This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post here.
If you’re a fan of American roots music – Mandolin Orange or Elephant Revival, for example – you must give a listen to the newest album by Dead Horses, a Milwaukee-based folk trio with a unique sound and even more insightful lyrics.
“Sometimes I wish I was a leaf, sometimes I wish I was a tall, tall tree…sometimes I wish I could be anything I’m not,” goes the lyrics in “Golden Sky,” the first track on
“Cartoon Moon,” set for release on Sept. 30, which features producer Ken Coomer (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo) with Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers) on banjo.
Despite the melancholy echoes of the first few lines, the song is actually very hopeful. As the songwriter and lead singer Sarah Vos says, “People should listen to the new album because it’s honest.”
It’s also beautifully varied, ranging from the second cut, “Red Pony,” to “Ain’t Got Time,” which has a bluesy, New Orleans vibe. Fans of AOR will appreciate this album.
“I’ve been drinking from a dirty well …” serves as a double-entendre, a cynical statement about our current society, according to Vos. “The inspiration behind ‘Ain’t Got Time’ is it’s kind of a social plea. Drinking from a dirty well, it’s about water. It’s metaphorical. It could be perceived as broad or specific. But water is an issue.”
Like her favorite author John Steinbeck, Vos mirrors his writing as a simplistic take on the broader issues facing society today.
Vos’ voice, paired with the bluegrass stylings of Peter Raboin’s mandolin and guitar and Daniel Wolff’s double bass, are chasing the dream together. “I love getting to do it with a group of people I like and working on a team,” Vos says. “I have been playing music with Dan on the bass for over six years and Pete joined us about 3 and ½ years ago. We found each other pretty damned organically.”
Vos adds, “It’s more of a challenge to grab people’s attention (today). We decided let’s play music we believed in and try to connect with people and do that fearlessly. It’s hard to pitch your art because it is what it is.”
All I know is that I can’t stop listening to this album. But don’t take my word for it. Take a listen for yourself.