Sometimes, you stumble upon a band that does everything right. The songs are the perfect length, the lyrics fit the mood, the instruments sound warm and aren’t overplayed. Sometimes that band is from your home state. Enter Huntington, West Virginia’s The Horse Traders.
I found The Horse Traders through a friend of a friend a few weeks before the release of their latest EP, “I Don’t Mind.” I fell in love at first play. I watched every live video I could, pre-ordered the album, and waited ever-so-impatiently. The disc that arrived brought four near-perfect songs.
The band consists of Patrick Stanley singing and playing rhythm guitar, Travis Egnor playing lead and pedal steel guitar, Jeremy Robinson on drums, and Brandon Mooney on bass. These guys are road-tested and ready for the big time. “I Don’t Mind” shows a band that knows exactly what sound they’re going for, and gets right to the point covering several song styles in a 20-minute, four-song EP.
Press play, and the title track, “I Don’t Mind,” gently opens up through your speakers. By the time the chorus comes around, the song has opened fully with female backing vocals joining in while Patrick repeats the refrain of “I Don’t Mind.”
Where “I Don’t Mind” is a track that warms up and gradually opens, track two, “Hey Carolina,” is a barn burner from the beginning. The harmonized vocals from the first line on will have you singing along quickly. Travis provides some great guitar lines on this upbeat track. The drums really help this song on stage, making it one of the really special live tracks.
The closing track, “Even Mountains Can Fall” has a simple three chord progression with a smooth vocal melody. As the phased-out guitar plays the chords in the opening seconds, you know this song is going to be a bit rowdy. By the time the chord change come in the chorus, you’ll be singing along and watching every girl in the bar dance along. A fantastic closing track with more tasteful musicianship.
I went out of order on purpose here, because there is a song tucked in the middle of this album that blows my mind. The third track of this four-song EP is the beautiful “Mark Twain.” The drum brushes and wonderful pedal steel set the mood for a song that, as a musician, you dream of writing. This song shines lyrically. Patrick tells the story of a father and son becoming “river men” for money, and features a chorus that pulls on the heartstrings. It’s rare to introduce your friends to a band through a ballad, but this song is just right on so many levels.
“I Don’t Mind” is brief, but I kind of like it that way. There isn’t one second of filler. In less than 20 minutes, The Horse Traders put together four songs that cover everything from thoughtful and slow, to loud and anthemic. The band has played some special gigs lately, including recording a session with the infamous Daytrotter last month. They’ll be making their first-ever stop in Marietta September 24th at Marietta Brewing Company. The show starts at 10, and there’s never a cover. Come hang out with the Clutch MOV crew and watch a band that is on their way to the big time.
Song to hear: “Mark Twain”