“We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!” -- from The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
I can’t think of any better way to explain the absolute truth of the passions and vast determination that BAND OF HORSES heartily embrace. While far from old enough to be cast members in the multitude of epic rides in John Huston’s The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre (1948), John Ford’s The Searchers (1956) or the decade-plus American TV series Bonanza (1959-73), these five Carolinian’s could rightly stake their claim on future ones.
Once again taking all into their vast big sky country to be explored and savored in full, whether in their recordings or in performance, and most recently in the respective urban corrals in Osaka and Tokyo for Creativeman’s 2010 edition of SUMMER SONIC, their third expedition of Infinite Arms (2010) faithfully details the deeper brotherhood forged among them. From that first cup of coffee in early morning darkness to saddling up and riding out no matter what weather awaits, a robust full day is guaranteed alongside those you trust both infinitely and effortlessly.
With hearty amounts of coffee, drinks and smokes shared over their trails traversed, Ben Bridwell (vocals, guitar) again confidently awakens and gathers his gang of five by taking the reigns in cool confidence like John Wayne or Humphrey Bogart. With a full pot of coffee brewing and soon to be had, Ryan Monroe (keys, piano, guitar, vocals), Tyler Ramsey (guitar, vocals), Bill Reynolds (bass, vocals) and Creighton Barrett (drums) gather to plan today’s ride in following their Cease To Begin (2007) one.
Infinite Arms (2010)
And, as these five slowly come together, their slow 1-2 sway of “Factory” hints at the sun’s coming emergence while full sunlight and life arrives in the pumping pulse, swish-swash, command to saddle up and get going of “Compliments.”
Reaching a ridge with a breathtaking view, “Laredo” breaths a sight to be held on the vast beautiful expanse in front of them as they ride in a strong gallop as their collective determination strengthens. Yet, in wisely knowing the need to rest and have some chow, Ben slows down his posse in “Blue Beard.”
Saddling up once more, “On My Way Back Home” chimes in as it rumbles about as digestions progress. In no time, anticipations and reflections take over in full for these five amigos. The spinning surging late afternoon call of “Infinite Arms” makes them all ponder upon what will greet them next.
With the sun quickly fading, the steady gallop of “Dilly” captivates BOH’s race to relish the dusk horizon dead ahead, as soon it is time to settle down once again for a fortuitous feed under the skies in “Evening Kitchen” that slides effortlessly into the familiar full-bellied send off of “Older.” Yes, time to press on, so it’s back in the saddle again with the slow, yet conflicting determined ode of faith “For Annabelle.”
With town pleasures in sight, their determined “NW Apt,” relentlessly drives them to push each other in its racing, pounding sign of guaranteed good eats, good drinks and good company. After such well-deserved sustenance of various nourishments in celebration, Ben, Ryan, Tyler, Bill and Creighton embrace the self-assuring calm of “Neighbor” into the final round of drinks before bedding down after “Desperoscoe” which further reminds them to respect what’s most important - their valued relationships and experiences.
That being said, both John Ford and John Huston can continue to comfortably rest in peace in knowing that these five capture the wide, rich landscape of life - living as they did before and how all shall forever.
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Japan’s Hostess Entertainment Unlimited release includes live tasty trails of “Laredo” and “Factory.”