Big Sad Guy
Sadcore-Americana music at its finest...

Big Sad Guy...
   BSG have made themselves known to vagrants and ne'er do wells from Kauai to Levelland. This is music that draws inspiration from Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Spike Jones, Bread and old-time clarinet swing then mixes it all together in a bath of fragrant three-part harmony... It’s also some solid folk-rock played by four guys who listen to all kinds of music, play all original material, and like to have fun and make people happy.
    Big Sad Guy's new, 2-CD, 26 song album entitled, “Waiting for the Undular Bores” was recorded at Brett Sparks’ own Handsome Family studio.

    “Waiting for the Undular Bores was recorded in my home studio, where I also record all the Handsome Family records. I don’t take on many outside projects, only stuff I really like. And I really like Big Sad Guy. I love their music and I love them as friends. I’ve known these guys all my life. Musically and lyrically BSG and The Handsome Family have a lot in common. I strongly recommend you check out this record.

    Recording took almost a year to the day. This was a mammoth project— 26 songs, a 2 CD set. Who does that these days? Waiting for the Undular Bores  took four seasons to make. When we started in January it was so cold we left our PBRs outside to 'naturally chill'. In the summer Jeff brought us tomatoes from his garden. In the spring we were finally able to open the side door to let some fresh air in. That day we had a rare, desert-afternoon downpour which we captured on 'tape'. You can  hear it as the accompaniment to Dave’s fretless guitar solo on “Everyone dies alone.”
    There was a lot of experimentation and fun and laughter. There was a lot of beer (and Ted and Jeff went through lots of Dr. Pepper). The record was recorded on an iMac running Pro Tools 8, however there is a minimum of studio trickery; what you hear is a great band playing a bunch of great songs (remember when that was the way music was made?).  I love the little classic touches throughout the record— the Phase 90 on the steel on "Undular Bores", the fuzzed-out bass and backward guitar on "Candy Apples," the tremolo-ed, baritone guitar on “West Texas Skies.”  For the choral effect at the close of the record we had six people (the band plus Rennie and Amanda Kooser) gathered around a figure-8 patterened ribbon mic. This was mult’ed until we had the sound of a great multitude.
    But for the most part, we kept it classic-rock simple. Drums were recorded with just 4 mics— Rode NT4 overhead pair, Shure PG52 kick, and a 57 on the snare.  Ted’s bass was recorded direct through a Sadowsky box. Dave and Eric’s guitars are usually hard panned— I always liked the way the Stones did that so you could hear the guitar interplay (think "Beast of Burden"). We mixed on Alesis Mk II speakers, Yamaha NS-10m's, and Auratones (for mono). We would like to thank Abbey Road studios for creating "The Green Box" (the RS127 brilliance control), which seems to sound good on nearly anything, especially acoustic guitars.

    The record contains a plethora of musical styles: from the jazz of "Amish Hat" to the country shuffle of "Rosie", to the 6/8 prog-rock, sea shanty swagger of "Everyone Dies Alone." There's homicidal rockabilly on "Tears Won't Cleanse" and power-pop on "Just Can't See Anything."
    Eric's lyrics are deceptively direct; imbued with a understated profundity I've never heard from anyone else. His lyrics deal with an enormous range of subjects. From the utopian dream of escaping the bullshit and just hanging out in "Coconut Coast," to the surreality of the everyday in "Undular Bores."  I never realized it while working on the nuts and bolts of the record, but this is a "concept album" in the finest sense. It has a pronounced arc— from the idyll of floating carefree in paradise to the stark contemplations of the grave, death, and loss (“My Weary Head,” “Long May it be’Til Your End”). Waiting for the Undular Bores has the expansive arc of a life, naturally filled with shortcomings (“God Made a Film”) and loss but also with moments of pure joy and transcendence (the insane and astonishing  simplicity; the exuberant simple-mindedness of “Out all Night” with Eric on accidental Les Paul at the end of the song).

    Boy we had lots of fun making this music. I think we all looked forward to those evening sessions as a time to enjoy one another’s friendship, to make some good sounds, and to just escape the bullshit for a while.

Brett Sparks


Send a check,  money order or well-hidden cash to Rennie Sparks, 305 Wellesley Drive, SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106, USA.
Please let us know what CD you'd like (Big Sad Guy CD) and make sure your mailing address is readable.
Prices (including shipping) are as follows:
USA: $17 ($16.50 multiple order)*
CANADA: $17.50 ($17multiple order)*
EUROPE: $20.50 ($20 multiple order)*
ALL OTHER COUNTRIES: $21 ($20.50 multiple order)*
*Multiple orders means ordering anything else on The Handsome Family website at the same time you make this order.