Dead Horses: At fifteen, Dead Horses frontwoman Sarah Vos’ world turned upside down. Raised in a strict, fundamentalist home, Vos lost everything when she and her family were expelled from the rural Wisconsin church where her father had long served as pastor. What happened next is the story of Dead Horses’ stunning new album, ‘My Mother the Moon,” a record full of trauma and triumph, despair and hope, pain and resilience.
Blending elements of traditional roots with contemporary indie folk, the album is both familiar and unexpected, unflinchingly honest in its portrayal of modern American life, yet optimistic in its unshakable faith in brighter days to come. Earthy and organic, Vos’ songs often reveal themselves to be exercises in empathy and outreach; she writes not only to find meaning in the struggles she’s endured, but also to embrace kindred souls on their own personal journeys of self-discovery. As much as the album is a reckoning with the past and everything she witnessed growing up (mental illness, poverty, addiction, and violence), it’s also an effort to shape the future, to build a community based around art and love and beauty and acceptance, a community to replace the one she was so brusquely robbed of as a child.
‘My Mother the Moon’ is Dead Horses’ third album, and it follows hot on the heels of their acclaimed 2016 release, ‘Cartoon Moon,’ which Wisconsin Public Radio called “equally beautiful and effortless.” That record prompted the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to declare Dead Horses a Band To Watch and earned them honors for "Best Album," "Best Americana/Bluegrass Artist," and "Best Female Vocalist" at the 2017 WAMI Awards. American Songwriter called Vos “a compelling vocalist…who carries every tune with her husky, deeply emotional tone that feels lived in and real,” while No Depression hailed her songwriting as “beautiful and fresh.” With a fleshed out touring lineup, the group logged countless miles, sharing bills along the way with Trampled by Turtles, Mandolin Orange, and Elephant Revival in addition to making festival appearances from Bristol Rhythm and Roots to WinterWonderGrass.
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Front Country: An acoustic band born in the land of tech innovation, Front Country was
unlikely to be accepted as an authentic American roots band out of the
gate. Cutting their teeth in progressive bluegrass jams in San Francisco’s
Mission District and rehearsing across the bay in Oakland, *they fashioned
their own take on roots music and Indie Folk, with the tools they had on
hand. A mandolinist with a degree in composition and classical guitar.
A guitarist trained in rock and world music. A bassist equally versed
in jazz and newgrass. A *violinist* with technique that could seamlessly
hop between honky tonk and electropop. And a female lead singer with grit
and soul that was also a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. In a
wood-paneled country dive bar in the shadow of the San Francisco skyline,
Front Country forged a sound hell bent on merging the musical past with the
future. The result lies somewhere between Indie Folk and Americana, in a
nether-region they've come to embrace as their own.
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