Horses can kick acoustically

By Karsten Burgstahler

Band of Horses stomped its musical hooves Tuesday with the release of their new album “Acoustic at the Ryman.”

Since their formation in 2006, the band has released four albums; their 2010 release, “Infinite Arms,” was nominated for a Best Alternative Album Grammy.

“Ryman” is a greatest hits album and features acoustic versions of many of their popular songs. The album opens with “Marry Song,” leading with vocal harmonies overlaying the steady strum and pluck of the lead and rhythm guitars. There is an accent of significant resonance among the tenor voice of lead singer Ben Bridwell.


Next up is “Slow Cruel Hands of Time.” The softly soothing melody flows in a rather haunting rhythm; this arrangement of strings is at once as beautifully enchanting as it is cleverly bewildering. The song is simplistic enough to propel itself along in an easy and acoustic current without a swelling of difficulty.

The momentum eases in “Detlef Schrempf.” The cadence in the slowly measured tempo works well toward a slight hinted falsetto within the easy flow of the established vocal composition. The refrain becomes equally compelling, cyclical in the resounding lyric and voice. The song spurs emotive surges that billow away as quickly as they rise.

Reaching “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone,” there is an uplifting shift in the album’s resonance. It rides certainly in a tone much lighter, less dramatic, though equally expressive and honest. Taken from their 2007 album “Cease to Begin,” the fifth song “No One’s Gonna Love You” is undoubtedly the most memorable track as it has seen extensive use in both television and film. The track features a recurrent and catchy chorus in which the vocal register quickly waxes and wanes, cycling.

The pace slows again in “Factory,” where it meshes between vocal harmonies that rise and sustain. The melody gently sways like a warming breeze long into a luminescent evening.

The following songs are “Older,” “Wicked Girl” and the popular piece “The Funeral” and the album completes itself with “Neighbor.” Each song presents a melodic rhythm and spirited composition, stirring and coursing in the same vein as the earlier tracks.


The compilation  builds as it sharply resonates with poignant lyrical content, which at different times could be memorably serene or slightly haunting. The two forms entrancingly collide in the final two pieces, ending the album in a true coup de grace.

Band of Horses will tour acoustically through the year, with a show in Chicago on Wednesday. Their album is available through Amazon, Spotify or on iTunes. more information may be found at

Jake Saunders can be reached at [email protected], on Twitter @saundersfj or by phone at 536-3311 ext. 254.