A bustling boulevard in the heart of Milwaukee provides a colorful backdrop for the latest album by folk duo Dead Horses. Brady Street, which is due out on August 12, 2022, is Dead Horses’ first full-length release since their arresting 2018 record, My Mother the Moon. The last album charted on the Americana Top 50 radio charts for three consecutive months. The single “Turntable” accrued more than 35 million spins on Spotify and was also featured on the Amazon and Apple Americana playlists. The pair’s select media highlights include a Rolling Stone “Artist You Should Know” mention as well as profiles in Billboard, Noisey, and even independent global news publication Democracy Now!
For their fourth full-length press, the pair decided to stick to their roots and record at Honeytone Studios in Neenah. “We wanted to produce something that seemed true to us, so we opted for a closer-to-home approach,” explains Daniel Wolff. “The experience allowed us to dive in and out of the studio and really work with the individual songs and the overall feel of Brady Street. Because of this, I believe we created a set of songs that contain a wider variety of sounds and textures that we knew were possible for us but didn’t have the chance to accomplish yet based on our previous recording strategies.”
The new record kicks off with its title track, “Brady Street,” a song that took many months to finish, but one that Sarah Vos says she “never lost faith in because it seemed to really capture a mood I’ve never been able to through song.” The second and third tracks open to reveal Dead Horses’ evolution into more intricate places rhythmically and sonically, only to pull away to the live recorded, sparsely beautiful, intimate “Bird Over the Train.” Track 8, titled “You Are Who You Need to Be,” is a ballad meant to empower those who don’t fit into society’s gender and sexuality norms. The final tracks, “Under Grey Skies” and “Days Grow Longer,” leave the listener with an unexpected sound from the band. “The sound is more fun and lighthearted than what we usually create, unless you’re looking too hard,” Vos observes.
“I feel that Brady Street is a coming-of-age record for us – both musically and thematically,” Vos shares. “In some ways, Brady Street is an answer to My Mother the Moon. The latter was written and recorded in the midst of working through childhood traumas and first venturing out on my own. Brady Street is less naive, more gritty, more focused.” Brady Street takes the intimacy of nature and brings it into the oftentimes reckless city life. Instead of walks through the forest, the songs take the audience on walks through the city, past all the old churches and bars with rich histories. Both records are filled with songs of hope and the search for beauty, as well as compassion for others, especially strangers. Written primarily throughout the COVID lockdown, Brady Street turns inward and reflects the introspection many of us encountered over the course of the often-melancholy pandemic.
Since the band’s early days, Dead Horses has been something of a fluid project centered around Sarah and Dan but has also welcomed other like minded musicians for recording and touring. The band’s seemingly dark name is a loving tribute to a former friend of the band who passed away due to struggles with opioid abuse.
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