A Thousand Horses Talk New Album 'Southernality'
It was a day out of Joe Nichols' songbook, meaning it was "Sunny and 75″-- perfect weather for a chat outside. Guitarist Zach Brown (no relation any members of the Zac Brown Band) was quick to say it was his favorite interview setting yet.
After the quartet finished their lunch at Bryant Park Grill, we found a spot far enough from the distraction of a pounding jackhammer on the south side of the park. It just so happened that we stumbled upon five green lawn chairs already set up in a circle for the interview.
With a backdrop of skyscrapers and people eating lunch on the great lawn in front of us, they settled into their chairs and shared their back story as a band, the impact Southern rock has had on them, and the songs that fill their debut album Southernality, which hits today (June 9). They even taught me a few 'Southernisms' along the way. (Let's just say that if anyone ever says they'd "like to skin your hide," you'll want to get out of there pronto.)
A Thousand Horses are no strangers to the Nashville music scene, as they've been living in Music City for a decade now. But their roots go further back. Singer Michael Hobby and guitarist Bill Satcher first met and became fast friends in middle school in South Carolina. Satcher's cousin, bassist Graham Deloach, would visit during the summers and jam with the guys. After they moved to Nashville, guitarist Zach Brown met the trio in 2010, and they locked in their Southern-influenced rock/country sound.
"We were just waiting to get the last horse in," Deloach jokes. "We were looking for that fourth horseman. The four horsemen of the apocalypse."
Brown chimes in: "I was out there just grazing on my own for a while," to which all four guys laugh heartily.
Southernality combines each member's influences, which range from country to classic rock and Southern rock, something they all say they grew up listening to. There's a number of tracks about drinking: cold-beer songs, shot-of-whiskey songs and their next single, "(This Ain't No) Drunk Dial."
"Do we have a Pina Colada song?" Brown asks with a smile. Deloach says they'll work on one for the next record, after which Hobby suggests, "We gotta get down to the islands and get some inspiration."
So is there a drink that describes their debut album?
"It's a boilermaker," Deloach says matter-of-factly. And it makes perfect sense. Why not have a beer and a shot of whiskey while listening to Southernality?
While A Thousand Horses have been playing many of the songs off their debut album for the past five years, it is their debut single "Smoke" that put the band on the map. The single recently went to No. 1 on country radio, and they note it was the last song they wrote for the album. The idea started with the title, and the guys said the comparison of smoking to love in a woman is what they played off of. Hobby finished it the day before the band hit the studio to record their album with producer Dave Cobb.
"It was very fresh," Deloach says of the recording of "Smoke" the very first day in the studio. "We went in and kicked it off with that song."
As sure as they were that the song had to make the cut on the record, they didn't think it would be the first single. While they knew it was a special song for them, and even after hitting No. 1, they said they still want people to listen to the entire album Southernality as a complete body of work.
"What I love about the album is that each song has its own moment," Satcher explains with a slight Southern drawl. "Yet I feel like we have been able to draw a straight line out of it. Southernality. There's something about our Southern personality [that] came out in every single song naturally. There's breakup songs, makeup songs, ballads, party songs, feel-good songs and rockers. It has a lot of great movement to it." Read more here.
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