Band of Horses, originally known briefly as Horses, is an American rock band formed in 2004 in Seattle by Ben Bridwell. The band has released four 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 members, Bridwell, Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey, Bill Reynolds, and Creighton Barrett, have all been with the band for several years. Band of Horses’ fourth studio album, ‘Mirage Rock’, was released in September 2012.
Ben Bridwell (vocals, guitar) formed Band of 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 Ekand released by Sub Pop in 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.
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. 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’ 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. Before recording their second album, Bridwell decided to relocate the band from Seattle to his native South Carolina.
Band of Horses toured Europe and North America in 2007, prior to the release of their second album. The album, ‘Cease to Begin’, was recorded in North Carolina and produced by Phil Ek. 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.
In May 2009, producer Phil Ek stated that he was recording the third Band of Horses album in North Carolina. 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 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 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. 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”.
‘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. In 2012 the band toured for the first time in South America.
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 tracklisting and artwork were revealed.
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 US, which commenced on 11 February at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and concluded on 5 March at The Ryman itself.
Everything All the Time (2006)
Cease to Begin (2007)
Infinite Arms (2010)
Mirage Rock (2012)