Influential Album: Mail the Horse on Delta Spirit

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Last year we saw Brooklyn band Mail the Horse play a set with some of our favorite bands from Atlanta and Athens at The EARL. We quickly fell for their ole fashioned country fried rock ‘n’ roll that has a touch of grunge with an ode to Gram Parsons, backed by strong harmonies to go with it. The folk rock band features a pedal steel guitarist in their set up that brings a twang that would immediately strike a chord with any fine southerner, yet the band also brings a rock ‘n’ roll intensity that a crowd full of punk rock kids would shout for. Since 2011, Mail the Horse has released 3 albums including 2015’s excellent Planet Gates, blowing away audiences around the US ever since.

We always love to talk with talented musicians we love about albums that have been very influential to them in their own musical journey. So we jumped at the chance to ask Mail the Horse: what’s an album that had a major impact on your love of music, making you want to create music? The band quickly gave a unified answer, Delta Spirit’s Ode to Sunshine. A couple of the band members were nice enough to give us quotes about Delta Spirit‘s 2007 masterpiece and why the album means so much to them:

MTH_DeltaSpirit OE 1

“I’ll always have a spot in my heart for Delta Spirit’s first record Ode to Sunshine. Probably because it takes me back to a time and place. Specifically around 2008-2009, when I first started hanging with the other guys in Mail the Horse. We would set up in the kitchen in Dover, New Hampshire and play until the neighbors called the cops. We listened to this record a lot around that time. We bonded over it. The musicianship on this record is excellent, and it helped us as we explored what kind of band we could be. Feeling each other out, our places as musicians, as people, what we wanted to do, and how we were going to do it. This record was there during a lot of those searching times.”

“The first time I saw Delta Spirit play live was when they opened for Dr. Dog in Northampton, Massachusetts in 2007. I went to see Dr. Dog. Never before had I heard of Delta Spirit. This is a classic case of the opening band showing up and playing with so much passion that you almost forget about the headliners. Probably because the opening band always has more to prove. Dr. Dog was still great, but I was reeling from Delta Spirit’s set the whole time. I went back and listened to Ode to Sunshine which had recently come out. I specifically remember the song “People Turn Around” from the Northampton show. I was pleased to hear that the album had captured the same raw emotion that was displayed live. There aren’t any love songs on that record–every song is about the struggle of finding your place in the world and dealing with the demons inside you and around you. The production is simple, the choruses are easy to sing to yet don’t feel forced. The lyrics are captivating and thought provoking yet not preachy. The instrumentation is not flawless yet it is what it needs to be.  My favorite tracks from that record are “Strange Vine,” “House Built For Two,” “Children,” and “People Turn Around.””

“This record sits in a weird and very prolific time in the mid 2000s, but it still stands out as one of the best and often gets over looked. It truly is timeless.”

“We had just started playing together at the time this album came out. It was one of the first records that wasn’t a Neil Young or Bob Dylan record that we learned multiple songs from, and then played together, just for fun. It definitely helped build a foundation that we pulled from when we started Mail the Horse.”

Check out Mail the Horse’s video for “Flowers, Keys & Gasoline” off of their latest album Planet Gates and catch them live on tour now:

Mail the Horse Tour Dates here.

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Mike Gerry

Head music fiend at OpenEars Music

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