Friday 17 May 2013 at 7:30pm
28-34 High Street, Manchester, M4 1QB, United Kingdom
The Handsome Family is a 20-year songwriting collaboration between husband and wife Brett (music) and Rennie Sparks (words). Their music has always been Americana in the truest sense – echoing everything from medieval ballad to Appalachian holler to Tin Pan Alley and punk rock. The Sparks write songs that are full of an awed sense of emotion in the face of nature’s mysterious beauty and the wonders of everyday life. The Handsome Family’s 2009 release, Honey Moon, for example, is an album of love songs, but the beloved found within these tracks is a praying mantis, a sleeping bird, a cement truck, and a puddle.
In 2010 the band released Scattered, a collection of lost demos, orphaned songs and odd covers that included material culled from their entire career. The band’s seventh CD, Last Days of Wonder (2006), was one of Mojo magazine’s Top Ten American Albums and was called ‘an unqualified triumph’ by Uncut. The Sparks’ fourth album, In the Air, was named one of the most important records 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 of all time, while the Guardian listed the Handsome Family song Weightless Again as one of the 100 best songs ever written about heartbreak.
Handsome Family songs have been covered by many artists, most notably: Andrew Bird, Christy Moore, Jeff Tweedy, Cerys Matthews and an unknown singer on American Idol. The band has appeared in the 2005 movie I’m Your Man, 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 house in Albuquerque. Live Brett (guitar/vocals) and Rennie (banjo/bass ukulele/vocals) are joined by percussionist Jason Toth.
Support comes from all-female Amsterdam trio Snowapple.
Price: £12 adv
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