Band Of Horses - Acoustic At The Ryman

Stripped-down greatest hits from alt.country stalwarts

  With four critically lauded LPs behind them, Seattle’s Band Of Horses has punctuated its current between-albums break with this new acoustic collection. Recorded over two nights at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium in April 2013, the collection plays heavily on the band’s folk and country roots, eschewing the heavier stylings of 2012’s Mirage Rock.

Despite being a live record, this is a hugely polished proposition. The beguiling piano-led Detlef Schrempf is a perfect showcase for mainman Ben Bridwell’s soaring vocals: It’s something of a marvel that, with songs like this, Band Of Horses aren’t more of a major commercial proposition.

Thankfully, their status as well-loved Americana scene stalwarts means there’s a gorgeous intimacy to this batch of songs. Everything’s Gonna Be Undone sounds stunning, a harmony-laden opus with lushly arranged guitars. Hit single No One’s Gonna Love You, from 2007’s Cease To Begin, is ideal for this kind of pared-down set, leaving nowhere for the neatly picked chords and sparsely beautiful lyrics to hide. Acoustic At The Ryman is an unplugged album done right. A live record that’s not just for hardcore fans, it’s a must for all lovers of alt.country.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Brown | BRWN 004 (CD / LP)

Reviewed by Joe Minihane
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