CD Review: Black Horse Motel “Parable”

Posted: July 11, 2017 in Music
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Black Horse MotelBlack Horse Motel is a Philadelphia-based musical ensemble with a sound that is based in Traditional Folk music but with other musical influences that shape their sound so that they help take the band’s sound from that traditional label to more of an Americana label. Black Horse Motel consists of: Galen Fitzpatrick on guitar, vocals; Desiree Haney on cello, piano, vocals; Ryann Lynch on fiddle, viola, mandolin, vocals and Megan Manning drums, percussion, vocals. Together, the foursome is able to take their various musical talents to create a sound that blends Folk with other styles. This, along with their musical influences which include Fleetwood Mac, Bon Iver and U2 as well as others, is what helps to create the Americana label the band finds itself being classified under.

In the band’s history, they have released a self-titled EP, an album entitled Red Summer Spirit and a new EP entitled Parable. It is with the release of Parable that Black Horse Motel is currently touring.

Parable from Black Horse Motel begins with the track “Run, Rabbit, Run”. The track begins with banjo, fiddle and other Country instrumentation before a very noticeable bass part and drum playing that would have belonged in Rock and Roll join the other instrumentation. The track features a very driving pace to the music, a pace that belongs more in Rock and Roll than in Country music. The mixture of the styles and the lyrical content about growing up in a farmer state of mind create a track that mixes many different mindsets, musical and lyrical, that create a song that crosses many different lines all at the same time. With such a strong essence, “Run, Rabbit, Run” seems to make the listener pay attention to the music from the beginning note. This track alone easily shows the listener why the band falls into the Americana category as this track has too many different elements from too many musical genres for the band to be classified as anything else in particular.

With the next track of “Bones,” the band Black Horse Motel changes directions to choose one specific genre of music for the song. The Folk music created contains a light, easy pace to the track. That easy pace seems to be rather oddly placed with the words that feature a lyrical content about a childhood rocked with violence and the thankful feeling of having lived through it. When compared to the first track of “Run, Rabbit, Run,” “Bones” comes across as the more challenging of the two songs even though the music is lighter.

Changing directions, Black Horse Motel embraces their Bluegrass influences on the track “Where the Money Comes From”. On this track, the band abandons all electric sounds for an all-acoustic sound that contains acoustic guitar and fiddle. The Bluegrass track features a slight Gospel feel to the music and the beat as the band sings of needing some financial help no matter where it comes from. The lyrical content and the resulting clash with the Gospel influence once again creates an interesting moment on the Parable release.

One of the most commercial sounding tracks on the Parable release from Black Horse Motel is the song “Take It Back”. The Folk-based song brings both the piano and the fiddle to the forefront of the instruments as the band creates a track that contains a very beautiful melody. That melody transitions to a melody that works well as a Country song. The lyrics about avoiding the past by covering it with anything you can seems to cut a little too close for comfort as the listener may start to relive thoughts better left buried. The piano late in the track adds another element to the song that gives the song even more beauty. “Take It Back” is easily one of the strongest tracks on the five-song release.

Black Horse Motel’s newest release comes to an end with the track “Dear Mama”. The track begins with some a-Capella that brings back a little Gospel influence in the way the music feels. Once the music begins, the band creates some Rock music with some strings included that produces the strongest music on the entire CD. The lyrics about boys being abandoned by their mother adds a little sadness to the album. But the strength of the music in the track takes most of that sadness away. “Dear Mama” ends up sounding like a Country-flavored track that could have been created by Jeff Lynne and the rest of Electric Light Orchestra.

Parable from Black Horse Motel is an EP with lots to offer the listener. The five tracks that comprise the Parable release from Black Horse Motel find a band of four musicians creating songs that are quite different from one song to the next. And with each track, the band shows off their talent and musical flexibility as they change styles throughout the release.

Click HERE to hear the song “Take it Back” from Black Horse Motel.

For more information, check out the band’s PR firm, The RMG Media Group.

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