Mark Linkous (Virginia, USA) made an innocuous start to his music career, recording two albums in the mid-80s with the US indie rock band the Dancing Hoods. He first came to record under the band identity of Sparklehorse thanks to the munificence of David Lowery, who left his eight-track recording equipment at Linkous Richmond, Virginia, USA home for two years while his band, Cracker, went on tour. Linkous recorded many of the instrumental parts for his 1995 debut album himself, with occasional assistance from local musicians including multi-instrumentalist David Charles. The powerful single Someday I Will Treat You Good attracted media interest, although many of Linkous songs were more reflective and country-influenced, bearing comparison to the quieter moments of Pavement, Sebadoh and early Neil Young.
Sparklehorses brand of neo-Gothic acoustic alienation began to impress critics in the UK and it was after a London gig that Linkous mixed his prescription drugs and collapsed in his hotel bathroom, trapping his legs beneath his body. He was only found 12 hours later, by which time he had suffered heart failure and caused bad damage to his leg muscles. He made a steady recovery, performing from a wheelchair with his touring band of Paul Watson (guitar/banjo/mandolin), Scott Fitzsimmons (double bass) and Scott Minor (drums).
A quantum leap was made with Sparklehorses excellent second album, Good Morning Spider, which was recorded following Linkous recovery from his collapse. The six-track Distorted Ghost EP, released in February 2000, featured the winsome My Yoke Is Heavy and served as an effective stopgap while Linkous worked on the new Sparklehorse album with producer Dave Fridmann and a number of guest stars, including Tom Waits, PJ Harvey and Nina Persson of the Cardigans. Its A Wonderful Life was another superlative recording, demonstrating Linkous weirdness and originality and marking Sparklehorse out as one of the most interesting bands on the contemporary music scene. Five long years elapsed before an excellent new Sparklehorse album appeared in 2006. The wait was a refreshing reminder of how good they were and how good they remain; nothing has changed.
Linkous, who runs his own Static King studio from rural North Carolina, is also a noted producer. He has worked with artists including Daniel Johnston, Vic Chesnutt, Thom Yorke and Nina Persson.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.