by / July 30th, 2010 /

The Handsome Family – Whelan’s, Dublin

Tickets available from, City Discs, WAV box office [lo-call 1890 200 078] & ticketmaster outlets nationwide

Taking place under bowed branches and deep within winding corn mazes, The Handsome Family’s latest release, “Honey Moon” is full of an awed sense of emotion in the face of nature’s mysteries, Brett Sparks
(music) and Rennie Sparks (lyrics) branched from their usual canon of the dark and mysterious on “Honey Moon”, to establish a theme rooted in the tradition of 19th-century romanticism. It is an album of transcendence, of touching the divine, if only for a moment, through our love of someone else, even if he is a katydid. The record’s release (their eighth) coincided with the Sparks’ twentieth year of marriage.

The twosome’s seventh CD, “Last Days of Wonder” (June 2006), was one of Mojo’s Top Ten American Albums for 2006 and was called “an unqualified triumph” by Uncut. Their fourth album, “In the Air” was recently listed as one of the essential records of the first decade of the 21st century by Uncut. In 2004, a reader’s poll in Mojo named The Handsome Family’s third CD, “Through the Trees” one of the ten essential Americana records. UK national newspaper, “The Guardian”
listed their song “Weightless Again” as one of the 100 essential songs about Heartbreak.

Their songs have been covered by many artists, most notably: Andrew Bird, Christy Moore, The Sadies, Sally Timms and Cerys Matthews. They have appeared in the movie, I’m Your Man (2005), a tribute to Leonard Cohen as well as Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus (2004). The Handsome Family record all their songs in a converted garage studio at the back of their Albuquerque house.

In their live performances the band is sometimes up to a six-piece band and sometimes just Brett and Rennie playing guitar and banjo.
They have toured extensively throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. A recent live review (by Mike Ritchie) noted, “There’s a lot of smiling at this gig, on and off stage. That might surprise many people who have only read about the duo’s penchant for songs riddled with darkness, death and the macabre. But Rennie Sparks and her husband, Brett are funny live…through their chit-chat, the song introductions and the banter with the audience…This sell-out show, part of the excellent Glasgow Americana Festival, was a knockabout celebration of the deadpan, a real joy…
Rennie’s words plus Brett’s music and strong, mellow vocals create a magical potion of grim fairytales in a rock and blues pot with grinning unavoidable.”