This is why people OD on pills, or jump from the golden gate bridge…

Imagine a civilized lumberjack making music together with his wife, who could have stepped out of the american gothic painting by Grant Wood. These are Brett and Rennie Sparks, the handsome family, bringing songs from the deepest roots of americana.

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Brett Sparks, who writes the music, draws from medieval melody, country-politan string arrangements, tin-pan alley crooners, and dusty hillbilly records to weave together the fabric of their records. Rennie Sparks, who writes the lyrics, makes magical realism from polar adventure stories, turn-of-the-century electricity wars, pagan hunting songs and her own time spent (like most people) riding up elevators, staring out hotel room windows, and driving interstate highways.

If you ever have the opportunity to see this ramblin’ duo on stage (like I had recently) then don’t miss it. Mostly with a third man (either a sad drunk playing drums, or someone who looks like an Irish docker) who joins them on tour, since they need a great range of instruments. From melodica to banjo to bass(Rennie) to guitar and drum computer (Brett) to lapsteel, violin or a little guitar(the docker). They also have the habit of telling strange stories and bickering playfully between songs which adds to the charm of their live performance.

And strange stories isn’t something unfamiliar to them. Just listen to a couple of their songs and get sucked in the world that is the handsome family. Dark yet happy, Strange, yet very normal. About bottomless holes, evil airports, Nikola Tesla, and someone’s boyfriend who is eating hot dogs on the fire escape with rats after his wife starved to death…

I believe that Rennie is one of the best lyricists of the last years. Couple that with the musical genius that is named Brett and you get one of the best country/bluegrass/singer-songwriter acts that one can see these days…

website: http://www.handsomefamily.com/

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The old house on the lake…

It’s a little late, but I just found out about this: http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070411/ENTERTAINMENT06/704110441

Everybody should mourn over this tragic loss. Johnny Cash was and still is a great american hero.

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