Dead Horses & Lindsay Lou

Hailing from the fertile land of Wisconsin, Sarah Vos and Daniel Wolff met as youths who shared a similar sense of disenchantment after dropping out of college (and finding footing outside of their family’s evangelical rhetoric). Forging ahead on their own, acoustic instruments in hand, they haven’t looked back since meeting nearly a decade ago, and have traveled most of North American in the process.

First introduced on a national scale through tours with friends including Trampled by Turtles and Mandolin Orange, Dead Horses have performed on such legendary stages as Red Rocks Amphitheater, and at festivals from Northwest String Summit to Red Wing Roots, Red Ants Pants to Bristol Rhythm and Roots.

Known for frontwoman Vos’ “aching, haunting vocals” (No Depression) and “evocative, empathetic storytelling” (NPR Music), Dead Horses’ sound bridges indie folk and their own Midwestern approach to Americana. Lyrically, the band explores the human condition from personal musings to observations of the current American experience, taking notes from every person and city they meet along the road.

Their critically acclaimed third album, My Mother the Moon, earned profiles from Billboard to Noisey to Democracy Now!, spots in Folk Alley’s and No Depression's "Best Folk/Roots Albums of 2018" lists, and Rolling Stone Country declared them an "Artist You Need to Know."

And it seems word made its way to London, as The Who selected Dead Horses as one of a handful of U.S. bands to open for them on their symphonic Moving On! tour this fall.

Currently completing a residency at a monastery in Northern Wisconsin, Dead Horses are in the process of releasing a series of singles, including “Family Tapes” and “Mighty Storm,” which exemplify the duo’s intimate and dynamic approach to songwriting, but also experiment with ambient sounds and textures, which color an abstract landscape compared to 2018’s deeply realistic look at loss in My Mother the Moon.

Lindsay Lou has been making soulful, poignant music for the last decade. An undeniable powerhouse, Lou’s remarkable gifts as a singer, songwriter, musician and performer demand the listener’s attention. Her singing floats over the masterful playing and deep groove of her band with both a fierce intensity and a tender intimacy.

Lindsay Lou’s fourth album, Southland (released April 2018), is a transformative and heart-wrenching ten-song stunner. Lou’s voice—and its unique ability to create an expansive, almost physically tangible soundscape—carries each song on Southland forward, made even more recognizable and potent by bandmates Josh Rilko (mandolin, vocals) and PJ George (bass, vocals) and special guests.

The beauty with which the sounds on Southland slip into the ether is the product of an emotionally difficult time for Lindsay and her band—who, as musicians often do, entered the studio to “hash it out.” The process, demonstrated by the music on Southland, was sincere and stirring and introspective.

Southland kicks off with “Roll With Me,” an expansive anthem with Lou’s robust vocals on full display. “Go There Alone” was written during an “Immersion Composition Society” experiment that Lou does from time to time, and the sound fully developed with the band a little later on. The lazy, beautiful harmonies pull at your heartstrings in a way that feels like home, despite the lonely and bittersweet message. And though songs like “The Voice” and “Southland” were spurred on by more abstract ideas and words, they transformed as collaborators started freestyling with their instruments and Lou simply sang what came to mind. Impressively enough, Lou plays electric bass, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar on the album’s title track. “Southland” is about the natural beauty of the South, which to Lou, adds a sense of calm and connectedness to a region known too often for its divisiveness. Having recently left her home state of Michigan to put down roots in Nashville with the band, the influence of this change is felt throughout the themes and ideas expressed on Southland.

Born the daughter of a coal miner in middle Missouri, Lindsay Lou’s family moved to Michigan shortly after Lindsay was born. She describes her family as close knit and musical, their lives influenced heavily by her maternal grandmother’s radical ideals and zest for life. In fact, if you ask Lindsay, her grandmother—a woman who was once put in jail during the Civil Rights Movement for teaching a lesson on the “f” word as a high school literature teacher—is one of her greatest influences to this day. Armed with her activist spirit, Lou’s grandmother set up a Christian commune in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for her growing family of twelve, as well as some stragglers. There in a big farmhouse, Lou’s dad was their neighbor.

Raised with this sense of community, Lou recalls always being surrounded by music. So when the time came for her to join a band, for Lou, it felt like finding a home away from home. Her career, like her life, have been full of great moments of kismet. As a youth, Lou built her repertoire by practicing her vocals, and she picked up the guitar so she could play with her Uncle Stuckey, perhaps most musically influential on her of her mother’s siblings. The skills she honed during the days of learning to sing and play with her family led to a wide variety of musical opportunities, singing in choir in high school, attending an elite summer program at Interlochen on scholarship, and winning awards for her talents.

Today, touring nationally and internationally year round, Lindsay Lou and her band continue to collect a mass of friends and fans along the way. Notable U.S. festival plays include Telluride Bluegrass festival, Merlefest, Stagecoach, Redwing, ROMP, GreyFox, and a slew of others. Abroad, they have appeared at Scotland’s Shetland Island Folk Fest and the Celtic Connections tour, Australia’s National Folk Festival, and others. Of the live show, fRoots Magazine reviewed “…[Lindsay Lou is] the most affectingly expressive singer since Amy Winehouse, backed by the new Punch Brothers.” The Boot, who featured Lindsay Lou Band as a “Can’t Miss Act at AmericanaFest 2018, says “...Lou brings introspection and masterful vocal work to her live show.”

In the words of famed bluegrass musician David Grier, who caught Lindsay Lou Band at a recent festival, “Lindsay...sings the way you would want to if'n you could. Phrasing, tone, emotion, it's all there. Effortless seemingly. Simply mesmerizing. Riveting! Don't miss the musical force that is Lindsay Lou.”

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