A Thousand Horses
By David England
The great Southern rock revival continues! With Whiskey Myers, The Cadillac Three & Blackberry Smoke currently leading the field of newcomers, A Thousand Horses appear to have galloped in from nowhere with Southernality and could well be leading by a length. It’s loud at times, never more so than the opening track, but it’s been finely polished just like a thoroughbred should be.
Kicking the album off with “First Time” you get a guitar heavy driving track and a good opener for the album. Pushing the song through a rock and roll filter, it begs to be played loud.
“Heaven Is Close” slows it down, slightly, and brings in a banjo and fiddle to tip the album towards country. With references to Me & Bobby McGee, the Mississippi, New Orleans and an open road it’s clear where heaven is. Even if the album contained 12 tracks of ear bleeding awfulness, the astoundingly addictive “Smoke” would more than make up for it. If this doesn’t win record of the year at next year’s ACM’s & CMA’s then there is no justice in this world, unless “Withdrawals” wins then I’ll be just as happy.
With some playful lyrics – She goes great with ice cold beer or a shot of whiskey – and backed up with a top video, although with a slightly different interpretation of Smoke, it is an ideal lead single. This song should come with a health warning, it’s that good. “Travelin’ Man” turns the pace up again with the guitars really working hard before dropping into a great chorus sharing similarities with The Crowe’s “Hard to Handle”.
“Tennessee Whiskey” shows that it’s not just Tyler Farr who can monopolise the market in heartbreak and despair. This is the stand out ballad on the album, telling a story of a couple splitting due to life on the road. It’s got soul and honesty, it make me wonder how much of this is autobiographical? Now, where’s my bottle of Jack? “Sunday Morning” has a beautiful gospel feel as you would expect with a reference to the Lord’s Day. It’s a mid-tempo ballad which breaks the album up nicely but boy does he sound like Kid Rock on this.
The title track is a short, punchy number with the standard take on what’s it like to be southern. It’s always interesting to compare songs which share the same themes such as The Cadillac Three’s “I’m Southern” or Tyler Farr’s “C.O.U.N.T.R.Y” where being southern is about the buckles, boots, the flag and those famous southern manners. I love songs like this and it’s certainly pushing its way to the top of my southern playlist. “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” is a neat spin on the usual drunken calls you make at two in morning, this time he means wants he says, it’s not the drink talking. It’s the new single off the album and while not as strong as “Smoke” is a good follow up.
According to Urban Dictionary getting “Trailer Trashed” is about being more intoxicated than the average mobile home owner. Now in the UK that would probably be the older generation, so not sure drinking your granny under the table on sherry is anything to shout about. Anyway I digress, it’s loud & brash and begs to be played when you’re driving to the beach, or spending time around a campfire. Rounding the album off is “Where I’m Going”, a pop inspired number with a steel twanging throughout. A Thousand Horses are a perfect example of modern country rock blending various influences from a multitude of genres into a very accomplished album without being derivative. I have been fortunate enough to catch them live, albeit the end of their set, and can confirm they are just as good as their recordings. I’ve got another date with them in October and you’ll read the live review here.