- LISTEN -
- A STORY -
Pleasure Horse began in 2012 with the duo of songwriter Tim Evenson and guitarist Ben Mahowald. Thereafter, the band worked to craft a uniquely Minnesotan brand of country music. Implementing the emotive clarity of Townes Van Zandt and a Parsons-esque passion for traditional music, Pleasure Horse self-released several collections of cosmic cowboy classics over the following years.
Dave Hoenack of Hymie’s Vintage Records writes, “Pleasure Horse offers just a little of just about everything you’ve ever loved about country music: beer-soaked heartbreak and twang, a little Tex-Mex and a little rock and roll.”
The release of Pleasure Horse’s New Lonely is the realization of their full musical potential. Featuring a collection of guest performers, the added instrumentation is a rich and eclectic accent to the group’s already solid foundation. With recording support from Neil Weir of Blue Bell Knoll and Scott Nieman at dubNemo Productions, the sonic quality of New Lonely is ready for the airwaves.
The inspiration for the song writing originally came from a desire to emulate the Outlaw Country songwriters of the ’70s like Jerry Jeff Walker, Willie and Townes. It accomplishes that and more. A nod from any one of those songwriters would lighten the hearts of the group and those who listen. The songs come to life when each member stamps their own unique musical background on it. Most of which and oddly enough hails from the plains of South Dakota.
- A REVIEW -
There are more than a couple bands in the Twin Cities who claim Gram Parson’s “cosmic American music” as inspiration, but few if any appropriate the very best of its stylistic medley as well as Pleasure Horse, whose self-titled debut has been much anticipated around your friendly neighborhood record shop. The band slowly evolved over its several years, staying focused on multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist Tim Evenson, who we first met as a member of the Flying Dorito Brothers. They were a Parsons cover band with a short-lived run much loved by many, and Evenson’s take on “One Hundred Years from Now” stuck to our ribs.
With lead guitarist Ben Mahowald, he’s kept the band going and growing. Pleasure Horse offers just a little of just about everything you’ve ever loved about country music over ten tracks: beer-soaked heartbreak and twang, and a little Tex-Mex and a little rock and roll. There’s a fuzz guitar on “Reasons” which recalls Grady Martin’s solo on a 1961 Marty Robbins single, and an organ on “News Radio” which sounds like it was borrowed from the first Lambchop album. Either song is an excellent example of the band’s innovative arrangements, which are so consistently inventive its impossible to pick a favorite moment on this album.
The album’s production doesn’t do its ambitions justice, as is evident from the rollicking opener “Company Spade,” which we really want to burst out of our speakers with the energy we know is in there, and sometimes the drums get lost. The band balances its rhythm section against pedal steel, brass, organ and fiddle, but feels boxed in and restrained. The songs are just so damn good it doesn’t matter. Some are solidly pastoral and narrative, like “Gracie” and “Oahe,” and others just fantastically catchy. Pleasure Horse hits that sweet spot on every song on this album.
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