- LISTEN -
- A STORY -
Pleasure Horse is a sunset over the wide, rolling plains. Warm tones pull you into the present moment – the enchanting hour between day and night. The wind itself sings with a twang that would make Townes Van Zandt proud. Take a seat around the campfire as countryside and story-time unite around a shared flame and an acoustic guitar. Save a spot for Gram Parsons.
Pleasure Horse is Tim Evenson, Ben Mahowald, Sarah Darnall, Jared Isabella and Celeste Heule. Tim is head honcho on lead vocals and guitar, with support from Ben on vocals and lead guitar. Sarah gets hearts racin’ and feet tappin’ with her bass guitarin’. Steady drumming from Jared pushes the show forward while Celeste ties everything together on the keys. This rowdy outfit released the “Lost on the Mountain” EP early in 2017, adding to their “Pleasure Horse” album from 2015 and “No One in Mind” EP from 2012.
Pleasure Horse is that old pair of boots. The ones Woody gave you, with popped seams and cracked leather that speak of gravel roads and open prairie. If you listen close, they tell tales of lost love and hard labor. And they’ll take you everywhere – through country foothills and over rock n’ roll peaks – as the perfect reminder that this land is yours and mine.
Yes, friends, Pleasure Horse is a trusty steed, indeed.
- 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.
- SHOWS -
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