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The Handsome Family

Friday, July 27, 2018, 4:00 AM

with Chris Crofton
The Handsome Familys greatest gift lies in its tremendous talent for painting vivid, sometimes terrifying pictures with every word NPRThe Handsome Familys absorbing vision of decay and entropy is quietly unsettling and makes most other modern roots music seem like childs playMOTHER JONESWords that in their everyday surrealism have no parallel in contemporary writing Music that mines the deep veins of fatalism in the Appalachian voice GREIL MARCUSAs songwriters its the eerie, ancestral voice of Anonymous they ultimately resemble the most CHICAGO READERThrough the Trees (1998)10 essential Americana records of all time MOJOIn the Air (2000) One of the most important records of the 21st century UNCUTWeightless Again100 best songs ever written about heartbreak THE GUARDIAN, UKRENNIE SPARKS DISAPPEARED one afternoon while waiting for a flight at OHare. A middle-aged businessman, McDonalds bag in one hand, rolling-bag dragged by the other walked up to Rennie and, without pause, turned and sat down on her lap. A second later his french fries and rolling bag were on the floor and he was sputtering apologies, insisting hed seen an empty chair.Rennie often has trouble with automatic faucets ignoring her waving hands but this unexpected airport invisibility was in 2014, the year the TV show True Detective used her song, Far From Any Road as its opening theme. This was the year The Handsome Family (aka husband and wife Brett and Rennie Sparks) became visible to millions. Even as she was getting sat on by strangers, youtube counts for The Handsome Familys hit song climbed from two million to ten million, twenty million and more. The song was in the top 10 in US and UK Spotify charts and spent months in itunes top 100 in countries as far-flung as Vietnam, South Africa, and the Ukraine.Millions of viewers broke the internet watching the final episode of True Detective S1, but Rennie and Brett watched in their little house in Albuquerque, NM feeling oddly alone. The Handsome Family were now known around the globe for a song theyd written 12 years earlier about fire ants and desert plants, a song now linked forever to a show about cops in a psychic swamp. The Sparks were arguably famous now, but at the same time unknown. They were not their famous song nor was their famous song written for the show that made it famous. All these disconnections, though, are fine when youre a writer of songs.For almost as long as theyve been married (26 years) Brett and Rennie have written songs together (Brett, music; Rennie, words). Their finished work is never fully one or the others, but lives in unseen space between them. William Burroughs claimed he walked busy streets without being seen simply by seeing everyone else first. This is similar to the Sparks approach to songwriting and why Rennie embraces her power to vanish. You have to willingly disappear in order to write lyrics for someone elses voice or to write music for someone elses words. Invisible songwriters are happiest when their songs outshine them, leaving their creators unseen in the dust.The Sparks have released 10 albums since 1995s Odessa. Their songs have been covered by countless youtubers and well-known artists like Jeff Tweedy, Amanda Palmer, Christy Moore, Cerys Matthews and Andrew Bird (who released an entire record of HF covers). Guns N Roses used, Far From Any Road as stage entrance music for a South American tour and both Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr are fans. Decades into their careers, after winning the TV theme-show jackpot the Sparks still find their greatest reward in disappearing into new songs.And so in the strange light of 2014 they began again to write. 2016 brings the release of Unseen 10 songs by a couple both world-famous and happily invisible. Each song on the record has a guiding colorgold, silver, green, red, white. Rennie is also a painter known for her vivid and surprising use of color and she finds herself painting even when her brushes

Cost: $15.00 - $18.00
Tickets: http://www.viagogo.com/ww/Concert-Tickets/Country-and-Folk/The-Handsome-Family-Tickets/E-2735795?affiliateID=624&PCID=AFFIAFFUKEvent14FF953148

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1043 Virginia Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46203

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