Handsome Family

Brett and Rennie Sparks have been collaborating as The Handsome Family for over 20 years. With lyrics by Rennie and music by Brett, The Handsome Family infuse their singular art with everything from punk rock to folk, and have garnered extensive critical acclaim over the years. Of course, you don’t have to be a music historian to love the complexity of these songs. They are full of romantic longing for nature’s mysterious beauty and the tiny wonders of everyday life. They pair sweet melody with sad harmony, love poetry with dark beats. This music makes you shiver and cry, but also music that makes you happy to be alive.

The Handsome Family’s music and lyricism has always attracted intellectual and devoted fans. Their songs are frequently covered by many notable artists including Jeff Tweedy, Andrew Bird, Kelly Hogan, and Christy Moore. Their work has garnered praise from Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, and an unnamed singer on American Idol.

For US booking information about The Handsome Family, visit the excellent people of High Road Touring.

Publicity provided by:

Sacks & Co.
Attn: Krista Williams
423 West Fourteenth Street, Suite 429-3F
New York, NY 10014
212.741.1000
krista[at]sacksco.com

Wilderness
8/10  Uncut
4 Stars MOJO
4 Stars Q Magazine
4.5 Stars The Sun (UK)

“The pieces are highly intelligent and succinct. Certain facts from natural history, certain observations and things she [Rennie Sparks] reveals, read like a stumbling discourse one might fall into with a stranger and remember for a long while.” – The New Yorker

“A sound that spans many generations at once.” – NPR First Listen

“The Sparks plunge back into the woods where the trees rise wild for their latest, returning with 12 tales of mystery and imagination that form one of the strongest, most cohesive albums of their career.” – The Onion AV Club

“Yet another fantastic album, in every sense of the word.” – New York Music Daily

 

Honey Moon
4 Stars Uncut
4 Stars The Times
4 Stars The Sun
4 Stars Daily Mirror

“At the core of every great Handsome Family song is a sense of mystery, of a world that defies our ability to understand or predict it. That in itself is a beautiful thing, and why I find the duo’s music so powerful, and so moving.”—Greg Kot, Chicago Tribune

“There’s a burnt beauty to Honey Moon – something akin to Mark Twain re-written by Edgar Allan Poe – that exerts a deliciously morbid pull on the imagination and the emotions. Satisfaction is guaranteed.”—BBC

Honey Moon is a warm, heartfelt tribute both to a clost-harmony style the couple evidently cherish, and to their own marriage.”—The Mail

“The songs on Honey Moon are just a gorgeously haunting as anything they have done previously.” —Blurt

MAGNET phoned Brett and Rennie Sparks at home, intending to discuss love songs; we were soon engaged on the topics of hillbillies, moths, swamps and toilets. Check out the interview, as well as The Handsome Family’s week of guest editing the site from Feb. 24 through Mar. 1st. Look for all 12 posts!

Discover their taste by reading Brett and Rennie’s Top 10 Favorite Murder Ballads on Aquarium Drunkard.

“Returning to American country some of its spiritual mystery — 4 stars.—The Independent (UK) on Last Days of Wonder

“Last Days of Wonder” might just be the duo’s finest hour, full of typically nightmarish images but shot through with black humour and moments of geniuine grace and beauty. It’s also their most musically adventurous album yet.—The Sun (UK)

Words that in their everyday surrealism have no parallel in contemporary writing…Music that mines the deep veins of fatalism in the Appalachian voice—Greil Marcus

This is music that moves forward by turning the clock back: haunting, primal and strangely heroic—The London Times

Interview with Rennie Sparks + Greil Marcus ahead of their free music n talkin’ appearance at UNC’sSouthern Folklife Center. Murder! Mystery!

City Pages (Minneapolis) cover story on Brett and Rennie from 7/5/06 issue.

Nice feature on Last Days of Wonder from Country Standard Time.

4.5 out of 5 review for Singing Bones from Suite101.com.

Greil Marcus names Twilight as his number one pick in his Real Life Rock Top Ten at Salon.com

Robert Christgau raves as well in his Village Voice Consumer Guide

The Handsome Family built their own site.

Tour Dates
  • 16 May 2013 Liverpool @ The Kazimier Tickets
  • 17 May 2013 Manchester @ The Ruby Lounge Tickets
  • 18 May 2013 Glasgow @ The Arches Tickets
  • 19 May 2013 Gateshead @ Gateshead Old Town Hall Tickets
  • 21 May 2013 Sheffield @ Greystones Tickets
  • 22 May 2013 Leeds @ Brudenell Social Club Tickets
  • 24 May 2013 Kirkbymoorside @ The Band Room Tickets
  • 25 May 2013 Hebden Bridge @ The Trades Club Tickets
  • 26 May 2013 Leicester @ The Musician Tickets
  • 28 May 2013 Norwich @ Norwich Arts Centre Tickets
  • 29 May 2013 London @ Islington Assembly Hall Tickets
  • 30 May 2013 Bristol @ The Fleece Tickets
  • 31 May 2013 Oxford @ The Bullingdon Tickets
  • 20 Jun 2013 Cambridge, MA @ Club Passim Tickets
  • 21 Jun 2013 Fall River, MA @ Narrows Center for the Arts Tickets
  • 22 Jun 2013 New Haven, CT @ Café Nine Tickets
  • 23 Jun 2013 Hudson, NY @ Club Helsinki Tickets
  • 27 Jun 2013 New York, NY @ The Slipper Room Tickets
  • 28 Jun 2013 Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live Tickets
  • 29 Jun 2013 Brooklyn, NY @ The Knitting Factory Tickets
  • 19 Jul 2013 Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center Tickets
  • 20 Jul 2013 Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon Tickets
  • 22 Jul 2013 Chicago, IL @ Millennium Park Tickets
  • 24 Jul 2013 St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway Tickets
  • 25 Jul 2013 Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop Tickets
  • 26 Jul 2013 Louisville, KY @ Headliners Tickets
  • 27 Jul 2013 Athens, OH @ The Union Tickets
  • 28 Jul 2013 Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark Tickets
  • 18 Sep 2013 Lamy/ NM @ Lamy Depot Tickets
  • 5 Oct 2013 San Francisco, CA @ Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival Tickets
  • 10 Oct 2013 Manly, New South Wales, AUS @ Moonshine Bar Tickets
  • 12 Oct 2013 Melbourne, Australia @ The Hi-Fi Tickets
  • 13 Oct 2013 Sydney, Australia @ The Basement Tickets
  • 14 Oct 2013 Brisbane, Australia @ Blackbear Lodge Tickets
  • 16 Oct 2013 Adelaide, Australia @ The Grace Emily Tickets
  • 19 Oct 2013 Masteron, New Zealand @ King Street Live Tickets
  • 22 Oct 2013 Wellington, New Zealand @ Bodega Tickets
  • 23 Oct 2013 Lyttelton, New Zealand @ Naval Point Yacht Club Tickets
  • 24 Oct 2013 Leigh, New Zealand @ Sawmill Cafe Tickets
  • 25 Oct 2013 Auckland, New Zealand @ Galatos Tickets
  • 8 Nov 2013 Seattle, WA @ The Sunset Tavern Tickets
  • 9 Nov 2013 Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge Tickets
  • 10 Nov 2013 Eugene, OR @ Sam Bond's Garage Tickets
  • 12 Nov 2013 San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord Tickets
  • 13 Nov 2013 Berkeley, CA @ Freight & Salvage Tickets
  • 14 Nov 2013 Davis, CA @ Mondavi Center Tickets
  • 15 Nov 2013 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Rio Theatre Tickets
  • 16 Nov 2013 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Rio Theatre Tickets
  • 18 Nov 2013 Arcata, CA @ Humboldt State University Tickets
  • 19 Nov 2013 Chico, CA @ Cal State Chico Tickets
  • 21 Nov 2013 Santa Barbara, CA @ UC Santa Barbara Tickets
  • 22 Nov 2013 Los Angeles, CA @ The Bootleg Tickets
  • 15 Feb 2014 Las Cruces, NM @ Rio Grande Theatre Tickets
  • 26 Apr 2014 Stockholm @ Stacken Tickets
  • 27 Apr 2014 Gothenburg @ Pustervik Tickets
  • 28 Apr 2014 Aarhus @ Radar Tickets
  • 29 Apr 2014 Copenhagen @ Musikcafeen Tickets
  • 30 Apr 2014 Amsterdam @ Paradiso Tickets
  • 1 May 2014 Deventer @ Burgerweeshuis Tickets
  • 2 May 2014 Hengelo @ Metropoolcafe Tickets
  • 3 May 2014 Den Haag @ Paard Von Troje Tickets
  • 5 May 2014 Belfast @ Black Box Tickets
  • 7 May 2014 Cork @ Crane Lane Theatre Tickets
  • 9 May 2014 Manchester @ Deaf Institute Tickets
  • 10 May 2014 Hebden Bridge @ Trades Club Tickets
  • 11 May 2014 Swansea @ The Garage Tickets
  • 12 May 2014 Brighton @ Komedia Tickets
  • 14 May 2014 London @ 100 Club Tickets
  • 16 Feb 2014 Newbury @ Arlington Arts Centre Tickets
  • 16 Jun 2014 Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater Tickets
  • 17 Jun 2014 Columbia, MO @ Missouri Theatre Tickets
  • 18 Jun 2014 Tulsa, OK @ Cain's Ballroom Tickets
  • 21 Jun 2014 Austin, TX @ Texas Union Ballroom Tickets
  • 22 Jun 2014 Dallas, TX @ Majestic Theatre Tickets
  • 24 May 2014 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium Tickets
  • 31 Jul 2014 Santa Fe, NM @ The Santa Fe Bandstand Tickets
  • 18 Aug 2014 Minneapolis. MN @ Walker Arts Center Tickets
  • 20 Aug 2014 Iowa City, IA @ The Englert Theater Tickets
  • 22 Aug 2014 Louisville, KY @ Decca Cellar Lounge Tickets
  • 23 Aug 2014 Nashville, TN @ The Basement Tickets
  • 26 Aug 2014 Greensboro, NC @ The Blind Tiger Tickets
  • 28 Aug 2014 Arlington, VA @ Iota Club and Cafe Tickets
  • 29 Aug 2014 Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade Tickets
  • 30 Aug 2014 New York, NY @ The Mercury Lounge Tickets
  • 31 Aug 2014 Charleston, RI @ Rhythm & Roots Festival Tickets
  • 5 Sep 2014 Chicago, IL @ The Hideout Block Party/Onion AV Festival Tickets
  • 9 Oct 2014 Vizcaya, Spain @ Azkena Bilbao Tickets
  • 10 Oct 2014 Barcelona, Spain @ La 2 de apolo Tickets
  • 11 Oct 2014 Madrid, Spain @ El Sol Tickets
  • 12 Oct 2014 Cadiz, Spain @ Monkey Week Festival @ Teatro Pedro Tickets
  • 14 Oct 2014 Bergen, Norway @ Lille Ole Bull Tickets
  • 15 Oct 2014 Stavanger, Norway @ Martinique Tickets
  • 16 Oct 2014 Oslo, Norway @ John Dee Tickets
  • 17 Oct 2014 Tromso, Norway @ Blårock Cafe Tickets
  • 18 Oct 2014 Trondheim, Norway @ Moskus Tickets
  • 20 Oct 2014 Copenhagen, Denmark @ Bremen Teater Tickets
  • 21 Oct 2014 Odense, Denmark @ Posten Tickets
  • 22 Oct 2014 Aalborg, Denmark @ Studenterhuset Tickets
  • 25 Oct 2014 Malmo, Sweden @ Kulturbolaget Tickets
  • 26 Oct 2014 Stockholm, Sweden @ Nalen Tickets
  • 29 Oct 2014 London, UK @ Islington Assembly Hall Tickets
News
Two Handsome Family albums to be released on vinyl on November 25th

We are so excited to announce our reissue of 2003′s Singing Bones and 1998′s Through the Trees on vinyl this November 4th! Previously available only on CD and digitally, these fantastic albums, originally recorded to tape, are finally getting the analog treatment they deserve. Pre-order your copies today!

 

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The Handsome Family’s US tour is heating up

A sketch of THF at the Englert Theater in Iowa City by Dmitry Samarov.

 

The Louisville, KY Courier-Journal urges you to ‘hear The Handsome Family’s dark love’ this Friday at the Decca Cellar Lounge.

“I really enjoy the process of honing down a story to its essential elements,” Rennie said. “[...]I like that idea where a song is just like a snapshot of a story and there’s a lot of space for mystery. I like when things are a little unclear. It’s good for your brain. I’m not interested in stories that make too much sense — there’s no room for dreaming.”

Check out the full story here.