Brett and Rennie Sparks have inhabited a unique musical world together since the '90s. As The Handsome Family, husband Brett sings and writes the melodies while wife Rennie focuses on the lyrics; the resulting ghost stories and murder ballads have won the band an intense cult following. After years spent in Chicago, where Wilco helped boost its profile, The Handsome Family now resides in Albuquerque, N.M.
The Handsome Family's new album, Wilderness, is expansive and ambitious in the pair's own homemade way. Accompanying the album is a book of essays and illustrations created by Rennie Sparks under the same name, with stories and songs inspired by animals, from "Octopus" to "Woodpecker."