When A Thousand Horses set out to make Bridges, they weren’t aiming for a particular theme or message. But what they got was a compilation of stories from the road put to music with their signature southern rock sound. The title itself came from one of their own poetic lines, “Water under the bridges I’ve burned,” in the album’s title song. The idea kept rolling in bassist Graham Deloach’s head and the band decided it was the right fit. “I’d just had this idea, and it was ‘In life you make mistakes and sometimes you burn some bridges, but the past is the past, man, you’ve just got to move on,’” Deloach explains to Sounds Like Nashville.
“Just the imagery of it is cool,” adds bandmate Zach Brown. “It’s a bridge from our first album, moving into our new stuff. It just felt right to call it that.” Bridges follows their successful debut album Southernality, which includes the breakthrough hit “Smoke,” which sent the group to the top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart and making them the first country group to hit No. 1 with their debut dingle in seven years.
The band reveals that a key factor in creating Bridges is the years they’ve spent touring, headlining their own shows along with opening for superstars like Jason Aldean. Their time performing for fans across the country influenced not only the album, but each one of them as artists. “Life,” lead singer Michael Hobby states simply about where they drew inspiration from for Bridges. “A lot of the songs on the first record, we’ve been playing a very long time, so I think it was just the development of being out on the road, and some of us got married. Life happened, in a good way, so we wanted to write about all those stories and things that had gone on in our past and our future and put it in with these six songs.”
While their journey on the road played a significant role, they also drew from their younger years when writing a song called “Weekends in a Small Town.” Penned by Hobby and The Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston and Neil Mason, the track paints a picture of Hobby and lead guitarist Bill Satcher’s life growing up in the map dot town of Newberry, S.C. “It’s a small town, and we went to the Sonic, and you slipped a little Jack in your Coke,” Hobby describes of his upbringing, with Satcher agreeing. “It’s kind of fun to even go back as an adult and see your same friends and do the exact same dumb stuff, and then everyone goes back to their life. I think it’s just a cool reflection of looking back on that and loving it and how you were raised.”
“I think it’s just a song about looking back on everywhere you’ve been and your journey and where it’s taken you, and kind of shaped you into the person that you are,” Satcher describes. “I think the project as a whole in a way is lyrically reflective upon our lives and the things we’ve been through, and growing up… It just started to sum up the whole thing, I think.”
While Bridges demonstrates a sense of growth since Southernality, the guys assure that their signature sound remains intact on an album that reflects their maturity as artists, singers and performers who’ve poured their heart and soul into life on the road. “I feel like every song on the record has a unique thing about it, like fingerprint that is who we are,” Hobby says. “But it still has the elements of what A Thousand Horses is. It still sounds like A Thousand Horses, and that’s something that we always want to keep, but I think always we can’t avoid.” “It’s just a lot of our songs end up being about staying true to what you are, and doing your thing, and from Southernality onto this as well. I think that’s a common thread,” adds Brown.
In addition to their unique sound, what also makes Bridges stand out is the presence of six live-recorded tracks that took the group to the famed Metropolis Studios in London where they re-recorded songs off Bridges, along with adding a unique twist to previous songs like “Traveling Man,” adding a violin and some “hillbilly shuffle” to it as Satcher explains. “That was nerve-wracking,” they unanimously agree about performing the songs live for the album.
“I think everyone in there could tell this is something special because that’s not something that happens every day and you’re actually seeing it go down,” Brown says of the experience. “This is just us. No studio tricks. No nothing,” describes Satcher. “It’s really cool to re-imagine them and do them differently.”
For fans listening to the dynamic album, they’re bound to hear the elements they know and love, but also get a feel for where the foursome is at in their lives and career. “I think it’s a kind of snapshot of our lives, really, in a way, especially lyrically,” Satcher says.
“I don’t think we set out with a concept of we want all these songs to come together and have this grand concept,” adds Brown. “It was more like we just picked a batch of songs that we were really proud of each one, and we feel like each one has its place on the project.”
A Thousand Horses’ Bridges is available now.