On their forthcoming full-length release, Cartoon Moon, the Milwaukee-based trio Dead Horses offer listeners their fresh, insightful take on folk music along with lyrical parallels to American writers like Whitman and Steinbeck. Out September 30, 2016, this, their third collection of songs, features ruminations on loneliness, existence, love, and meaning.
Produced by Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco), Cartoon Moon sounds comfortable yet remains modern. Vocalist and songwriter Sarah Vos’ trademark take on timeless American prose mixes with the sweet sounds of Peter Raboin’s mandolin and guitar, Daniel Wolff’s double bass and Coomer’s drums (as well as organ, banjo, and harmonium), to create a cozy, enveloping experience – the album feels like a good night spent on a favorite front porch. While the first single draws lyrical comparisons to Whitman, Vos’ vocals on tracks like “Brothers” and “Ain’t Got Time,” recall Delta soul that might sound fitting sung on one of Twain’s river voyages. Raboin’s mandolin shines on “In the Morning,” leading into “Peace My Soul,” which could be straight from the mouths of one of Steinbeck’s migrants during the Dust Bowl.
The band has traversed much of America after the release of their sophomore album Space and Time in 2014. They’ve made their way through ballrooms and festivals across the country, performing with Trampled by Turtles and Elephant Revival, as well as on main stages at Bristol Rhythm and Roots, Americana Music Festival and Red Ants Pants. At one such fateful festival, Dead Horses piqued the interest of Coomer, who later invited the band to his studio to record their latest album.
The trio, who now tours with drummer Lemmy Hayes, originally hails from a small Wisconsin town made famous by a pair of overalls (OshKosh B’Gosh). Since their formation in 2010, Dead Horses have cultivated a roots sensibility well beyond their years, in part because of powerful musical and literary force that is their frontwoman and songwriter. Raised on Bible hymns by her preacher father, Vos’ gospel influences are clearly conveyed in her music – a delivery so effortless it’s unable to be taught. Complimented by the deft touches of Raboin and Wolff, Vos’ songwriting beckons to the listener, creating an indelible experience.
THE J.E. SUNDE GROUP
Minneapolis’ J.E. Sunde is the solo project of Jonathan Sunde (The Daredevil Christopher Wright). J.E. Sunde has toured heavily in the past two years since releasing Shapes That Kiss The Lips Of God in 2014, headlining and supporting tours with PHOX, Damien Jurado, and We Are The Willows. A follow-up album is slotted for release in spring 2017. The J.E. Sunde Group also features Andrew Thoreen (Har-di-Har, And And End) on bass and either Shane Leonard (Field Report, Kalispell) or Corey Healey (Beautiful Sunshine Band, Marijuana Death Squads) on drums.