The Handsome Family

Genres: Country & Bluegrass Documentaries Pop / Rock
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Decades: 1990s 2000s
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Chicago, USA-based musician Brett Sparks originally formed the Handsome Family with his wife Rennie, who he met while studying medieval classical composition at university, and friend Mike Werner. The Sparks’ unique urban folk music is lumped in with the ‘No Depression’ alternative country scene, a style commonly associated with bands such as Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown and Son Volt. Their compelling blend of the plaintive country moans of Hank Williams and Southside Chicago blues, however, creates a bizarre rustic hybrid that has far more in common with the pre-war stylings of the Carter Family. Rennie’s lyrics deftly incorporate cultural references that reveal an acute awareness of the modern mindset. Their scratchy 1994 debut sneaked in the dirty rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Claire Said’ amongst the funereal folk laments.

Milk And Scissors was a more coherent follow-up, with an expanded lyrical range evident on...

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