2015 was a breakout year for Big Machine’s A Thousand Horses. Their debut single, “Smoke,” climbed all the way to the top of the Billboard charts, and their first album, Southernality, hit No. 3 on the Country Album charts. Now, it’s two years later, and they are hoping for a similar result with their follow-up project Bridges. The lead single, “Preachin’ To The Choir,” is climbing the singles chart, and lead singer Michael Hobby tells CMChat that it feels good that the fans are responding so well this early in the game.
“We’re so pumped. It’s been a while since we’ve had new music out so we are so excited for everyone to hear the new songs and to get it out there. It’s been doing well on the radio, and it’s been fun to play it live and see the audience light up when we do it.”
One track from Bridges that will no doubt be a fan favorite is “Burn Like Willie,” which the band’s Graham DeLoach says,
“We wrote that one with our buddy Corey Crowder. We started with that drum loop. Corey found this 70s drum beat thing, and we talked about writing a song around the beat. Bill started playing that guitar riff over the beat, and it developed from there. We started throwing in all of the Willie Nelson references; everybody loves Willie Nelson.”
The new set is a compilation of new studio sides – with several tracks that the band recorded live during an overseas stop in 2016.
“We recorded those live songs in London last winter when we were over there touring…We got the opportunity to go into Metropolis studios over there and record directly to vinyl – which was different. We had about thirty fans come in, and it was a lot of fun.”
The band’s Bill Satcher added that it was a great feeling to be able to show fans different sides of their work.
“It was awesome. It was an unforgettable experience. – all acoustic and in one take. It was cool because we got to re-imagine some of the songs on Southernality, and play them a little bit differently.”
Also in the set is a performance of “Smoke” that the band recorded live from Printers’ Alley. Hobby said that at first, Bridges was going to be just a standard EP, but since they had the other sides, why not release them?
“That was a performance that we did last year, and wanted to put it on there as a bonus. We had these six studio songs, and wanting to get stuff out. The Metropolis stuff just worked out. We were just going to put that out overseas on vinyl only. But, we got a lot of interest in the States from people who wanted to hear it, and when it came time to put out the new songs, we decided to put the live tracks out as well – which gives fans a chance to hear a totally different side of us. It shows all sides of our band, which a lot of artists don’t get to show.”
The band will be on the road throughout the rest of 2017 taking the new music to the fans. Sometimes, there is just a little bit of confusion with another band out there – as A Thousand Horses includes guitarist Zach Brown. Occasionally, there are perks of having a similar name to Zac Brown, leader of the Zac Brown Band.
“We were in Vegas, and I gave my ID to the lady, and she said ‘Wait just a minute, I’ll be right back, sir. She comes back and says ‘Mr. Brown, we’re going to upgrade you to the king suite, and you don’t have to come in the front door. You can come in the back door next time. here’s my card.’ I just said ‘Ok…and didn’t say anything else”