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Album Spotlight: A Thousand Horses, ‘Southernality’

Republic Nashville

A Thousand HorsesSouthernaity comes as advertised. It’s a hairy, rock-driven, country-blues project that will recall bands like the Black Crowes.

The group embrace their similarities to the “Hard to Handle” rockers quickly, with “First Time” exploding from the speakers to open Southernality. Long guitar chords leave little space, and when there is some room to breathe, a chorus of female backing singers fill it. It’s a throwback sound they replicate easily (complete with sensual, but not sexual hip-sways) on stage.

There’s three sexy ladies on stage with A Thousand Horses at all times when they play live, but it’s hard to tell if it’s the same trio here. Many of the remaining 12 songs begin down new roads only to turn back into the familiar, go-for-broke soulful sound that stamped a generation of rock ‘n’ roll. “Sunday Morning” is a well-written love song that quickly finds that place. So does “Tennessee Whiskey.”

"Tennessee whiskey / Tell me did you miss me / She broke my heart when she left me / Now I need you to protect me,” singer Michael Hobby cries out during the chorus of one of Southernality‘s standout tracks."

The ballads come thick while the gritty blues-rockers come dirty. There’s more guitar than one expects from a country album. “Travelin’ Man” and “Trailer Trashed” are two that burn. “I got a tall can, beer in my hand / Big middle finger to the man,” Hobby sings to begin the latter.

The acoustic ballads recall groups like Mr. Big. There isn’t much in country currently comparable to what A Thousand Horses are doing. Perhaps the closest is the Cadillac Three, but those comparisons may simply be hair based.

Key Tracks: “Heaven Is Close,” “Smoke,” “Tennessee Whiskey”

Black Crowed: A Thousand Horses singer Michael Hobby is kin to the Crowes’ Robinson brothers. Rich helped write the song “Sunday Morning.”

Did You Know?: The band calls “Sunday Morning” their favorite track on the album, but “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial” will be the second single.

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