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Thursday July 31st 2014

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Knock Knock—Band of Horses is Here

By Sarah McCartan

First they made a mark with their premier single “The Funeral” off of their debut album back in 2006. That quickly led to a breakthrough second album “Cease to Begin” just a year later. From there the band went on to their widely acclaimed, Grammy-nominated album “Infinite Arms” in 2010.

Band of Horses grew from playing smaller shows to headlining festivals around the world seemingly overnight. And now this week they have released their fourth studio album and perhaps their most monumental work to date, “Mirage Rock,” impeccably timed with their DeLuna Fest weekend performance.

This 11-song collection released Sept. 18 via Columbia Records was produced by the legendary Glyn Johns who was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with an extensive list of celebrated acts including Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams and the Beatles.

Leading album track “Knock Knock” was released earlier this summer and carries a rock feel and upbeat vibe while other ballad-like tracks such as “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone” bring in a mountain-folk influence, packed with soothing harmonies and acoustic guitars. Ultimately, the album comes to an unexpected, heavier signoff with “Heartbreak on the 101.”

Band of Horses’ frontman and founding member, South Carolinian Ben Bridwell shares in the band’s bio his own sentiments toward the new album.

“If ‘Infinite Arms’ was our beloved pet that we possibly spoiled rotten and stuffed full of too many ‘treats,’ then ‘Mirage Rock’ would be his surprise little brother left on our doorstep. Maybe a bit rougher around the edges, but the same wily, feral bloodline.”

The IN had a quick chat with lead guitarist, Asheville, N.C.-based Tyler Ramsey, while the group was amidst their August tour to hear more about the new album, some of the acts the band has teamed up with, as well as Ramsey’s own solo artistry.

IN: What is this tour like with the release of your new album rapidly approaching?
RAMSEY: It’s super exciting to have a bunch of new songs and see the reaction of the audience before they even have a chance to hear the record.

IN: Tonight you are playing with My Morning Jacket. How is it playing with those guys?
RAMSEY: We’ve been out with them for a couple weeks. It’s been a blast. They’re just such good people. When it’s over it’s going to be really sad. We love hanging out with them.

IN: What was it like joining the band just prior to the release of “Cease to Begin?”
RAMSEY: I met the band when they were still working on that record. I was working on a solo record in the same studio. We hit it off and it wasn’t too long after that I was asked to join up and it was a really exciting time. It was right before the record came out so it was kind of whirlwind thing. I had no idea what was coming.

IN: As far as your new album “Mirage Rock” is concerned, any major influences?
RAMSEY: Glyn Johns was the major influence—having him and his input. It was more us asking ourselves how is he going to record this record and what is going to be expected of us and then going for it in a more traditional fashion. In most settings you get the chance to move things around. We went for the approach of, “We’re a band. Let’s do what we do in the room and capture the real performance of the song.”

IN: What was the level of collaboration like on this new album?
RAMSEY: Everyone in the band was doing their part to make sure we had a large selection of material to choose from.

IN: What is your favorite thing about the live show setting?
RAMSEY: The fact that we still have tons of fun even under crazy circumstances. If an amp breaks we still manage to have a good time and push through. That’s definitely my favorite part. It always keeps me on my toes. It’s great that we can look at each other and laugh about it.

IN: You guys are setting out this fall on the Railroad Revival Tour. What will that be like?
RAMSEY: I don’t know what to expect from that. I’ve been doing a little research to see what the past one was like. We actually got to play with Willie Nelson before and he is such a sweetheart. The fact that we’re playing in a few towns that probably we wouldn’t be playing in is neat because they are off of the main routing.

(The scoop on the revival: This week-long U.S. train tour is comprised of 16 vintage 1940’s railcars. Upon each train stop the acts will be setting up open-air pop-up concert venues in nearby parks, lots and fields. And guess what locals—there is even one in nearby New Orleans. Check out a listing of all of the tour stops at railroadrevival.com.)

IN: Are you still finding time to play your own solo stuff?
RAMSEY: I put out a record in late September of last year and did about a month of touring then. I am still finding time to write and work on songs. But right now our schedule is pretty busy.

IN: Is this your first time on our coast?
RAMSEY: I think it just might be. We have been looking at pictures from last year and getting really excited.

Grab a copy of the new record so you can be sure to sing along to the new tracks, or eagerly wait to be pleasantly surprised when you hear them for the first time in the chilling live setting. Either way, as someone who has witnessed Band of Horses’ live performance in a festival setting, trust me when I say this is one DeLuna act you are certainly going to want to add to your custom lineup.

BAND OF HORSES
8:15-9:15 p.m., Saturday, WindCreek Stage

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