I am laughably behind on TV but I’ve done some catching up recently. I watched seasons and seasons of truly outstanding programs, unlike anything I’ve seen on the medium, or even beyond. There was Breaking Bad. Then there was Better Call Saul.
And most recently, the best TV series I’ve ever seen: True Detective, Season One, starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
As the older Marty might put it under debriefing,
You know, sometimes you can set the bar too high in life. And when you shoot that high, and actually hit it, well, it may feel good at the time. But after that, everything is . . . just, lower. And then you realize, it’s never going to be that high again.
Couldn’t have said it better myself. It’s certainly how I feel as I look at my viewing options these days. Everything is suddenly unwatchable. It’s odd that the greatest TV show ever made may actually cure me of TV.
Anyway, as Rust might say, “I drift.”
Inextricably linked with Season One is the opening theme song, “Far from Any Road.” This dark, moody, soulful ballad has a way of getting into your head and not finding its way back out again.
From the album Singing Bones (2003).
At first I thought the singer was Johnny Cash, but it is actually Brett Sparks, and the female vocalist that comes in later is his wife, Rennie Sparks. Together they form the core of their band The Handsome Family.
Rennie writes the lyrics, Brett writes the music, and they both sing and play, and record, and tour. In addition to The Handsome Family’s astounding musical gifts, Rennie writes and paints. They’ve got a great website here.
According to Wikipedia, Brett accounts for the band name thusly:
“It’s just kind of a stupid name. We used to have this really obnoxious drummer, and he used to call me ‘Handsome’, that was his nickname for me, I think for sarcastic reasons… And he wanted to call it the Handsome Family… and we thought it was funny, too. We thought it was a good name.”
Now, ordinarily, the Name Funniness Index (NFI) might put Brett and Rennie out of the running for funny name status. Brett is about as ordinary as a name could be. Rennie is marginally better. “Sparks” obviously helps, and brings them close to the brink, but it’s the band name that seals the deal. That and Matthew McConaughey. And the fact that Dave and Arto are not watching the shop. And Fannie’s not very strict. Heck, she lets me get away with just about anything, these days.
OK, how about this? The music director of True Detective, who chose the theme song, is Joseph Henry “T Bone” Burnett III, himself a major presence in the music world.