The Court and Spark

The Court and Spark has long been shoehorned into the alt-country pigeonhole, but the band tweaks that equation by submerging its songs in icy washes of atmosphere. As waves of pedal steel, banjo, brass and mandolin wax and wane, guitars bob through the ether on upsurges of echo and reverb. Drums and bass carve out huge chasms where notes hang, and the air reeks of emptiness and extinction. It can get pretty bleak.

"One day I think we all just asked ourselves, 'Why are our songs so sad?'" says C&S guitarist Scott Hirsch, laughing. "We're not unhappy people or anything. When I write stuff, I try to make it emotionally charged, and I guess that comes out kind of heavy and intense instead of lighthearted and happy."

The band's masterful grasp of emotion has less to do with the sometimes one-dimensionality of country and more to do with the rich, prismatic timbre of soul. In fact, when once pressed by an interviewer to categorize his band's style, vocalist M.C. Taylor responded by calling it "soul music."

"I'd still stand by that statement, I guess," Taylor says. "I think our goal from day one is to make music that's totally honest. There's no way to get around all these clichéd statements I'm making here, but we just want to have a band where the music seems like a natural extension of the people making it."

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jason Heller
Contact: Jason Heller