Alan Sparhawk is the guitarist and vocalist for Minnesota bands Low and Retribution Gospel Choir.
George Alan Sparhawk (goes by Alan) was born in Seattle, Washington and grew up in Utah. He met Mimi Parker when he was 9, after his family moved to Minnesota. Sparhawk began writing his own compositions around the age of 13. He later married Parker, and eventually began performing with her in the band Low, releasing their first album in 1994. As of 2011, Low has released nine full-length studio albums. Low is an American indie rock group from Duluth, Minnesota, formed in 1993. As of 2010, the group is composed of founding members Sparhawk (guitar and vocals) and Mimi Parker (drums and vocals), joined by newer addition Steve Garrington (bass guitar).
The music of Low is characterized by slow tempos and minimalist arrangements. Early descriptions sometimes referred to it as rock subgenre called "slowcore". However, Low's members ultimately disapproved of the term.
Parker and Sparhawk's striking vocal harmonies represent perhaps the group's most distinctive element; critic Denise Sullivan writes that their shared vocals are "as chilling as anything Gram and Emmylou ever conspired on—though that's not to say it's country-tinged, just straight from the heart." Sparhawk is also a member of the blues-roots band Black Eyed Snakes, the blues-dub jam band Los Besos, and the rock band Retribution Gospel Choir. He also occasionally plays solo shows in his hometown. As a solo artist, Sparhawk released his debut album entitled Solo Guitar in August, 2006. He also released a track on a various artists compilation Songs for the End of the World as Hollis M. Sparhawk & Her Father, and the track Be Nice To People With Lice on the various artists compilation album See You on the Moon!. In 2007 he did a Take-Away Show acoustic video session shot by Vincent Moon.