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The Handsome Family / Drunken Prayer (live at the Round Chapel)

The Handsome Family live March 2018The Handsome Family band play in Clapton, a very recently happening neighbourhood of London. The Round Chapel is such a lovely old venue, and this is not my first time here. In fact, all my times here have always been so emotionally charged. The Handsome Family normally charges me, so let’s see if tradition holds.

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The Handsome Family (live at Islington Assembly Rooms)

London 29 May 2013

The Handsome Family tour poster 2013Recently refurbished and nicely polished, the venue presents a fairly comfortable setting for seeing The Handsome Family. The audience is calm and collected, fairly covered in beards and almost certainly here straight from work. One gets into an involuntary beard comparison routine right away and my own observation is that they’ve definitely outdone Brett Sparks, who seems to have had a pretty neat and tidy trim compared to his recent publicity photos. I wonder if all those other guys are disappointed.

Husband and wife Brett and Rennie take the stage without any long delays, (I suppose there were no puppies backstage this year) and delve directly into “Octopus.” They play it somewhat faster than on record, with Rennie making

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The Handsome Family – Wilderness

Carrot Top (N America)/Loose Music (Europe)

The Handsome Family - WildernessAptly titled, this latest album from Rennie and Brett Sparks is like a beautiful life sciences lesson. Packed with facts I presume are correct, and I wouldn’t argue with songwriter Rennie’s instructions – one can learn an awful lot about beasts of our world. The worst beasts being of course ourselves, mankind.

The Handsome Family deliver stories in their songs which seem almost always like age-old tales but are cunningly crafted in the here and now. They’ve chosen an older type of Americana to base the music on, seriously strong on bluegrass and Appalachian traditional tunes, melodies and harmonies. On Wilderness, for the first time, I’m finding myself hearing that these tunes sound like those in other Handsome

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