“Brilliant, just brilliant. Knocked me out …. a lovely, lovely track” – Tom Morton, BBC Radio Scotland on ‘Back to Life’.
“Another singer from Scotland with an incredible voice” – Michael Park, The International Americana Show.
“Upon watching their wonderful video “Back to Life” I was immediately uplifted” – Chris Kresge
“This musical gem is a bright and subtly powerful song that creeps up on you and fills you with joy and hope. It naturally transcends you into the story of the song and embraces you with positivity and happiness. The message of the song goes beyond the fun façade and actually delves deeper into showing us that from tragedy can come triumph if you keep faith and persevere to make things turn out better. Sometimes you can feel lifeless, like life isn’t going your way. Life from time to time is full of stagnant energy, negative things can happen constantly, and you feel you’re stuck and can’t move forward. It’s that feeling and the low points within that feeling that inspired Esther to write this song as an elevating manifesto for herself to pick herself up after a dreadful few years where nothing went right. Things eventually got better and she came ‘Back to Life’ and beat the odds. Her freedom and sound of mind are celebrated so well in this track and exhibited to full effect. It’s so inspirational in its delivery, telling its story beautifully.
Starting off slowly with emotional melancholy, you feel and hear each nuance of that mood with the arrangement of the drum, keys and acoustic guitar. These same elements coupled with some soaring main/background vocals boosts the song to another level ending in an exultant cheer of delight. This group really have an ear for a catchy mainstream chorus, honest and effective songwriting and melodic sounds, and Back to Life truly benefits from those qualities.
Folk hasn’t sounded so impactful and full of life!”
“Their show is guaranteed to move you with Esther’s powerful performance and uplifting messages.”
“The ‘modern-vintage’ video that accompanies Esther Sparks and The Whiskey Remedy’s new single “Back to Life,” is adorable, even if it’s a bit cheeky and obvious in some moments. But for all the video’s strengths and weaknesses, the song itself is a beautifully hopeful tale of soldiering on, even when all the odds are stacked against you. Hyper-personal, Sparks sings about losing it all, and her bio explains that she and her husband have lost their business, their home and their savings in recent years, but somehow managed to come “Back to Life.” While the song discusses all of that tragedy, it also oozes hope and happiness, which can be the toughest things to hang on to.” – BFJ
“She has a knack for delivering powerful messages. That alone probably best explains the honest nature of her lyrics where seemingly nothing, even a raw emotion or a revealing self-discovery, is ever held back.”
4 out of 5 stars
“It’s almost cliché that the best art is inspired by the hardest struggles, but Esther Sparks & the Whiskey Remedy have certainly brewed a tasty batch of lemonade from the lemons that life handed them.
Back to Life is a collection of 10 songs written over the last eight years, where Sparks was continually hit with one battle after another — hurricanes, cancer, suicide, separation, unemployment, betrayal, foreclosure, food stamps, forgiveness and finally, redemption. The album consists of the studio recording of the title track, as well as nine live tracks ‘secretly’ recorded at a Colorado Springs concert.
Spark’s huge vocals and sad but hopeful lyrics are at the forefront of the recording, but the understated accompaniment works to prop the songs up to higher pedestals than they would perch upon with just a solo acoustic guitar. “ — BFJ