Listen to this track by melancholy and moody musical banner as fueled by the creative engine of one Mark Linkous, Sparklehorse. It’s “Shade and Honey”, a song that appears on Linkous’ last album, 2006’s Dreamt For Light Years In The Belly Of A Mountain. The song would also appear in another version in the film Laurel Canyon, sung by Alessandro Nivola.
By this time in his career, Linkous was a very well-respected musician, having collaborated with top flight artists ranging from Danger Mouse, to Nina Persson, to Tom Waits. The resulting music he created seemed to plumb the depths of the human soul in the quietest and most subtle sense, without self-aggrandizement or overblown sentiment.
Linkous was also known as a troubled spirit. This seemed to be confirmed when he ended his own life in 2010. So, like his contemporary Elliott Smith, the overall sound of his music suggested to many that his own struggles with mental illness had to be found in it. This is a common enough approach that many listeners take; to conflate the sound of something with its content, meaning, or its intention. This tune is very easily heard as a sort of elegy or anthem of loss. But, in listening to this song, I wonder if Linkous was actually trying to communicate the exact opposite. Read more