- 2 Aug 2015 Santa Fe, NM @ The Cocteau Theater
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
★★★★½ The Sun
“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
★★★★ The Times
★★★★ The Sun
★★★★ 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
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.
Robert Christgau raves as well in his Village Voice Consumer Guide
The Handsome Family built their own site.
Wilderness Deluxe LP + Book
"Wilderness" Deluxe Box includes: LP (w/ download code), Companion Book of Essays & Art by Rennie Sparks, 6-postcard set, & 11x17" Poster.
Wild animals, tall tales, and dark stories from American history. Haunting music in the most wonderful way–brilliant, emotionally-charged and completely unique.
Drunk by Noon/The Blizzard
Last Days of Wonder
Singing Bones LP
Twilight ** CURRENTLY OUT OF STOCK. WILL BE REPRINTED**
In the Air
"One of the most important records of the 21st century." - Uncut
Through The Trees LP
Through the Trees **EXPECTED BACK IN STOCK WEEK OF 3/17**
"One of the ten essential Americana albums of all time" - MOJO | "Weightless Again is one of the 100 best songs ever written about heartbreak." - The Guardian UK
Milk & Scissors
"Blending Kafkaesque scenarios with Carter Family crooning and Dali-like imagery with the whiskey-soaked balladry of Hank Williams. It all adds up to an evocative, oddly compelling fusion of the old and the new on 'Milk and Scissors.'" - Boston Phoenix
The Handsome Family's 1st album. "They're an evil REM with their dirty uncle Gram Parsons." - Austin Chronicle
In the Forest of Missing Planes