The Handsome Family - Far From Any Road HD (Singing Bones - 2003)
From the dusty mesa, her looming shadow grows
Hidden in the branches of the poison creosote.
She twines her spines up slowly towards the boiling sun,
And when I touched her skin, my fingers ran with blood.
In the hushing dusk, under a swollen silver moon,
I came walking with the wind to watch the cactus bloom.
A strange hunger haunted me; the looming shadows danced.
I fell down to the thorny brush and felt a trembling hand.
When the last light warms the rocks and the rattlesnakes unfold,
Mountain cats will come to drag away your bones.
And rise with me forever across the silent sand,
And the stars will be your eyes and the wind will be my hands.
The Handsome Family is an alternative country and americana band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The band was formed in 1993 by husband-and-wife duo Brett Sparks (vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Rennie Sparks (bass, banjo, vocals), along with drummer Mike Werner. The band would later revolve around Rennie, who writes the lyrics, and Brett, who writes the music. Guest musicians complete the band line-up for recordings and live work.
Regarding the band name, Brett said in an interview: "It's just kind of a stupid name. We used to have this really obnoxious drummer, and he used to call me 'Handsome', that was his nickname for me, I think for sarcastic reasons... And he wanted to call it the Handsome Family...and we thought it was funny, too. We thought it was a good name."
Brett is originally from Odessa, Texas and Rennie from Long Island. The band toured extensively throughout both America and Europe in support of early releases Odessa (1994) and Milk and Scissors (1996). During that time, Brett suffered an emotional breakdown, resulting in his hospitalization and diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
Their third full-length album, Through the Trees, was written in the aftermath of these events, and included a song inspired by Brett's experiences in the psychiatric unit. The album was recorded in 1998, using Jeff Tweedy's mobile studio, and brought the band to a wider audience. It was named the "Best New Country Album of the Year" by UNCUT.
A growing following and raised profile allowed Brett and Rennie to give up their day jobs and work on the band full-time. They toured America and Europe again in support of the 2000 album In the Air. In 2001, they moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and released Twilight, with Allmusic opining that the album leads "the listener down a lovely yet dark trail few would dare tread twice". In 2002, they released a live album, Live at Schuba's Tavern, a recording from the In the Air tour from Chicago in December 2000. They have subsequently released the albums Singing Bones (2003), and Last Days of Wonder (2006) as well as the collections Smothered and Covered (2003) and Scattered (2010).
The band's latest studio album, Honey Moon, was released in April 2009. A new album, Wilderness, was released in May 2013.
Odessa (1994) Carrot Top Records
Milk and Scissors (1996) Carrot Top Records
Invisible Hands (1997) Carrot Top Records/Scout (Vinyl only EP release)
Through the Trees (1998) Carrot Top Records / Loose Music
In the Air (2000) Carrot Top Records / Loose Music
Twilight (2001) Carrot Top Records / Loose Music
Singing Bones (2003) Carrot Top Records / Loose Music
Last Days of Wonder (2006) Carrot Top Records / Loose Music
Honey Moon (2009) Carrot Top Records / Loose Music
Wilderness (2013) Carrot Top Records / Loose Music
Compilations and Live albums
Down in the Valley (1999) Independent Records (Ireland only release)
Live at Schuba's Tavern (2002) Digital Club Network
Smothered and Covered (2002) Handsome Family Music
Scattered (2010) Handsome Family Music
"My Beautiful Bride" (1999) Magwheel