Sparky and Rhonda Rucker Enchant, Educate Knoxville Children With Song and Story

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker sure know how to entertain a crowd. The husband/wife storytelling team, based in Maryville, TN, has been putting on shows for years, both together and individually.

And guess what? You can see them TODAY at the Knoxville Cedar Bluff branch library, 2pm. The show is free to the public.

The duo’s performances are a mix of song and story, with tales spanning from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement and music ranging from traditional folk to the blues. This repertoire speaks to their commitment as activists; they’re tireless campaigners for everything from civil rights to environmental conservation. Over the years, they’ve played some pretty impressive venues (the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, for instance)  and have a lengthy list of honors for their work.

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform at the Karns Lib.

Sparky and Rhonda Rucker perform at the Karns Lib.

We recently had the opportunity to see the Ruckers at the Karns Branch Library, playing to an audience of children and adults. Crowd favorites included renditions of the “Brer Rabbit” story and the gospel song “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” both of which were tied to particular points in the history of slavery. The show was truly an enjoyable, educational experience, with audience members singing along to songs.

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to see the Ruckers in action, and for FREE to boot! Check out some of their performances below, and take a look at their impressive bios.


“Ruben’s Train” – (From the Grammy-nominated collection Singing Through the Hard Times, 2009)

“Brer Rabbit’s New Shoes,” performed at Karns Elementary

Finally, two songs from their performance at Virginia’s Oak Grove Festival, which highlight their folk, gospel, and blues roots:

“Ezekial Saw the Wheel”

“Stranger Blues”