The Handsome Family

Norwich Lanes

Masters of melancholy Americana, the Handsome Family make music that draws on country, folk, and acoustic blues traditions while blending the ingredients in a way that gives them a truly unique personality, with the sometimes-witty, often heartfelt sadness of the lyrics matched by the artful elegance of the arrangements.

Led by the husband-and-wife team of Brett Sparks and Rennie Sparks, the Handsome Family began as a rock group with an alt-country sensibility on 1995’s Odessa, but by the time they released 1998’s Through the Trees, they had adopted a more spare, rootsy sound that emphasized acoustic instruments and did away with most of their rock influences.

Recording at their own pace in their living room, the duo’s productivity slowed considerably following 2009’s Honey Moon — a relatively upbeat set focusing on songs about love –though 2016’s Unseen and 2023’s Hollow revealed the Sparks’ talents were still with them.