The Handsome Family

On my flight out to Cleveland via Chicago, I sat next to a lovely, hip-looking couple watching The Sopranos on DVD, wedged into the cattle-class middle seats. They turned out to be Brett and Rennie Sparks — husband-and-wife band The Handsome Family. They actually started out in Chicago in the early 1990s back when I was a graduate student and part-time DJ at WHPK radio, and have recorded with some of my favorite musicians such as various members of the Mekons. Their records have been lauded as amongst the best of the alt.country/Americana/No Depression genres — just the sort of stuff that I love, so I’m now a little embarrassed that I haven’t paid much attention to them before. A quick listen to their myspace and iTunes samples means that it’s time for a trip to the record store.