The Court & Spark
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|The Court & Spark|
|Labels||Absolutely Kosher Records
|Associated acts||Howard Hello, Hiss Golden Messenger|
|Website||The Court & Spark Page at Dream Chimney|
The Court & Spark was a San Francisco-based indie rock band formed in the spring of 1998 around the nucleus of Scott Hirsch, Alex Stimmel, James Kim, and lead vocalist M.C. Taylor. Between 1998 and 2001 the group established itself among the leaders of the alt-country Americana scene.
After Hirsch and Taylor's early and noisy participation in Ex-Ignota, the two (along with bassist Joe Rogers and others) found themselves in San Francisco, and formed the country-oriented group, taking cues from the classic sounds of the early country-rock era as well as incorporating more sonically progressive and multi-faceted compositions as evidenced on their tUMULt Records 1999 debut Ventura Whites.
The group achieved acclaim with their 2001 release Bless You which included support from pedal steel player Tom Heyman and vocalist Wendy Allen, as well as former Byrd and Flying Burrito Brother Gene Parsons. A review in Pitchfork by Christopher F. Schiel which gave it an impressive score of 9.0 (later inexplicably downgraded to 8.4 ) as well as feature in December 2001 on NPR's All Things Considered by Sarah Bardeen. helped gain the band recognition.
The Court & Spark officially disbanded in the summer of 2007 with a post to the band's website, "It's hard to say that The C&S is breaking up, as we still spend all our time together, but seeing as how we're all involved in different musical projects, it seems best to retire the C&S name for a while. We've had a good run and have had the good fortune to meet all kinds of wonderful souls as we've stumbled down the road. Thank you one and all for everything you've given us." 
M.C. Taylor and Scott Hirsch moved to the East Coast—Chapel Hill, NC and New York City respectively—and started a new project together called Hiss Golden Messenger which has released seven albums and garnered critical acclaim.
- Ventura Whites (Tumult Records, 1999)
- Bless You (Absolutely Kosher Records, 2001)
- Double Roses EP (Prophecy Connection, 2003)
- Witch Season (Absolutely Kosher, 2004)
- Dead Diamond River EP (Absolutely Kosher, 2004)
- Hearts (Absolutely Kosher, 2006)