Taking their name from the Nick Cave album of similar title, the Good Sons formed in 1992, building a fan base in the Manchester/Preston area of England from which they came. Their debut album, Singing the Glory Down, which was released in 1995, was well-received by both critics and the alt-country scene that existed in Great Britain at the time. Fronted by Michael Weston King, who cut his teeth in late-'70s and early-'80s Liverpool, the band found their niche in the British market as Americana with an appreciation for Ronnie Lane. They were soon to charm American audiences as well with their jangly-but-forceful melodies and with King's gift for plaintive songwriting. Singing the Glory Down featured a guest appearance by Townes Van Zandt, who duets with King on "Riding on the Range," a song he would later record (much it's author's gratitude) as a solo piece shortly before his death. Their second CD, The Kings Highway, was much a more low-key affair, and with an undeniable Van Zandt influence, and consisted of songs written during King's years as a folk troubador. In 1997, they released the more raucus Wines, Lines, and Valentines which, due to their American label Watermelon Records' wariness of the title's reference to cocaine, was later released in the U.S. as Angels in the End. A tour bus accident in 1998 left King's health and the band's finances in a shambles, and later that year, after Watermelon filed for bankruptcy, their manager departed for greener pastures. But the band managed to pull themselves out of oblivion, first with a 1999 solo release by King called God Shaped Hole, a collection of sparse, somber gems that reflected on that dark period, and then with their fourth effort, Happiness, which was released in 2001.
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