For one night only, a North Texas supergroup pays tribute to the late Mark Linkous

Standing in a field, Mark Linkous faces the camera

Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse, who died in 2010.
Photo: Courtesy Sparklehorse

The descriptive noun “supergroup” is tossed around a lot when talking about musical collaborations and configurations of various artists from different bands, whether or not such characterization is warranted.

When it comes to the gathering of talent assembled for Dec. 21’s edition of the occasional “Homage Nation” series at the Kessler Theater — this installment paying tribute to the late singer-songwriter Mark Linkous, who died in 2010 — “supergroup” almost seems too humble a word.

Tim DeLaughter, John Dufilho, Mara Lee Miller, Scott Danbom, Nathan “Mongol” Wells, Daniel Folmer and even Chris Michaels, a former member of Sparklehorse, are just a few of the artists who will take to the Kessler stage to perform songs from Sparklehorse’s back catalog. Proceeds from the event will benefit Foundation 45.

The night is intended as a loving act of tribute which began as a lark, but as Jeff Ryan, one of the instigators and performers for the event, explained, quickly blossomed into something more substantial.

“So, I’ve been a Mark Linkous fan since, probably, 2001,” said Jeff Ryan during a recent conversation. “His untimely passing in 2010 was very sad. … Jerome [Brock], Kim [Herriage] and I and Tony [Hormillosa] had been kicking around the idea of having a [“This is Sparklehorse” documentary] viewing at Consolvo Studio in East Dallas — just make it a fun evening.

“It got me thinking about all the people that we know that are kind of loose connections to Mark … we just decided, let’s pull in our friends or local artists who like Sparklehorse, who love [Mark] as much as we do … let’s just make this a show.” (The 2022 documentary, directed by Alex Crowton and Bobby Dass, will also screen at the Kessler, followed by the performances.)

Brock was heartened to see how rapidly the tribute gained traction: “I was kind of blown away by the idea of having moved from just viewing the film to having the film and then the band afterwards,” he said during a recent conversation. “The whole idea was exciting.”

Herriage, who, along with Brock and Ryan, will perform as part of the evening’s backing band, wasn’t as grounded in Sparklehorse as his bandmates, but thanks to repeated exposure to Linkous’s music before Cryptolog practices (via Brock), he’s become enamored with the singer-songwriter.

“I’ve heard the songs [and] I was like, ‘Wow, man,’” Herriage said during a recent conversation. “His production and his values and making sounds from things that aren’t musical instruments really touched my heart.”

Regardless of your familiarity with Linkous and Sparklehorse, the event will be a rare opportunity to see much of the North Texas music scene joining forces for an emotional night.

“I’m a big fan of the communal aspects of these projects,” Ryan said. “This has been something that has taken on a whole life of its own … all these people coming together — I wasn’t trying to overstate it the other day when I made a [social media] post about [the event] saying ‘I don’t know when this will happen again, when these people come together for this one thing to pay homage to a guy who was really beautiful.”

Homage Nation: A Tribute to Mark Linkous — Sparklehorse (benefiting Foundation 45) at Kessler Theater, Dallas. 7 p.m. Dec. 21. Tickets are $25.

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.