Everybody’s favorite alt.country producer, Dave Cobb, was behind the board for most of A Thousand Horses’ Broken Heartland, and the semi jangle rock of “When I Hear Your Name” offers proof that he has helped the act tone down some of its overly pronounced Southern rock tendencies. Elsewhere, the album’s title track finds the band empathizing with those who are struggling through a rough patch. That track’s electric guitar solo, in fact, sounds a little like the Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell. Thus, these new musical influences cause us to listen to A Thousand Horses with new, appreciative ears.
Michael Hobby, the group’s lead singer, has always been one of its most distinctive elements. He sounds to have grown vocally with this album, as well. One called “Another Mile” has a Gary Allan singing quality to it. This track also features some fine acoustic piano. Then, “Define Me” shows off the act’s prettier, gentler side.
If you love this act’s Black Crowes vibe, be not dismayed. Broken Heartland closes with the soulfully grooved “Carry Me,” which finds Hobby singing with every ounce of wonderful vocal scratchiness he can muster. The guitars are revved up, and the track even incorporates a gospel choir of backing vocalists. It’s performed, one might say, just as the Crowes fly.
Broken Heartland reveals how you can teach horses – if not most old dogs – new tricks. It’s enjoyable the sound of a band going through a welcome growth spurt.