Hushabye (2019)

NOW AVAILABLE! Hushabye is Rick's newest album, 11 angelic lullabies perfect for relaxing, meditating & dreaming. Rick's most peaceful album ever is a tapestry of lovely strings, piano, flute & angelic voices. AVAILABLE NOW for digital download in Rick's music store and Amazon, CD Baby, Apple Music/iTunes and other leading digital outlets. CDs available now at CD Baby & Amazon.

HUSHABYE (2019)

(Greenville, SC – 6/11/19) Pianist and composer Rick Sparks is well-known to fans of new-age and neo-classical music for his trademark peaceful, melodic songs featuring piano layered with stunning string arrangements, augmented with soft angelic voices with wordless vocalizations. This combination is perfect for his latest album, Hushabye, created specifically to help listeners with relaxation, meditation and sleep.

“Many of my friends and fans have told me for years that they use my music to relax after a hard day, enjoy some down time or to help their children or themselves get to sleep,” explains Sparks. “With that in mind, I wanted to record an album of soothing music that both adults and children could relax to. I wanted the songs on this album to feel like a favorite soft pillow.”

The wordless vocals on Hushabye were prompted in part by Rick’s love of Brian Wilson’s vocal arrangements with the Beach Boys. According to Rick, “Brian always said he used three-part vocal harmonies because to his ear, it 'sounded like angels.' I took that to heart by using angelic-sounding wordless voices singing multi-part harmonies. The voices on Hushabye also remind me of the pure tones of an English boys’ choir.”

Hushabye, subtitled “Sail Away to Dreamland,” is Sparks’ sixth album and contains nine new original tunes, along with his instrumental arrangements of the million-selling pop hit “Love Can Make You Happy” by the 1960’s group Mercy, as well as the classic children’s song “Jesus Loves Me.”  In addition to piano, strings and voices, the music also includes the sounds of a flute. Piano is Sparks’ featured instrument, but he is an adept arranger who uses synthesizer to give his music layers, textures, colors and additional depth.

More information on Rick Sparks is available on his website, www.ricksparksmusic.net. His CDs -- Hushabye,Half Moon Bay, Nightfall London, Matilda’s Flowers,Endless and Christmas Love -- and digital download tracks from those recordings are available online from CD Baby, Amazon, Apple/iTunes, Spotify, Alexa, YouTube and many other outlets.

Since 2014, Rick’s recordings have received strong airplay on hundreds of radio stations and channels around the world, including SiriusXM’s Spa channel.  Half Moon Bay (2018) went to #4 and both Endless (2014) and Nightfall London (2017)rose to #7 on the prestigious international Zone Music Reporter Top 100 Chart that specifically monitors new-age music. Half Moon Bay paid homage to the ocean and the music of Brian Wilson, while Nightfall London did a similar honor to England and legendary producer George Martin.

THE SONGS OF HUSHABYE

The first song on Hushabye is “My Soul to Keep” (the title is taken from the child’s bedtime prayer: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep”). Rick says, “I love Brian Wilson’s choice to begin his Smile album with a lovely acapella prayer, so I decided to use a similar brief angelic prayer on this album to begin the listener’s journey to dreamland.

“Love Can Make You Happy” follows. According to Rick, “This is a favorite song of mine from 1969, the year of Woodstock’s ‘three days of peace and music.’ All these years later, the need for love and peace is greater than ever.”

Several of the other song titles on the album follow the themes of love and peace. “My song ‘Dreams of Peace’ could be taken either as dreaming of peace or as peaceful dreams.  ‘Little Flower,’ with its Oriental flavor, was inspired by the title song from the 1967 film ‘You Only Live Twice.’ The title ‘No Greater Love’ came from Jesus’ teaching in John 15:13 -- ‘There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends’.”

“When the Stars Come Out,” which includes flute, is “another slumber song.”  The song “Jesus Loves Me” is “the first hymn many of us learned as children, voicing a simple but profound truth.”  A longtime pilot, Sparks loves flying, “especially when you find yourself among billowy white clouds. It’s an otherworldly beauty, the realm of angels, thus the title ‘Cloud Pillow’ with its angel-voice harmonies.”

The song “And She Dreams” was directly inspired by the CD back-cover photograph of a little girl peacefully sleeping. Rick says, “For all the little ones, sleeping and dreaming should be a time of peace, safety and love.”  Another inspiration when writing the acapella voice hymn “Angel Song,” was the music of English composer Vaughan Williams. Finally, Rick says that he “closed the album with ‘We Are Loved’ because it was a nice assurance to know that we are all loved, both by God and those around us.  It’s a great sentiment that I hope fills both our dreams and our waking hours.”

Rick Sparks’ musical influences have been many and diverse: coming from a musical family, getting his B.A. degree in broadcasting from the University of Tennessee, being an FM-radio DJ in the 1970s and 1980s, earning Masters degrees in music and communication and a Ph.D. in communication, programming a leading on-line new-age music station (The Cove on Live365.com), and having a college teaching career.  His tastes in music are varied and includes pop music, jazz and new age.  Rick’s musical career has included accompanying on-stage legendary artists such as The 5th Dimension's Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr., gospel great Alvin Slaughter of Brooklyn Tabernacle, and American Idol finalist Phil Stacey.

According to Rick, “My utmost desire as an artist is to create music that feeds the soul, that inspires and uplifts. I totally embrace the power of music to fill our lives with beauty.”

Testing his music on friends, Sparks says, “The consensus is that my music is very relaxing, ideal to leave on while you’re sleeping. A friend of ours plays it throughout the night for his six-month-old son – it works great! Another friend who is 94-years-old often uses my music to help him get to sleep. I’m hopeful that the music on Hushabye will not only be enjoyable to listen to while you’re awake, but can serve as a great soundtrack to your dreams as well.”

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Radio Promotion/Publicity: The Creative Service Company thecreativeservicecompany.com

Randall Davis (CreatServ9@aol.com) & Ruthe Forbriger (cscRuthe@aol.com) 719-548-9872

Auld Lang Syne (2018 single)

Rick's lovely arrangement of the beloved Scottish end-of-year classic, featuring the original melody with bits of the more familiar tune as well. Now available for digital download in Rick's music store and iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music, CD Baby and other leading digital outlets.

Half Moon Bay (2018)

"One of the standout albums of 2018 - exceptional." - Steve Sheppard, One World Music Radio

#4 album on ZMR's September 2018 Top-100 radio airplay chart 

Half Moon Bay will take you to the water's edge on a warm summer evening.

"Like putting the sails down on a sailboat or catamaran out on the ocean, slinging a hammock from the masts, and taking a nice long rest. You really hit the sweet spot with this one." - Randall Davis, The Creative Service Company & former national marketing director at Capitol-EMI Records.

Inspired by the musical legacy of legendary artist/composer Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, Half Moon Bay contains 7 gorgeous originals by Rick and 3 Brian Wilson covers.

"Summer chill music of the highest order."

"Perfect lay-back music for your favorite beach-read."

Digital downloads & CDs available on our Music Store page, as well as Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby & other leading music outlets.

Nightfall London (2017)

"Nightfall London must be ranked as one of the best new-age albums I've heard this year - stunning." - Steve Sheppard, One World Music Radio

Nominated by One World Music Awards & Zone Music Reporter as 2017's "Best Piano Album w. Instrumentation" & ZMR's "Album of the Year!"

Now available - the gorgeous night music of Nightfall London. 

CDs & downloads available from the Music Store on this website. Downloads also available from Amazon & iTunes.

"Highly recommended." - Wisconsin Bookwatch

"Simply pretty - and utterly devastating." - Mark S. Tucker

"Overflows with hope, faith & peace.” – Kathy Parsons, MainlyPiano.com

 Nightfall London's lovely melodic music features quiet piano, gentle strings & ethereal voices. With nine new original songs plus a timeless English Christmas classic, Nightfall London is sure to replenish your spirit.

Click HERE to listen to the audio review of Nightfall London from Steve Sheppard at One World Music Radio!

Matilda's Flowers (2016)

Matilda's Flowers, is an album of sweet, poignant songs inspired by "the 1912 girl named Matilda." Featuring 7 piano originals plus a lovely arrangement of Sting's Fields of Gold & two timeless hymns, Matilda's Flowers will take you to a place of peace and quiet renewal.

PRAISE FOR RICK SPARKS' MUSIC:

"Simple yet wonderful sonic experiences that remind us of how timeless music can be. I'm highly impressed with his gentle, yet emotionally filling touch on the keyboards, and the sonics he weaves together." -Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

"Exquisite - highly recommended." -Mark Maxwell Abushady, Creations Magazine, NYC

Matilda's Flowers is available now for purchase through Rick's website (www.ricksparksmusic.net) and CD Baby, iTunes & Amazon.

Endless (2014)

"Gorgeous arrangements - simple elegance. I love the pace and feel - you captured the magic of the songs!" -Bill Leslie, winner 2014 World Radio Album of the Year.

"It's a beauty from the stunning cover artwork to every note of the music...if you are looking for some quiet, heartfelt piano music, be sure to check this one out! Recommended!" -Kathy Parsons, MainlyPiano.com

"An album full of grace, beauty, and spiritual inspiration." -Michael Diamond, Music and Media Focus.

"Endless is, to me, one of the top albums of 2014, which is saying a lot because there was a lot of great music released this year... fantastic music... gorgeous graphics, flawless production and virtuoso performance." -Bill Binkelman, Wind and Wire 

Endless is now available for purchase through Rick's website and CD Baby, as well as iTunes, Amazon and other online stores.