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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Review: The Handsome Family - Honey Moon

The Handsome Family - Honey Moon
2009, Carrot Top Records

The Handsome Family is husband and wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks. The Albuquerque, new Mexico tandem decided to celebrate their 20th year of marriage by releasing their eighth album, the aptly titled Honey Moon. Their previous CD, The Last Days Of Wonder was recognized by Mojo magazine as one of the top ten American albums of 2006, as well as recognizing their third CD, Through The Trees as one of the ten essential Americana albums of all time. Inspired by classic brother duos (Monroe, Everley, Louvin) of early country music and the great vocal R&B groups (Mills Brothers, Ink Spots, Platters), The Handsome Family crafted twelve highly melodic and deep songs for Honey Moon.

Honey Moon opens with Linger, Let Me Linger, which sounds like it might have come right out of the Grand Ol' Opry itself, circa 1952. Little Sparrows comes to a bit more modern sound, hitting a classic country stride that might have haunted AM radio in the 1970's and early 1980's. Brett Sparks has a very full and somewhat heavy voice that is something of a period sound. Rennie Sparks is the perfect vocal counterpoint, with a light and airy sound that illuminates the darker edge of Brett Sparks. The Loneliness Of Magnets explores the junction where early rock, jazz and country meet in one of the aural highlights of the album. Other highlights include The Petrified Forest, When You Whispered, Wild Wood and The Winding Corn Maze.
I am not as enraptured with The Handsome Family as some critics seem to be, but they are certainly very talented. The Sparks show a strong sense of melody and harmony, and lyrically there is a real sense of movement to the songs on Honey Moon. Fans of classic country and Americana will definitely dig this one.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about The Handsome Family at or, where you can purchase Honey Moon.

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