“Mark Linkous, the driving force behind Sparklehorse, was the man who literally died and came back to life,” says the website for The Sad & Beautiful World of Sparklehorse, a new feature-length music documentary. “His existence mirrored his mesmerizing and unique music.”
Local singer-songwriter Angela Faye Martin collaborated with Linkous on her 2009 debut album, Pictures From Home. Soon after the release of that record, Linkous took his own life. And though it took Martin a year to begin writing again, her follow up, Anniversary, was produced by Linkous’ friend, Al Weatherhead, and features Linkous’ brother, Matt Linkous, and Matt’s wife, Melissa Moore Linkous. The husband and wife have a band together.
Those connections — plus Martin’s familiarity with the rural area where Linkous was living in his last years (he was based in Hayesville, where he established his Static King Studio) — made her a good choice to narrate the film, which was created by U.K. based filmmakers Alex Crowton and Bobby Dass.
“The film features interviews with Linkous himself as well as Jonathan Donahue & Grasshopper (Mercury Rev), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), David Lowery (Camper Van Beethoven), Emily Haines (Metric), Adrian Utley (Portishead), John Parish (PJ Harvey), Matthew Wright, Ed Harcourt, Gemma Hayes and others,” says a press release.
“Cold Mountain novelist Charles Frazier [says of] the film: ‘Mark Linkous’s music — the long chords, distortions, and halting rhythms — is like the sound of someone thinking, feeling, and creating at just the moment I hit play. Among the many praiseworthy elements of this movie is it’s restraint. In telling the tragic, truncated life, it never for a moment forgets that the true story lies in the beauty of the achievement.’”
The Sad & Beautiful World of Sparklehorse will travel to the Secret Stages music festival in Birmingham, Ala. in August, but first it screens locally in two locations. View the film at The Good Stuff, 38 Baileys Branch Road, Marshall, on Thursday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m. It will also be shown at the Jackson County Library, 310 Keener St., Sylva, on Thursday, July 28, at 6 p.m.