Yesterday (Tuesday, February 11), Band Of Horses released a new, stripped-down record, Acoustic at the Ryman, and embarked on a nationwide tour. Recorded over two nights in April 2013 at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium, the album is an expansion of the band's Record Store Day Black Friday 7-inch release.
The acoustic tour rolls through San Francisco on Valentine's Day, offering what is sure to be a heart-warming experience for couples and singles alike. With the Palace of Fine Arts as its venue, romanticism of various varieties will surely abound.
Today's celebrated rock and roll seems to lie on two extremes -- one housing theatrical, lush, ultra-produced, often electronic mega-music; the other offering stripped to the bone, loud and proud, PBR-drenched garage rock. Somewhere in the middle lies Band Of Horses, playing what I like to call "normal" rock.
Acoustic at the Ryman highlights this normalcy. A lyrical portion of "Marry Song," the record's opening track, asks:
How is your sister?
What of your brother?
Extend hellos to
Your father and mother.
The new album's stripped down arrangements place a more refined focus on the band's lyrics and harmonies, revealing the songs as intimate conversations shared among inseparable friends. The extremely realistic Mytek Digital recording technology utilized in the album’s production intensifies this intimacy. The end result is a record that comes across more like a high-fidelity home movie of a family reunion than a typical live album.
This is a special release that will almost certainly be propped up by special performances on its supporting tour. If the Bay Area Valentine's Day show comes anywhere close to what was offered up to the bear-hugging fans of Nashville last year, then we are certainly in for a treat. Expectations are high -- if one is to judge by the price of tickets selling on secondary markets.
Band Of Horses performs on Friday, February 14 at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. The show is sold out; however, tickets are still available via StubHub. For more information visit palaceoffinearts.org.