Album Review by Jonathan Dyer
RIVERS & ROADS is Nashville based Tori Sparks’ debut album, following 2003’s well-received debut EP TIDEWATERS.
The 12 tracks showcase Tori’s mature and intelligent song writing to good effect and her vocals, which stay just the right side of trad country and quirky demonstrate a warmth and depth far beyond her 21 years. The female singer-songwriter influences are obvious but never overpowering and there are enough individual touches to ensure that the album doesn’t disappear into the cloud of dust kicked up by the country / blues-rock herd. The title track, RED LETTER DAY and REMEMBERING YOU all bought a comfortable glow to the dull autumn day on which this review was written and the proposition of seeing them performed live is certainly an intriguing one.
If anything the arrangements and rather identikit production lack a little imagination at times but Sparks demonstrates enough talent here to suggest that given time and the right guidance, the mainstream acceptance of Rolling Stone features and FM radio playlists are very real possibilities rather than wistful pipe dreams.
Check out Tori at her website and travel her RIVERS & ROADS for yourself.