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February 2015
The Harmaleighs
""Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush"
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College pals  Haley Grant and  Kaylee Jasperson bonded over shared musical tastes as students at Belmont University, . They were both also familiar with the hardships possessing the voices of angels; it was inevitable that a musical project would come of the union. The Harmaleighs formed in 2013, and the two proceeded to develop their sound, learning how to filter their shared experiences through an Americana sieve, until every heartbreak and setback sounded as though it occurred decades ago somewhere in the Appalachians.

 

The Harmaleigh's debut album, "Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush" will be released February 3rd. It covers the gauntlet of relationships that a young adult can encounter: partners, friends, hometowns. It also showcases the pair as the crackerjack musicians that they are. The same razor-sharp tightness that makes bluegrass so satisfying to hear is present in the entire album. Everything rings out as clear as a bell, and nothing is overdone or unnecessary. The girls have a healthy respect for the traditional, and can whip out a down-home rhythm as easily as a teenaged missive on heartbreak.  

 

Speaking of teenaged missives, a delicate balance is at work here. There are moments that the pair hit Watson Twin-levels of harmonies (like the ghostly intro of opening track "Hesitate") and there are times they turn right around with something more juvenille like "Got fired for dropping a glass of wine/ screw it I'm running out of time," in their recent single, "I Keep Ticking On." There's alot that can go wrong: their music acoustic guitar driven, with some lap steel and banjo thrown in, and they have a propensity to break into foot-stomping jags that recall the receding arena-folk wave. But it doesn’t matter. They’re so good, by grace of their conviction and clarity, that I’d probably be sucking this album down and singing along even if I were a 50-year-old truck driver.

 

That's the appeal of "Pretty Picture..." The album concentrates being young and new into something potent and delivers it with a little bit of sass; that's a combination capable of crossing quite a few boundaries. It's the emotional equivalent of four seasons of summer camp, thirty friendship bracelets, or ten viewings of "Milo and Otis." This album is bound to strike a chord within the most jaded of bastards. Keep up with The Harmaleighs at their website www.theharmaleighs.com

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Review of A Thousand Horses', "A Thousand Horses"

Review of A Thousand Horses', "A Thousand Horses"

Tyler Durden (Fight Club) once said, “You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.” A Thousand Horses seems to be cool with that. Instead of molding to the pretensions of rock, they pay homage to their predecessors in their Southern-rock infused self-titled debut EP. This, ironically, makes them pretty unique.
Frontman Michael Hobby looks the part of the “long haired hippie” he sings about in “Travelin’ Man” and personifies the rock n roll stereotypes that exist because it’s rock n roll, damn it. With a voice that sounds like a younger Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes), he has a raspy, bluesy lilt that is evident on every track.


The rest of the band consists of Bill Satcher on lead guitar, Graham DeLoach on bass, Zach Brown (no, not that one) on guitar and Shane Lenzen on drums. Their five-track EP was recorded with the help of producer Dave Cobb in Silver Lake, CA. They recorded in one room as a full band, which is perhaps why the album has the spontaneous and eager feel of a live show.


Each track seems to channel a different ghost of rock past, most notably Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin. The lyrics of many of the songs on the EP solidify their “been there, done that” attitude of touring musicians, who both mock and adore the lifestyle they’ve chosen. The music, however, is the actual proof that these guys know what they’re doing. The natural harmony of the electric guitar, bass and drums make it evident that this band has been doing more than jamming in a garage.
The stand out track is hands-down “A Thousand Horses,” which fittingly features The Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson. The band plays so seamlessly together on this track, I kept hoping for a Slash-inspired extended guitar solo. The rest of the album is exactly what a rock album should be: simple, fun and catchy enough to remember the lyrics after your seventh PBR.


There’s nothing trendy about this EP and it doesn’t take any gimmick lessons from Ke$ha (the dollar sign still perplexes me). It’s a jam-til-4-a.m.-don’t-take-your-shoes-off-at-the-door-buy-someone-a-drink-and-make-some-bad-decisions kind of album. And that is definitely rock n roll. – Krystal Wallace

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