American Acoustic Guitar Player
arranger, composer, vocalist
A guitarist for all seasons and ethnicities, the North Carolina-reared, Minnesota resident is celebrating a new CD, “Lost and Found.” Accompanied by bassist Ted Olsen and acoustic guitarist Ben Abrahamson, Sparks interprets tunes by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Dave Brubeck and others as well as offering three originals, including the title track (which he wrote back in the Rio Nido days). Although many of these numbers are overly familiar, acoustic wiz Sparks offers a fresh take because he plays with the the precision of a classical guitarist, the inventiveness of a jazz man and the passion of a folk musician — Jon Bream, Minneapolis Star Tribune
Review from Akustik Gitarre - The photo on the cover shows Tim Sparks in front of a cozy shed. But instead of the ancient National guitar that one might expect in such a farming location, on his lap there is an elegant archtop. And this is actually the only guitar he uses on this recording, strictly acoustic besides, even for the racy, awe-inspiring fingerstyle of "Moonshine Ramble". Yet ignoring expectations and blurring genre lines has always been the basics of business for the man from Minnesota who ever since his transcription of the Nutcracker Suite for steelstring guitar has been an acknowledged expert for any kind of music between the Mississippi, the Danube, and Rivers Jordan, Tigris, and Volga. It’s only logical that Sparks´ versions of four Beatles tunes offer more than just further fingerstyle arrangements of these pieces. This is mainly a trio album anyway, featuring Ben Abrahamson on (flamenco) guitar and Ted Olsen on double bass, both from the big thriving music scene in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Thus three of the Beatles songs turn into stepping stones for collective improvisations and charming trips into the open, discovering new things about the compositions without rendering them unrecognizable. "She's Leaving Home", however, is taken care of by the master on his own - as a jazzy etude with beautiful chords under the melody that still remains intact at any time. Generally on this album Sparks proves himself to be an especially sensitive and imaginative single-string improviser, playing mesmerizing solos in the opening piece(which also provides the album title) and in an excellent version of "Take Five".
— Michael Lohr
You can hear Tim Sparks think. He plays by choice not habit: ideas not licks. I've heard him do this on guitars so badly intonated, they wouldn't make a good ashtray; the same guitars - I remember a piece called Blues on Bartok Street - are Guitars in Tim's hands. Beautiful. I'm Tim Sparks' biggest fan. His stuff is very difficult to play but it doesn't sound difficult. I think that's real musicianship. He's really one of the best musicians I know." LEO KOTTKE
Greetings from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I've been arranging, composing and finalizing new teaching projects for Truefire.com, which is a great company that produces video courses for guitarists and songwriters.
I've had a great time breaking down my guitar techniques to make them accessible so other pickers, no matter what their skill level, can apply them to their own repertoire. I've created several Truefire video courses over the years and I think these new ones are my best yet. You can check them out on my Truefire page with the link below.