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WGLT has always been devoted to music. We love to feature interviews with musicians, visits to record stores, talking about who's rising in the local music scene and telling you about national acts headed our way.

Tina Sparkle Edges Toward Optimism On 'Southern Hospitality'

Chris Anderson, "aTOMic" Satterfield and Marsha Satterfield are Tina Sparkle
Tina Sparkle
Chris Anderson, "aTOMic" Satterfield and Marsha Satterfield are Tina Sparkle

The leader and front-woman for the Peoria-based rock outfit Tina Sparkle says she feels fortunate to be married to someone who understands a musician’s life, and that she could be the muse for many a song.

"Southern Hospitality" album cover
"Southern Hospitality" album cover

Marsha Satterfield is also the principal songwriter, guitarist for the trio that includes her brother Tom on drums and Chris Anderson on bass. She tells WGLT that Tina Sparkle's first album in nine years -- "Southern Hospitality"-- was NOT pandemic related.

“We recorded this album back in the winter of 2018. So it's been stewing for a long time. The whole reason it even got recorded then was because I didn't have a job at the time. My brother had been a new dad. We weren't touring. And I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, if we don't record this now, it's never gonna happen,’” explained Satterfield.

The album title comes from one of the songs on the album. There's also a song called “College Bound” that references West Virginia. “The Sting” includes the line “I've got a good Southern woman.” What's with the south?

“The South is in your mouth,” laughed Satterfield. “Well, my wife, she was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. So, I have spent more time in the south in the last nine years than I thought I ever would.”

She said they met her now wife when Tina Sparkle was on tour with The Gracies.

“One winter night after playing at The Red Barn here in Peoria, we had fun talking and eating at Steak n Shake late at night. And it was very, very random,” said Satterfield.

Isn’t that the best way?

“That's the only way actually,” she finished.

The anguish on "Southern Hospitality" is palpable ... the lyrics quite personal. But not all the songs are about her wife as she guesses half of the album was written before they met and had been part of the band’s repertoire for years.

“There's probably a few that are maybe even before my grandma passed away. And that was when I was renting out her house before I bought it and trying to figure out how to afford things and life was super crazy. There's usually a lot of angst and craziness with my songs for sure,” she laughed.

Still, “Southern Hospitality” is mostly an optimistic record, which Satterfield said was one of the biggest changes from the previous two full-length albums. For example, the song “Hell Together” hints at a rough time as a child but ultimately is about sharing that pain with someone or dousing that pain to be with someone. She said it’s about her wife's family.

Let’s go through hell together/The fire can melt our hearts however it wants/ Let’s go through hell together/If they're the fuel, I'll be the cool to the fire. For you I'll douse this fire. “Hell Together” from “Southern Hospitality”

“She's been through a lot,” said Satterfield before pausing.

“I've never had to work was with someone else in that sense. You've got their baggage and you've got your own baggage and you're really just trying to get through life and help each other and hold each other up and support. You know, even though you might not at all understand what they went through … a totally different family situation than my own. You know, ours is all popsicles and lollipops,” she said to a laugh.

Not everyone is open to the idea of having their personal life splashed all over an album. Satterfield feels fortunate to be married to someone who understands her artistry, which at times can include shared personal struggles.

"She's just really supportive,” said Satterfield. “She's very much a prude. So, I think she just kind of blushes and … you know … scoots back in the corner a little bit when we play these songs live. She knows that I get to get stuff out. And somehow I found someone that's OK with it.”

It's important to have that person if you're a musician.

“Yeah, yeah, I've never had that before,” she said.

Fans of Tina Sparkle will still hear the loud, punkish sound the trio of Satterfield, drummer and brother Tom Satterfield and bassist Chris Anderson on “Southern Hospitality,” but there is a subtle difference compared to the 2011 release “Welcome to the No Fun House.” She said it comes from a desire to capture the sound of their live performances.

“We tried to avoid a lot of overdubbing of guitars and having too many layers on it. On the other records, there was a lot of going back and playing a rhythm guitar or going in and playing a lead or whatever. (“Southern Hospitality”) is not going to be one of those situations where you see us live and really like us, and then you listen to the record, like yeah, ‘this isn't quite what I experienced.’"

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Jon Norton is the program director at WGLT and WCBU. He also is host of All Things Considered every weekday.