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The Handsome Family Bring Dark Americana to Brooklyn Tomorrow

August 28th, 2014

Husband Brett Sparks (vocals, guitar and keys) and wife Rennie Sparks (bass, banjo and vocals) have been recording and performing as the Handsome Family for more than two decades. Brett pens the music while Rennie writes the lyrics, and combined they get their own unique blend of folk, rock, country and traditional Americana. The Handsome Family (above, performing “Weightless Again”) broke through into the mainstream with Through the Trees (stream it below) in 1998. Per AllMusic, it “is a wonderful encapsulation of the myths and heartbroken tales that populate the dark, romantic world of Brett and Rennie Sparks.” The two have since released five more uniformly excellent albums—produced and recorded in their Albuquerque, N.M., home studio—including last year’s Wilderness (stream it below), which the A.V. Club called “12 tales of mystery and imagination that form one of the strongest, most cohesive albums of their career.” (The band earned another bump in recognition earlier this year when “Far from Any Road” was featured in True Detective as the theme song.) They perform sometimes as just a duo and sometimes as big as a six-piece, and you can see them play Rough Trade NYC tomorrow night. Singer-songwriter Richard Buckner and Knoxville, Tenn., folk duo Cereus Bright open the show.