and Ira Marlowe on piano/bass. Dennis will also perform a set of his own songs, as will Karlyn DeSteno. The Monkey House is an intimate art space offering high-quality concerts with an old Vaudeville vibe, unusually fine acoustics, and this unusually cute terrier.

RESERVE A SEAT   (On University Ave, three blocks from North Berkeley BART.) Parking is usually easy.

Sliding scale donation of $10-20

Mar30

Crying Time + Kathy Sparling

Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd Street, San Francisco, CA

Sharing the night (and most of the band) with everyone's favorite honkytonk revisionists, Crying Time.

$10

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