You know, sometimes people make it very easy for you with a project like this and write everything that needs to be said for you. Keiran Naughton is guitarist and singer in Deserter’s Deserve Death and also an excellent young sound engineer. He contacted me to ask if he could be part of the tribute project and of course, there was never any doubt he could be. This is the first Sparklehorse cover of the project and a fitting way to start. I’ll just leave Kieran to say a bit about why he chose the song then and let you guys get on with downloading it. I hope you do. Remember all the money is going to Depression Alliance UK to help raise awareness of this often forgotten but alway serious disease:
Deciding on a track to cover by Sparklehorse for me was a no-brainer, this track is the one song that I always go back to every time I pick up an acoustic guitar. The song is one I hold dearly and one I could never do justice but felt like the right thing to do.
I first heard the song when a friend of my older brother sang it to us in our kitchen, I was hooked, for my next birthday I asked for the album, it didn’t leave my Discman for a good few months, I think I was about 14. Sparklehorse were a turning point for me and my musical taste, up until then I’d been almost exclusively into grunge and American punk music, after Sparklehorse came Radiohead and Mogwai and Godspeed -I could go on. I stopped wearing Nirvana hoodies and ripped jeans and was more vintage T-shirts and cardigans with cords, I have a very fond memory of these times back home, it’s always summer for some reason.
I remember seeing Sparklehorse at Leeds Festival in 2001 on my own because none of my friends were interested. I was befriended by a group of loud liverpudlians who sat down next to me, I think they took pity because I was by myself and shared their weed and cider with me. When the band eventually came out I remember thinking how tall and scruffy Mark Linkous looked. Years later, and a lot less intoxicated I saw them again at the Liquid Rooms on their ‘Dreamt For Light Years’ tour, the album seemed to be a return to form in my opinion, Linkous’ guitar playing really came through on it and as a album was a lot more upbeat than the previous work…..almost…..happy, well as happy as you can get with a Sparklehorse album. But like every Sparklehorse album it’s his lyrics that got me, it’s always his lyrics.
‘Most Beautiful Widow In Town’ from the first album quickly became the swan song at the end of every mixtape/cd I made, back when people still did that. For my version I felt I was going to have to change it somewhat as no cover could ever compare to the stripped back original. I dunno, I wanted to make my version almost a celebration.
You may hate it and think I’ve ruined a great song, I don’t care, for me recording it was the right thing to do.
Mark Linkous rest in peace.
Many thanks to Euan for organising such a thoughtful project.