Milwaukee-based trio Dead Horses have been steadily gaining momentum over the last few years with their fresh, insightful take on folk music that stands out especially with its rich lyrical parallels to American writers like Walt Whitman and John Steinbeck. Their third album, Cartoon Moon, out September 30, continues in that same vein with thoughtful and poetic meditations on loneliness, existence, love and meaning. It also finds them tightening and expanding their powerful harmonies and hummable melodies, with vocalist and songwriter Sarah Vos’ singing coming front and center. 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. Vos’ voice feels made for the bluegrass stylings of Peter Raboin’s mandolin and guitar and Daniel Wolff’s double bass. 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).
For Cartoon Moon the trio enlisted the help of Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco) as producer. Coomer also contributed drums, organ, banjo and harmonium, helping the Dead Horses create a cozy, enveloping experience that feels like a warm night spent on a front porch sharing whiskey with friends.
Today we are presenting an exclusive listen of the leading track off Cartoon Moon, “Golden Sky”, right here at Glide Magazine. On this song, which showcases the simultaneously delicate and affirming vocals of Sarah Vos, we hear a connection to nature that brings to mind a line from the great poet Walt Whitman: “I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars”. Besides the lyrical poetry, the song is as infectious as it is moving, bringing to mind the folkier material of groups like the Dixie Chicks at their most sensitive and poignant.
Offering her own thoughts on the inspiration behind “Golden Sky”, Sarah Vos says, “The song was born in a moment when I was standing in a friend’s backyard amongst the trees, and I felt how lovely it might be to exist as something as simple as a leaf, or a rock, or ‘the water boiling on your tea kettle.’ Poets like Whitman and other transcendentalists like Thoreau and Emerson held our relationship, as humans, with nature to a high regard–a spiritual one even. When I sing ‘Golden Sky’ I’m often reflective of the wonders that nature has to teach us.”
Dead Horses will release Cartoon Moon on September 30. For more music, info and tour dates visit deadhorses.net.