Band of Horses is an American rock band formed in 2004 in Seattle by Ben Bridwell. The band has released five studio albums, the most successful of which is 2010's Grammy-nominated Infinite Arms. The band's lineup, which included Mat Brooke for the debut album, has undergone several changes; although the current lineup of Bridwell, Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey, Bill Reynolds, and Creighton Barrett, has been together for several years. Band of Horses' fifth studio album, Why Are You OK, was released in June 2016.
Formation and Everything All the Time (2004–2006)
Ben Bridwell (vocals, guitar) formed Band of Horses, who were originally briefly known as Horses, in 2004 after the break-up of his previous band, Carissa's Wierd, along with bassist Chris Early and drummer Tim Meinig. They were soon joined by former Carissa's Wierd bandleader Mat Brooke (guitar, vocals). The band initially received attention from Sub Pop after opening for Iron & Wine during Seattle area shows. In 2005, the band released the Tour EP, which was sold at shows and on Sub Pop's website.
Their first full-length album, Everything All the Time, was recorded in 2005 with producer Phil Ek and released by Sub Pop on March 21, 2006. It features the band's original four-piece lineup, although both Tim Meinig and Sera Cahoone receive drumming credits. The album included new versions of five of the six songs from the Tour EP along with five brand new songs. It was a minor hit in Scandinavia, entering the lower reaches of the Sweden and Norway album charts. Ben Bridwell explained the sound of the album, "I thought before recording that I really wanted an ELO-sounding record, with strings and keyboards and synths, but then, as we got closer to it, we wanted to take a more raw approach."
Bridwell found that there was a personality clash between himself and Meinig and Early and the two left soon after the recording of the album. Ben explained his side of the story, "All of a sudden I was...with two guys I didn't really even know...they were nice guys, there just wasn't a personality match." For the subsequent tour, Joe Arnone (guitar and keyboards), Rob Hampton (bass and guitar) and Creighton Barrett (drums) were brought in to play with Bridwell and Brooke.
Everything All the Time's first single was "The Funeral", which has been used in numerous television series, films, video games, and advertisements. On July 13, 2006, the band performed the song on the Late Show with David Letterman without Brooke, who had left the band. He subsequently formed Grand Archives, who have since signed to Sub Pop and released two albums. Brooke explained how he joined Band of Horses, "So they ended up getting a show opening up for Iron and Wine in Seattle and Ben asked if I would just come up and do a couple songs, just 'cause we're friends. So...I did that. It was fun and then a couple of Iron and Wine tours came up...and then next thing I knew, we were in the studio making a record for Sub Pop." On why he left, he said, "I'd never really given the commitment to be a formal member. It was just a spur of the moment...and Everything All the Time took off really fast...I still didn't feel quite committed. It was still 100 percent Ben's project and I kinda wanted to see what else I could do."
Cease to Begin (2007–2009)
Before recording their second album, Bridwell decided to relocate the band from Seattle to his native South Carolina. He said, "We were touring so much that nowhere was really home, so I figured...if I'm gonna come home after these long stretches of traveling, it would nice to be around my family."
Band of Horses toured Europe and North America in 2007, prior to the release of their second album. Joe Arnone was no longer part of the band, which now toured as a six-piece band following the addition of Matt Gentling (Archers of Loaf - bass), Robin Peringer (Modest Mouse, Carissa's Wierd - guitar) and Ryan Monroe (keyboards) to the line up. The album, Cease to Begin, was recorded in North Carolina and produced by Phil Ek. It was released by Sub Pop Records on October 9, 2007. The album features the core trio of Ben Bridwell, Creighton Barrett and Rob Hampton, with keyboards played by Ryan Monroe. Cease to Begin gave Band of Horses their first hit in the U.S. by reaching number 35 on the Billboard 200 and was also a hit in Norway, Denmark, France and Sweden. It was voted ninth best album of 2007 by Paste magazine and 47th best by Rolling Stone. The single "No One's Gonna Love You" gave Band of Horses their first European hit single, reaching number 22 in Denmark.
Following the release of Cease to Begin, Monroe became a permanent member of the band, along with new recruits Tyler Ramsey (guitar and vocals) and Bill Reynolds (bass). This once again made Band of Horses a six-piece band. In addition to his role in the band, Ramsey often performs solo as the opening act before the band play live.
In 2008, Band of Horses played at the Glastonbury Festival, T in the Park, the Bridge School Benefit concert, and the Roskilde Festival.
Infinite Arms (2010–2011)
In May 2009, producer Phil Ek stated that he was recording the third Band of Horses album in North Carolina. Ben Bridwell mentioned that the new album was titled Night Rainbows several times while introducing new songs during the band's summer 2009 tour, but in a March 2, 2010 interview, the band revealed that the album was to be called Infinite Arms. Prior to the recording of the album, Rob Hampton left the band. He was later replaced by Swedish guitarist Ludwig Böss, although Böss does not appear on the album and on March 19, 2010 it was revealed that he too had left. The album was recorded by the current five-piece lineup of Bridwell, Ramsey, Reynolds, Barrett, and Monroe.
Infinite Arms was released worldwide between May 14 and 19, 2010 on the Columbia, Brown, and Fat Possum labels. Aside from the North Carolina sessions at Echo Mountain Studios, parts of the album were recorded in Los Angeles at Perfect Sound Studios. The album was self-produced by the band, with additional production from Phil Ek. On April 14, the band performed a full set for the WDR TV show "Rockpalast". On April 20, the band appeared on the BBC television series Later... with Jools Holland, promoting Infinite Arms by playing new songs "Compliments," "Factory", and "NW Apt". Following this appearance, the band's two earlier albums entered the UK Albums Chart for the first time. Infinite Arms entered the UK chart at number 21, giving Band of Horses their first top 100 UK chart hit and debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200, far exceeding the performance of Cease to Begin. An outtake from the album, "Life on Earth" has been used on the soundtrack of the Twilight Saga film Eclipse, which was released on June 7, 2010.
Band of Horses toured Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan in 2010. They opened for Pearl Jam on their tour of the Midwest and East Coast and for Snow Patrol at their concerts in Bangor and Glasgow in June. They played the SXSW, Sasquatch, Splendour in the Grass, Summer Sonic, Pukkelpop, Highfields, Malmo, Rock en Seine, Reading, Leeds, ACL and Farm Aid festivals in 2010.
On October 7, 2010 Band of Horses released a cover of Cee Lo Green's "Georgia" via their official website. Ben Bridwell explained, "This began as a very random idea I had on my dad's patio after we watched our beloved Georgia Bulldogs football team get robbed of a win at the hands of the referees and LSU last year. I knew I wanted to pay homage to my favorite team in song but didn't have any idea how to begin. Once I heard Cee Lo's 'Georgia' I was immediately smitten and figured that's as good as any tribute to any state I've ever heard. It wasn't until I heard his cover of our song though that it occurred to me: Duh, we should return the favor. Incorporating the Redcoat marching band was just the icing on the cake! This song is so nostalgic to me as my parents grew up in Atlanta and have so many family members in the great state of Georgia. It's always been a second home of sorts. We've played some great shows there as well, including our run of annual New Year's Eve shows in Atlanta from 2007-2009." The cover version Ben referred to is Cee Lo's version of "No One's Gonna Love You". The two tracks were released together as a 7-inch vinyl split single.
Band of Horses released a video for their song "Dilly" on November 16, 2010. Previous videos for songs from Infinite Arms had been collections of still photographs by the band's longtime collaborator Christoper Wilson, merged to make movies. "Dilly" was shot in the Mojave Desert by director Phil Andelman and was exclusively premiered on the movie website IMDb. The video features the exploits of a trouble-making motorcycle gang, and includes surreal sequences of the gang dancing in formation, as well as them killing people by shooting them with nothing more than a pointed finger. The collaboration with IMDb represents the first occasion that the website has premiered a music video. "Dilly" was released as a single on February 14, 2011 and includes the band's cover version of Cee-Lo Green's "Georgia". The single was a minor hit on the Belgian (Flanders) singles chart.
Infinite Arms was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Alternative Album category and featured in several end of year "Best Albums of 2010" lists, including Q Magazine (#21), NPR Listeners (#15), Filter Magazine (#10) and Paste Magazine (#14). The song "Laredo" was placed at number 28 in Rolling Stone Magazine's top 50 songs of 2010.
In 2011, Band of Horses returned to Europe for a tour in January and February, which included a show with Foo Fighters at Wembley Arena on February 25. They undertook a brief US tour in early April before returning to Europe for several festivals in June. The band were scheduled to support Kings Of Leon on their US tour from July to September 2011 and their eight Australian concerts in November 2011, but Kings of Leon cancelled their US tour after just 3 shows. In 2012 the band toured for the first time in South America.
Mirage Rock (2012–2013)
In April 2012, Ben Bridwell revealed that Band Of Horses' fourth studio album was scheduled for release in late 2012 and would be produced by Glyn Johns. In June the band shared a video preview, via Facebook and YouTube, of a new song, "Dumpster World," and announced a September release for the album. On July 10 the album's title was confirmed as Mirage Rock and the track listing and artwork were revealed. A debut single from the fourth album, "Knock Knock", was released on July 9, 2012 and the album was released on September 18. "Knock Knock" and the subsequent single from Mirage Rock, "Slow Cruel Hands of Time", were both minor hits in Belgium. Ben Bridwell explained the recording process of Mirage Rock, "Everything was different. We've played live to tape on albums before but not to the degree of it being so dire that every member had to really hone their part for the sake of the take."
In late August 2012, a music video for "Knock Knock" was released on the internet. Directed by Jared Eberhardt, the video simulates old fashioned nature documentaries and features members of the band being captured, like animals, to be studied. Bridwell revealed that the footage was taken in the Salt Lake City area, "It seems fitting that we'd finally get to shoot a video around Salt Lake City, as we've got a song that pays tribute to the area called 'The Great Salt Lake' from our first album. Better late than never."
Acoustic at the Ryman (2014)
On February 24, 2014, Band of Horses released a ten track live album, Acoustic at the Ryman, featuring stripped down versions of some of their best known songs. The album was recorded over two nights in April 2013 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The band played a 13-date run of acoustic performances across the U.S., which commenced on 11 February at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and concluded on 5 March at The Ryman itself.
Sing into My Mouth and Why Are You OK (2015–present)
On July 17, 2015, Ben Bridwell and Sam Beam of Iron and Wine released a covers album titled Sing into My Mouth. The fifth studio album is titled Why Are You OK and was released on June 10, 2016 through Rick Rubin's American Recordings and Interscope Records.
Ben Bridwell - vocals, guitar, pedal steel, keyboards (2004-present)
Creighton Barrett - drums (2006-present)
Ryan Monroe - keyboards (2007-present)
Tyler Ramsey - guitar, vocals (2007-present)
Bill Reynolds - bass (2007-present)
Chris Early - bass guitar (2004-2005)
Tim Meinig - drums (2004-2005)
Sera Cahoone - drums (2005)
Mat Brooke - guitar, vocals (2004-2006)
JOe Arnone - guitar, keyboards (2006-2007)
Rob Hampton - bass (2006-2007), guitar (2007-2009)
Matt Gentling - bass (2007)
Robin Peringer - guitar (2007)
Ludwig Böss - guitar (2009-2010)
Blake Mills - guitar (???)