Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer
Many people in Macon County know Angela Faye Martin as the owner, with her husband (and local author) Brent Martin, of a local guide service. Yet, Angela’s career for decades has been as an indie folk song writer and performer – and her unexpected meeting and work with notable musician Mark Linkous resulted in her becoming a prominent narrative presence in the globally released documentary on Linkous’s life called “This is Sparklehorse.”
Linkous, known internationally as an indie rocker and record producer, died in 2010 at age 47. He was the founder of the late 1990s-established American indie rock band, Sparklehorse. But the Virginia native lived in a remote cabin in the Tusquittees mountain range of neighboring Clay County; and, through a series of unexpected events, Martin met him in 2008 and began working with him on her album of indie folk songs, “Pictures from Home,” which includes songs about her life in Macon County.
Linkous took his own life in 2010, due to chronic pain and depression according to Martin. Because Martin was one of the last people to work with him, she was asked to assist with a documentary on his life.
“These two filmmakers [Alex Crowton, Bobby Dass] in England had a lot of footage on Mark and they set out to make a documentary,” she said. Martin wrote and recorded the narration for the film, and she was interviewed for the film as well.
Famous American filmmaker, David Lynch [“Twin Peaks,” “Dune”], also knew Linkous and is featured in the documentary.
The filmmakers mention Martin in music publication interviews. Plus, Martin is spotlighted in the official “This is Sparklehorse” film summary: “The long hours she spent with him in his remote studio in Western North Carolina found her conducting a delicate and continuous Q&A, with Mark sometimes reading parts of it back to him. Little did she know she’d soon be called on to render this content as a basis for the film’s narrative, honoring her friend. With the gentleness of therapists, the filmmakers gave her a medium through which to weld a correction to all that went so terribly wrong for Mark. She still writes and conducts nature and art tours of the southern Appalachians.”
Martin said Crowton and Dass visited Macon County twice to meet with her and to film and collect information for the film. Although a version of the film was released in 2016, it has been updated and re-released of late on Vimeo. The film has won indie film festival awards.
“Mark was a fascinating person,” said Martin, “and the film is a tribute. The film takes viewers on a tour of his journey in life, especially as it pertains to this area.”