I've been writing about music for over half my life. I started with an interview with one of my heroes, Levellers fiddler, Jon Sevink, for FiddleOn magazine when I was 15. Since then, I've written news, reviews and interviews for a wide range of publications, both in print and online, including fRoots, Penguin Eggs, The Quietus, Manchester Evening News, English Dance and Song, Spiral Earth, and The Living Tradition.
So, in 2012, I was delighted to reveal that Soundcheck Books had commissioned me to write the official biography of Eliza Carthy MBE.
During the research period, I had the fortune to interview the likes of Martin Carthy, Norma Waterson, Billy Bragg, Stewart Lee, Nancy Kerr, Jon Boden, John Spiers, and a whole host of other musicians, colleagues, friends and family members. The book has its own mini-site with plenty of never-before-seen photographs, plus interviews and extracts. Reception to the book was fantastic, garnering some lovely reviews, and Eliza herself has taken the book to a new dimension, using the title for her subsequent best-of album and her current touring big band. The book has since grown an additional chapter for its e-version.
I also blogged about the writing of the biography for Mslexia.
'...a beautifully crafted tale of one of this country’s prized assets. Read the book, buy the albums and get off yer arses and go see Eliza Carthy live.' Brighton Magazine
'Crucially, the book manages to do justice to the woman herself: earthy, forthright and eminently entertaining. As Eliza muses on an uncertain future, we are left hoping that this dynamo of a woman does not go anywhere soon. Volume Two, here we come.' fRoots
'She is good at unfolding Eliza's life, and revealing her character, through the telling detail.' Songlines
'This is a seriously well-researched book.' The Living Tradition
'This book is a success in that it both educates the uninitiated and adds context to those already familiar with Eliza Carthy.' Louder Than War
'...Sophie Parkes charges in and handles the story-so-far with unabashed relish.' Penguin Eggs