Review: A Thousand Horses – 'Southernality'

Gregg Allman is quoted as saying that Southern Rock “was a redundant term, like ‘Rock Rock‘..” Given the fact that The Allman Brothers Band are often referred to as the forefathers of ‘Southern Rock’ then his opinion is quite interesting. A subgenre of Rock music, Southern Rock blends rock ‘n’ roll, country and blues with the focus very much on sizzling electric guitar and impassioned tales of real people dealing with real life. Personally, I’ve been a fan ever since watching Lynyrd Skynyrd totally destroy a BBC studio way back in the day on The Old Grey Whistle Test, so any new band that appears on the scene will certainly grab my attention, and it’s fair to say that A Thousand Horses have certainly done that with ‘Southernality’.

A Thousand Horses are very much breaking out in their native America, both the mainstream music press and the country music press have pegged them as a band to watch, with USA Today, in particular, championing them. They have been nominated for music video awards, as well as bagging support slots on some major tours. With America on board, it’s now time to branch out across the Atlantic to these shores.

The album kicks off with ‘First Time’, a song with real swagger that echoes classic Black Crowes from ‘The Southern Harmony…’ era. Vocalist Michael Hobby has a rasping vocal style on this, similar to Josh Todd of Buckcherry. Listeners with a keen ear might also hear some nods to The Rolling Stones, especially when the soulful vocals come in from the three female backing vocalists (live, the band members swell to nine strong!). ‘Heaven Is Close’ is perfect for American Radio. It crosses over so many genres with its story of packing up and hitting the open road, name dropping New Orleans and the Mississippi along the way. Next track ‘Smoke’ is massive, no other way round it. It starts off really gently, with some country guitar twang in the background. It then builds mid song to a soaring chorus, before leaving everyone lying in a heap on the floor. It’s both genuine and heartfelt.

‘Travelling Man’ sees the electric guitars plugged back in and turned up, with some blistering solos from guitarists Bill Satcher and Zach Brown, whilst ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ is another cracking break-up song that American bands do so well, without resorting to Ed Sheeran/Sam Smith style maudlin. ‘Sunday Morning’ is perhaps the strongest track on an album full of gems. Again, the influences of both The Black Crowes and The Stones can be heard, but A Thousand Horses have taken these influences and mixed them together with their own style and grooves, to cook up one hell of a sound. Again,the vocals from the backing singers play a major part in the song’s success, lifting it above any other similar bands.

Title track ‘Southernality’ is catchy as hell, and a perfect all year round drinking song, similar in ethos to The Cadillac Three and Florida Georgia Line. This must go down a storm in the amphitheatres during the summer (remember summer?… nope). ‘This Ain’t No Drunk Dial’ is another monster radio hit, and looks like it has become a fan favourite.

With both The Cadillac Three and Blackberry Smoke going down a storm at this years Download Festival, as well as packing them in whenever they play these shores, it seems that this subgenre has hit home with a UK audience, and A Thousand Horses have enough ammo to continue the trend. ‘Landslide’ and, in particular, ‘Trailer Trashed’, have the necessary chops to get the heads bobbing and the arms raised. Indeed, Planet Rock have picked up on ‘Trailer Trashed’ and the song is enjoying decent airplay thanks to it’s simple, catchy chorus and sweet riffing. With a mixture of guitar driven Rock, and softer, gentler moments, ‘Southernality’ is a highly recommended album that should find a place in many collections in good old Blighty. This review was brought to you without the usage of the word ‘hell yeah’, which was an achievement, trust me.

‘Southernality’ is released November 6th and for more info head over to


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