Plenty of people are straddling the musical and literary worlds these days, but few are as original — or as magnetic — as Minton Sparks. It’s not like there was a preexisting model for what she does. She says that, early on, she thought, “Someday there’ll be a radio station for all this.” There isn’t, and chances are, there won’t ever be. But Sparks has no shortage of venues for her speaker-songwriter repertoire, from clubs to poetry and storytelling festivals.
Live is the best way to experience her, anyhow: Her story-songs have the pitch-black humor of Flannery O’Connor and humane wisdom of Tom T. Hall, and she inhabits her colorful, down-home characters with her entire body. She’s had country and folk all-stars on her albums, including Waylon Jennings, Darrell Scott and Chris Thile. But her latest, Live at the Station Inn, is just her, her perfectly matched performing partner John Jackson and a wild, appreciative crowd.