So, Mark Linkous is gone. Suicide. If his name isn't immediately familiar to you, I'm not surprised, and that's a shame. Under the moniker Sparklehorse, Linkous produced four fantastically sad, beautiful and broken albums as well as the Dark Night of the Soul collaboration with producer Danger Mouse and film-maker David Lynch and an In the Fishtank collaboration with laptop musician Christian Fennesz.
Linkous was one of our favorites around here. In fact, Sparklehorse was part of the inspiration of naming our Etsy shop. His It's A Wonderful Life and Good Morning Spider records were the soundtrack for the early days of our marriage and have accompanied us on nearly every driving trip we've taken. His music is perfectly suited to long stretches of Western highway, the blue sky opening up over red mountains. I think that "The Most Beautiful Widow In Town," from 1995's Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot is one of the most beautiful songs ever written by a human being. Don't believe me? Give it a listen. Lines like "may all your days be gold, my child," or "it's a hard world for little things" have informed our art and our lives. He was a big deal for us. We will miss him.
As of now, all we know is that he took his own life. As to the whys and wherefores, that's between Mark and his creator. He was obviously a profoundly sad guy, and this isn't the first time he has tried to get out of this world. A previous suicide attempt left him with limited mobility in his legs and he's struggled with substance abuse and alcoholism for a long time. It shouldn't come as a shock that he took his life, but it's still unexpected, shocking and sad. I hope he finds something better than what he had here.
Like any artist who leaves us, Linkous left us behind with his work, a collection of, to borrow one of his phrases, "sad and beautiful" albums. You could do a lot worse than to pick one of them up and give it a few listens.
So, so long, Mark. "There's a heaven and a star for you." Sleep well.