BIG Show + New Song Premier Nov 14!

This Friday, November 14, join us for a night of foot stompin' folk as we return to Kung Fu Necktie in Fishtown! We are calling it the TGIFolk (get it?) show and are excited to be sharing the stage with old friends, New Sweden, from Wilmington, DE and new friends, The Pinkerton Raid, from Durham, NC!

Keep your ears open during our set for a bunch of new songs, AND a brand-new-never-heard-by-anyone-else-in-the-whole-world song!

Kung Fu Necktie 1250 N Front St, Philadelphia, PA 19122 Doors are at 7:30pm, show starts at 8pm sharp Tickets are only $10 at the door

8:00pm - New Sweden 9:00pm - The Pinkerton Raid 10:00pm - Black Horse Motel

The last time we played at Kung Fu Necktie was March 1, 2013, the unforgettable sold-out release show for our album Red Summer Spirit. We were blown away by the support we received from you all that night, so are tapping into those memories and giving you a stompin' kick off to your weekend!

Hope to see you there!

Friday, Oct 24 @ Milkboy Philly w/ Yarn!

Woohoo! It's Friday, it's fall, it's almost Miller time (or craft beer time, or whiskey time, or whatever time is your favorite time)! We are very excited to be opening for Yarn tonight at Milkboy! They've been making big waves since their 2007 debut, including being nominated for a 2013 Grammy and working with John Oates (cue Megan SQUEEE!). We are super pumped to be sharing the stage with them tonight!

Milkboy Philadelphia 1100 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 8:30pm 21+ Tickets $10 pre / $12 door. Get tickets here! 9:30pm - Black Horse Motel 10:30pm - Yarn

See YOU there! - Megan

2 Shows this Saturday! Fall Fun For Everyone!

Hey Folks -It's fall, and here at BHM, we love fall. Why? Because it's a great time to drink whiskey. Also, it means we have a couple really cool shows, and fall fun for everyone means they're all-ages!

Saturday, October 11 We are playing two acoustic shows this Saturday. Come get up-close and personal and hear stripped down versions of our songs, although with some covers! (Please note that Megan can't be there and is very sad about it, so please have extra fun on her behalf!)

First Up - County Fair at The Oval!

5pm - 7pm rain or shine The Oval is formerly known as Eakins Oval and is directly in front of the art museum. There will be a ton of fun stuff for the family - games, movies, music, food trucks & a beer/wine garden.Best of all, it's FREE!!! For more information, head on over to The Oval: County Fair.

Next Up - XFS House Concert XFS = Xtreme Folk Scene 8pm Jenkintown, PA The XFS is excited to present Black Horse Motel with Jim Brann opening for the first XFS house concert of the season! The show will be in Jenkintown, but to get all the top secret details, you have to RSVP! Go here HERE to get your secret squirrel stuff!

Next Month: We are excited to be back at Kung Fu Necktie on November 14th. Sorry folks, this one age 21+, so make sure to bring the kiddies out to the previously mentioned shows. Come see us share the stage with our old pals, New Sweden and our soon to be new pals, The Pinkerton Raid (from Durham, NC).

Hope to see you there! - Desiree

out of the closet and into Songs of Innocence

This post is a live blog of my (Megan) first listen to U2’s new album, Songs of Innocence. Yes, I’m a little behind the ball here, but once I realized I wanted to write this post, I had to a) Find a chunk of time to sit down and listen/write and b) Not listen to the album until then! The sacrifices I make... Before we get started, I’ve got to admit something. I’m a U2 fan, a big one. Unfortunately for me, over the years, U2 has become somewhat of dangerous topic to bring up in mixed company. It seems like they turned a corner at some point - Was it the Pop album? Was it Bono’s ever-increasing political involvement? Did they get “too big”? - and people changed their minds about them. So, I tucked my love for these four Irish fellows in the closet in order to save myself the trouble of accidentally stumbling into a conversation with haters. But I’m coming out now. I love U2. A whole lot. There, now you know.

Despite the fact that they had been around and relevant for my entire existence, I only started really paying attention around the age of 15. I discovered a copy of The Joshua Tree in my dad’s CD collection and “borrowed” it, feeling like this was one of those albums you were supposed to know. I don’t think I ever gave it back. From there, I ravenously consumed their entire catalog. This wasn’t the classic rock or R&B that my parents listened to. This was something that for ME, that I could sink my teeth into. I’ll set the scene - 15 years old, Catholic high school, filled with teenaged emotions. Add in being gay (and in the closet for SEVERAL more years) and being a highly emotional and anxious person and...well, luckily I found music instead of a cult. U2 didn’t play music the same way as “rock bands” did. Edge has such a distinct style. Larry Mullen Jr. taught me to think about the drum kit outside of kick on 1&3 and snare on 2&4. LMJ and Adam Clayton carry the meat of so many of U2’s songs. All hail the rhythm section! Bono can go from screaming to crooning to falsetto. Their music wasn’t about how many chicks they could bang or booze or drugs (not that I don’t love that stuff). This was music that is filled with unabashed raw emotions, imagery, lyrics to pour over, metaphors to unravel, music to lose yourself in. Anger, war, love, hope, desire, rage, despair, fear - it was all there. It was what I needed. I was born-again-level fan. I melted it over a candle, injected it into my veins and let myself be swept up in their narrative.

Ok, this could easily turn into a creepy manifesto of my feelings for this band, so I’ll sum it up. For me, there is a U2 for every mood and need. It’s my safe place, my happy place, an essential part of my life. Their music resets me to neutral, while at the same time exciting my central nervous system in a way few other bands can. If you asked which album I would bring with me on a deserted island, it would undoubtedly be a U2 record and it would be Sophie’s Choice to pick one.

With all this being said, the release of a new U2 album is always exciting and a bit stressful for me. If there’s one thing that U2 does, it’s change...and change is scary. They try things, and sometimes they fail. But I always respect them for trying, risking, and innovating. U2 teamed with Apple again, announced and released their new album in a matter of minutes. They gave it to you for free...and they gave it to you whether you asked for it or not. I know some people aren’t happy. I love U2 and I love Apple, so they just gave me something I would have bought anyway. I win. If you think it’s bogus, I can understand that, but I have successfully avoided debating the finer points of their album release so far and I shan’t start now!

As a U2 fan, I want to love everything they create and do and say. But since I’m a real person, I don’t. Admittedly, the last two records haven’t taken up residence in my heart as much as others. But, I always start out wanting to like a record. Let’s see what Songs of Innocence brings. Deep breath...

1. The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) This has “single” all over it from the start. Like the sticky clickies. Man, Bono’s voice sounds great. Super slick production here, tight, lush. Although that’s not unusual for a U2 record. This track in particular feels like it’s bursting at the seams, both sonically and least through the verse. Admittedly, it falls a little short for me on the chorus. Some lyrics I particularly like: “We've got language so we can communicate / Religion so I can love and hate / Music so I can exaggerate my pain / And give it a name” I think Bono is much more self-aware than a lot of people think. I’ve already heard Ramones fans complaining about it. I don’t feel strongly about the Ramones, so I don’t totally get this either. I almost feel like the name in the parentheses could be...anyone who is dead and held in Bono’s high musical regard? (Frank Sinatra), (Johnny Cash), etc. 5th listen: It’s a U2 single. I don’t love it. I’ll hear it a lot more times.

2. Every Breaking Wave “With or Without You Part II”? Getting some Police “Every Breath You Take” - esque vibes as well. Big chorus burst, feels quite poppy, which for me is always simultaneous brain candy and apprehension. But I love a Bono big note. Classic post-chorus pause, back down for verse two. Nice dynamics. Some great lyrical nuggets here: “Every sailor knows that the sea is a friend made enemy”. “It’s hard to listen while you preach”. 5th listen: I’ve allowed myself to like the big beginning notes of the chorus. Pretty good.

3. California (There is No End to Love) Church bells. Classic U2 fade in….”ba ba... Santa Barbara”? Oy vey, that’s.... Also, a song about California? Don’t we have enough? Write about Wisconsin, I might hear something new. Anyway, I like the verse, good push from the drums and bass, nice string movement under the vocals. Chorus: ”Whoa”s (meh!), fuzzy synth (like!), his voice sounds great.  Nice tone of Edge’s guitar. Dry and up close, NOT classic U2 there. 5th listen: Yeah, alright, I’m with you guys on this one.

4. Song for Someone A little droning keys, acoustic guitar and vocals. So dry and minimalist, not standard U2. Wait wait, synth creeping in, drums, guitar, reverb, ah AH! Bang, chorus. I like this. The interweaving of Bono and Edge’s notes in the chorus is nice. My boy Larry Mullen, Jr. is pushing chorus into the second verse with some 16th notes on the snare with brushes. I’m a real sucker for brushes + snare + 16ths + Larry Mullen, Jr. Edge’s guitar solo REALLY reminds me of his riff towards the end “I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight” from No Line On the Horizon. Rhythm section drops out for the bridge - oh yeah, like it, beautiful. Vocals, bits of keys & guitar, biblical reference. Oop, it wasn’t a bridge, songs’s over. “There is a light, don’t let it go out”. End. I feel like this is the first song that I’ve heard so far that I’ll remember when it’s over and return to. Ended when it should have and left me wanting more. 5th listen: Love it.

5. Iris (Hold Me Close) Immediate thoughts go to “Ultravoilet” from Achtung Baby. Oh now some Pop elements, whoa now to Unforgettable Fire. Within the first 45 seconds. Man, I was really into that intro. Then I felt like I had no idea what was happening in the pre-chorus/chorus section. I was reminded of “Salomé”, an Achtung Baby B-side. Second verse, back to Unforgettable Fire era tense, chugging guitar/bass/drums behind the vocals. Dammit, I wish this was the whole song. Bridge...I don’t even...sounds like How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. This song is like 4 songs mashed together. As a hardcore U2 fan, the fact that each section of this song is a throwback to a previous era of their sound is really fucking my brain. I can’t listen to THIS song, because I can only hear other songs. 5th listen: Ok, I’ve got a better grasp on this now. I might even like it.

6. Volcano Bass intro. That might be a first. It’s foot tapping and kinda groovy. More “OH”s in the chorus. Bridge was kind of bridge-y. Meh. 5th listen: Eh

7. Raised by Wolves Lindsey Buckingham-esque breath sounds in the intro. “I’m in a white van as a red sea covers the ground” / “33 good people cut down” Yikes. “I don’t believe anymore”. Wow, it’s always jarring to hear Bono despondent. Oh, I like the chorus fake-out there. Tight. This is building like a War/Unforgettable Fire emotional piece.  It better go somewhere! Chorus…did not go where I wanted it to. V2: “Blood in house / Blood in the street”. Man, the verses and pre-choruses really paint a vivid picture. Second time through the chorus, I’m feeling it more. 5th listen: Pretty good. Getting more of War-era flavor from the guitar and piano. It’s a good flavor.

8. Cedarwood Road Jack White? Maybe Edge wrote this riff during “It Might Get Loud”. Dig it though, my head’s a-bobbin’. Oh, Bono saw some shit on this street as a kid: “It was a warzone in my teens / I’m still standing on that street / Still need an enemy / The worst ones I can’t see” Dat riff, yo. Dat riff. This is obviously a deeply personal and emotional song and I like that they chose to portray that through a rock n’ roll, riff-driven, foot stompin’ song rather than try to keep it too precious.  Come for the riff, stay for the story. Classic heavy Bono lyrics. Love it. 5th listen: It’s rock n’ roll with a U2 twist. I can’t argue with that.

9. Sleep Like a Baby Tonight Synthy start. I’m glad they are bring some of that back into the fold. I was wondering if in a post-Pop U2, we would ever hear it again. Nice snare-off with rods(I think?) from LMJ. Used a lot on Zooropa and Pop. One of my favorite drums sounds from him. I like this track. It’s an album track through and through, but it’s got that creeper quality like “Gone” or “Please”. 5th listen: I’d believe you if you told me was left over from the Pop recording sessions. I don’t mean that in a bad way. The band has taken to ignoring Zooropa and Pop in the years since their release. I honestly like both of those albums and Zooropa I feel is super underrated. Nice to hear bits of 1993-1997 U2 in here.

10. There is Where You Can Reach Me Seagulls. All That You Can’t Leave Behind guitar tone. Oooh, “Soldier, Soldier” with big united voices, that always gets me charged up. My foot’s tapping. The rhythm section is carrying this song (duh, it’s U2, I know). It moves. I like the bridge. It’s alright, if maybe a little lacking in substance. Maybe I just expected something heavier when it started with “Soldier! Soldier!” being yelled. 5th listen: It’s ok, don’t hate or love. The Halloween organ under the verse wigs me out a little.

11. The Troubles I’m assuming this song is going to be about “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. I HATE to type this sentence: This kind of sounds like a Coldplay song. Maybe it’s just the kids singing. Besides, Coldplay songs sound like U2 songs, so this sounds like a U2 song? That’s confusing. “And you think it’s easier / To know your own tricks / Well it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do” I don’t think this is about Ireland. Those cheeky bastards. This song’s aiight. 5th listen: Those aren’t kids, it’s a girl...I Googled it, it’s Lykke Li. Anyway, it’s a closer, a nice end to the record. They usually end with something toned-down and often a little depressing.

Welp, I’ll say it’s better than I expected. I generally don’t read or write album reviews because more often than not, my initial impressions of music do not match my long-term feelings. “I LOVE THIS”...I listen to it obsessively for a month and then completely forget about it. “This is alright”...I pick it up again five years later and berate myself for not realizing how great it was the first time. So, I’m holding any sweeping declarations about this album until later...or never. Now that I’ve had a chance to sample the buffet, I’m interested to hear other’s thoughts. Let me know on the Facebook/Twitter. According to their announcement, we may be back here sooner than we think for Songs of Experience. Happy listening!

“If you dream, dream out loud” -Megan

5 Local Acts You Need To See This Fall

With the fall season approaching many people are upset that they must wish their lighthearted friend Summer goodbye. I, on the other hand, say, "Good Riddance! Get the hell out Summer, you're a lazy lover and you've never treated me right! Oh, and I want my dog back!". Sorry I think I might projecting some things from my personal life. ANYWAY, the point is Fall is on the way, and with it brings amazing local music. So without further ado, here are my top five local acts to catch this season. (in no particular order) -

Chris Kasper

November 1st @ Johnny Brenda's

I was introduced to Chris Kasper by the one and only Andrew Lipke who was showing me new music that he had just mixed for Chris. His sound has many classic folk tones that are immediately charming and keep you in a place of musical bliss until the song leaves you. In a live setting, Chris is effortlessly captivating, his voice has a quality that melts through you and leaves you with nothing but ease. Don't miss him, this is definitely a show that will fix a terribly draining day at work. You can buy tickets here.

A Fistful Of Sugar

Oct. 3rd Upstairs @ World Cafe Live Philly This band is very close to my heart because they are very good friends. In fact, Black Horse Motel supported A Fistful Of Sugar for their album release show! Aaaaaaand we also shared a campsite at the Philly Folk Fest. Their music not only unites many different genres, but also unites many different musicians throughout the city. They are like a dream team of Philadelphia folk musicians, with the likes of Rev. T.J. McGlinchey, Raph Cutrufello (a.k.a. Hezekiah Jones), and No Good Sister to name a few. Seeing them perform is electrifying! Songs Like "Brother Brother" will have you dancing into another decade, talented front-man Michael Andrew Gall puts you right back in the roaring 1920's!  Make sure you see them upstairs at the World Cafe on Oct. 3, get tickets Here!

Hezekiah Jones

Nov. 22nd @ The Ardmore Music Hall

Hezekiah Jones' most recent album "Have You Seen Our New Fort?" is one that frequents my turntable at home. It is a perfect amalgamation of Folk and Swing. The horn arrangements push and pull with Raph Cutrufello's piano and guitar riffs to form something fresh and unique. I had the pleasure of bumping into Raph on the campgrounds of the Philly Folk Fest in a whiskey passing, Neil Young covering, heavily bearded, drunken circle of vagabond guitarists. He stepped forward and sang a song, I don't remember what song he sang, I do however remember the way my private parts tingled when his sweet voice first hit my ears! And Hezekiah Jones only gets more orgasmic with the rest of the band, so be sure to see him play at The Ardmore Music Hall Nov. 22nd. Tickets are here.

Vita And The Woolf

Sept. 20th @ Ortlieb's Album Release show!

Vita And The Woolf is fronted by one of the most purely talented musicians I know, Jen Pague. Jen and I went to high school together, and I remember on a late drunken night hearing her sing and play the piano for the first time. She was so talented that I considered going home and throwing away every instrument I owned because I knew (and still know) I'll never be that good! Her music has only gotten better and matured over the years. The greatest part about Vita And The Woolf is Jen's ability to stack vocal harmonies, the song "Asha" is a great example of this. I haven't had the pleasure of seeing Vita And The Woolf live yet but I'll be at Ortlieb's on the 20th of Sept. for the album release show and you should be too! Get tickets Here!

New Sweden

Sept. 12 @ Kelly's Logan House

New Sweden is another band that has shared many a stage with Black Horse Motel. All of us in BHM are very happy to see how successful New Sweden has become over the years, and it is well deserved! New Sweden is a treat live. They combine all the simple pleasures of folk music with the presence and energy of punk! I've never seen them play a show where the audience could resist dancing and shouting. To put it simply, they make bad ass, foot stomping music. See them in Wilmington DE at Kelly's Logan House Sept. 12. Oh yeah and this one is FREE!!! More info here.

See ya later Summer! Bring on the Fall!

Now it's your turn! What local acts are you excited about seeing? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter (@blackhorsemotel)!


Beta Hi-Fi Update: Round 1 - WON!


We were last night's Beta Hi-fi Emerging Music Festival competition Round 1 winners at Wilmington's World Cafe Live at the Queen! WOOOO!

We'll be back in Wilmington this Friday, August 29 for the finals!

Friday, August 29 World Cafe Live at the Queen (upstairs) 500 N Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 SET TIME TBA FREE! All Ages!

Audience draw and response count towards our score!

Calling all horseheads to come out on Friday and help us take this home!

Round 2 - FIGHT!

Beta Hi-fi Competition - Tomorrow night!

We snagged a last minute spot in this year's Beta Hi-fi Emerging Music Festival competition at Wilmington's World Cafe Live at the Queen! We need your support this Tuesday to help us advance to Friday's finals! Tuesday, August 26 World Cafe Live at the Queen (upstairs) 500 N Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801 BHM on @ 10pm FREE! All Ages!

Things to know about beta hi-fi:

  • 4 bands play each night from Monday 8/25 - Thursday 8/28
  • One winner is chosen each night
  • 4 winning artists return on Friday 8/29 for the final showdown
  • Winner gets tons of prizes - including press & studio time

Audience response and attendance count, so we are asking you to come on out!

We know it's last minute, but it would mean a lot to us if we could see your faces and hear your voices!

If we win on Tuesday, we'll be back on Friday for the finals. We'll be sure to keep you posted.

Wilmington beta hi-fi website Since its opening in 2011, World Cafe Live at the Queen in Delaware has continued the beta hi fi tradition started in Philadelphia eight years ago. The free week-long music festival held this year from August 25 - 29 features some of the region’s cream of the musical crop and provides a platform for the Wilmington area’s best emerging musicians and songwriters to be heard by local radio DJs like Mark Rogers, music bloggers like WXPN’s John Vettese, publications like Out and About Magazine, show promoters like Gable Music Ventures, label reps like Jade Tree’s Darren Walters and fans alike. Each year, 20 bands are selected from a batch of over 200 submissions and offered the opportunity to stand out among the rest by performing engaging original songs. A winning band is selected each night based on various judging criteria including showmanship, stage presence, professionalism, creativity, audience appeal, and ability to draw a crowd. These winners then progress to the finals held on August 29th to prove who’s got what it takes to win some tasty prize packages from Disc Makers, Rainbow Books and Music, the Dewey Beach Music Conference and way more. The Queen’s past beta hi fi winners include Lititz, PA’s The Districts, who have since gone on to grab loads of attention nationwide and get themselves signed to record label Fat Possum and Paradigm booking agency; they will be performing on WXPN’s Xponential Music Festival’s main stage this summer.

Hope to see you there! -Megan

Summer Recap

Ok, clearly this summer was an amazing time for us. We played Musikfest, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and set a new personal record for shows per hour by playing three shows in under 28 hours (that's 1/10th of a show per hour, for fraction lovers). We've also been putting together some new music for you and trying them out at shows along the way. More great music will be forthcoming. You'll just have to wait for it. Now I'd like to move on to a subject near and dear to all of us here at the Black Horse Motel stables...

♞   Boots!   ♞


If you've never experienced a boot, let me sum the concept up by saying its like your shoes fell in love with the legs of your pants. The entire band wears them and we're oddly attuned to other people's boot choices too.


And now for the in-depth BHM boot preference analysis you've always wanted:

Galen: I favor the browns in a square ended harness boot or a more rounded oxford toe. I also like a stitched welt. Glued on soles never seem to live up to my abuse. Megan: Floats between oxford/wingtips in shades of brown and classic black. But she will always have a place in her heart for good 'ol classic Dr. Marten's. Dave: Favors black as of late (it's easier to find a Sharpie to fix marks) Recently switched to a pair of riding boots with a pointier toe. He still has a pair of no-socks busted up brown ones that you can sometimes catch on a warm weather Sunday Des: Blacks and grays with laces. Heights vary. Des most likely owns the most boots in the band. If that's not true, she's done a good job of making them look new to me. Ryann: Has lately been rocking a set of tan, slouchy, ankle cowboys. This will be our first band autumn with Ryann, so more boot research will be conducted. Findings to be published at a later time...or never.

Does this band love broguing? Why, yes! Stick some little holes in the tips of my boots and I'm in heaven.


Since my bulldog ate my Frye boots, I'm searching (see above...sigh)


Philly Folk Fest Schedule - Friday 8/15

It's almost here! We are nearly coming out of our skins with excitement about playing the 53rd Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival! WXPN's The Key named us one of 6 local artists not to miss at this year's Fest!

Friday, August 15th

Lobby Stage - 4:45pm This is our MAIN SET at the Folk Fest. 30 minutes. All killer, no filler. Don't be late. Our set is part of the Philadelphia Music Co-op Showcase from 2pm-6pm. Six great Philly-local bands. See you there!

Merch Tent - 6pm-6:20pm Meet & Greet! Come say hello! Also, if you got one of the "golden ticket" stickers Ryann will be handing out, bring it here AT THIS TIME to redeem your prize.

Cultural Tent - 6:40pm Backstage Sessions - A great way to celebrate the spirit of the Fest! Each act plays three songs, two with other artists in a "rolling review" format: 1. "Marguerita" with Rebecca Loebe 2. "Broken Crown" - a BRAND NEW Black Horse Motel song ***Hear it here first!*** 3. "Angel from Montgomery" with SONiA of Disappear Fear

All of our musical endeavors are happening on Friday, but most of the band will be at the festival for the weekend. Come find us and we'll trade stories and share a beer!

See you at the fest! - Megan

Waiting for Inspiration

This is a live blog of Galen's listening to Andrew Bird's Noble Beast album. Side A first record in the record player...

Ah, whistling.

Fuzz guitar is simple, understated, and lovely. Not distortion, this is straight up fuzz. I'd love to figure that tone out. The little one is dancing occasionally.

Is this record skipping or is seriously experimental. MORE WHISTLING.

Short break here to red Max Drives Away... again.

This second track while having a certain Simon and Garfunkel quality to it's overall sound really showcases Andrew Bird's "wainwrightesque" voice. All apologies if Rufus is in fact Birdesque. I'm notoriously bad with timelines.

I'm not a huge fan of repeated claps as a prominent sound in the rhythm section.

Was that a fiddle slide or a theramin for a moment there?

The little one is pulling apart her play-mat and then putting it back together. She's really into this game lately, but now the bulldog has tried to claim her space. Two destructive forces working together is frightening.

I really wish this track was a bit less produced, though the samba feel of it does make me want to get a cocktail and sit out under the stars. There's that fuzz guitar again... Who's playing? Oh, hello Google! Could be Andrew or Jeremy Ylvislaker. More research commencing after this new energy in the current song lets me go. I feel a little like dancing to it, which is something, because I don't really like to dance all that much. The whole album feels like a Wes Anderson film. Hmmm... I need to get a Wes Anderson viewing party together. There will be costumes, decorations, etc.

This album feels very dated for having been released in 2009. It doesn't feel like it's 5 years old it feels like it's 35 years old. Time to flip the album.

A brief interlude here. I frequently get into semi-heated arguments about vinyl in which I say, "I can't hear the difference between vinyl and a lossless digital copy." I stand by this argument. Generally speaking the difference I hear can be explained as the difference between speakers on different systems more than anything else. However, there is a great experience in the enjoyment of a vinyl record that there is not in the digital playlist. I have to actively engage with what I'm listening to. The side of the record is finished and I must get out of my seat, walk to the player, turn the record over (tactile sensations abound) move the needle and then see if I want to get back to what I was doing while listening. In contrast, the digital soundtrack has turned my entire life into a mall where the music I am most likely to enjoy is playing in a way that I am most likely to ignore. Ok, flip the damn album.

I really dig the immediate dive into an orchestral feel here. Now... yeah, I just read Max Drives Away, again. I like the violin on this track. I'm not sure which one it is, but it has a vaguely American Civil War Era feel. Gina just brought me a sheaf of handwritten font sheets. Gorgeous. We will frame them, for sure.

While I'm vaguely distracted, let me discuss the love of packaging. I'm a songwriter who puts primary importance on lyrics. I love all the space the record cover gives to show off an artist's lyrics. For a while there when CDs were just getting their start, they frequently had thick booklets of lyrics. Now CDs seem to come only in tiny cardboard sleeves. Though the font of those books was already too small, it was at least something. Now as someone who has friends with talents in the visual arts, I'm all to aware that I have NONE. So the digital route is certainly easier for me, because coming up with any sort of album art is a nightmare of insecurity.

For the love of God, and your life, stop the god damned clapping. I know I've mentioned it already, but this album is way overproduced for my tastes. Okay, I think this song is called Nomenclature. I don't think I'm making it through this album tonight. Bored. Just nothing there grabbing me. Nothing hateful, just, not snagging. Very well thought out tracks with great recording, way too much going on, and every track is starting to blend into the others.

North Star Bar Wrap Up

Some Upcoming Shows of Interest
July 12 Newtown Square, PA @ Burlap and Bean w/Joy Ike July 25 Brooklyn, NY @ Union Hall w/Hannah & Maggie and Jus Post Bellum July 26 Newtown Square, PA @ Colonial Plantation at Ridley Creek State Park July 26 Chestnut Hill, PA @ The Mermaid Inn w/Hannah & Maggie

And Now for the Updates

People you've got the power over what we do You can sit there and wait Or you can pull us through Come along, sing the song You know you can't go wrong ~Jackson Browne, The Load Out

Sunday night saw Black Horse Motel playing at the North Star Bar. It was a shorter set than we're used to playing so we had to trim down the list a bit, and looking at the other bands on the lineup we went with the loudest, foot stompiest, sing-alongiest songs we had. And here's the thing. The audience was AMAZING.

Dear Audience,


Seriously though, the stage was shaking from audience participation. I wanted to personally invite every member of that audience to every show from now on, and I did.

Also, let's get some birthday love on. Sunday night was dear fan and friend and overall supporter of Black Horse Motel, Jordyn's, birthday.

A charming picture of Desiree with a poorly photo-shopped party hat.And for those of you not intimately familiar with our facebook page, Tuesday was Cello and Vocal Extroirdenaire, Desiree's, birthday.

Are you still reading? Wanna help us out with a quick questionaire? The lineup from Sunday's show turned out to be amazing, and it's not necessarily a bill we would have thought to put together. Go North Star Bar! Still, maybe you could help us to design better shows for you, the people for whom we do this...

Thanks, Galen

Tetris - Black Horse Motel Edition(& June 15th venue change)

First some business. Our June 15th show at the TLA has been moved to the North Star Bar. Same Black Horse Day, same Black Horse lineup... just a much more intimate venue. Come on down, get up front, shake your money maker. Unless your money maker is particularly lewd, in which case, shake something that is more appropriate. New info: June 15th // North Star Bar // 21+ // tickets here - $15 Lineup: Black Horse Motel // Onward, Etc. // Skinny Lister

For the rest of this blog post you're going to need to choose one of three soundtracks. I'm a fan of Choice C, but I understand if it's a little too hardcore for you. Choice A Choice B Choice C

Music chosen? Let's go!

Tetris in Clown Cars Let's talk travel arrangements. Black Horse Motel is not a tiny outfit. Granted, we're certainly no Polyphonic Spree, but 5 members can equate to an unusual amount of gear. Especially when you start to consider what instruments we play. We've got Megan, rocking a full drum kit. This isn't some paired down jazz kit, and it's certainly no marching snare. This is a rock band stage kit. It takes up some serious space. Desiree plays a cello. For those who don't know, it's like a violin, only enormous. (The upright bass is like a viola only enormous, thank heavens we don't have one of those... yet.) Now Ryann is at least nice enough to keep her kit small. A fiddle we can fit around other instruments in the cars. (Cars, plural, we'll get back to that.) Dave, banjo, that's not bad. Oh right, plus a guitar, plus a mandolin. Now myself, I try to keep things small and compact, you know looking out for the band, just an electric guitar, and acoustic guitar, a pedal board, maybe a square-neck resonator once I get the pickup installed, maybe the round-neck resonator for finger picking... You know, small footprint. Then of course there's the real space takers. I am of course talking about the melodica and the bells. If we throw in a harmonica, a fife, a penny whistle, a slide whistle or a kazoo, we're never going to get everything in there.

Right, the cars. You may have seen movies where bands travel around in a piece of specialized band equipment called a "van." Here at the Black Horse Motel stables we like to define "van" as any group of cars whose owners are foolhardy enough to allow us to use them to transport equipment. It's a good working definition and we really love our "van." Also, I don't know if you've ever had an intimate relationship with a cello, but the person in the backseat of our van certainly has. All I have to say is Desiree is one lucky lady to get so much time with that most sensitive and yet fun-loving instrument, the cello. Aw shucks, now my guitars are getting all jealous.


Show this Friday & Photo Contest

Do you like prizes? I sure as hell do. I mean, who doesn't like prizes, right?Well, Black Horse Motel is currently holding a live photo competition..and we're giving away prizes!

Now, of course, to win you have to come to our shows...but we know you're coming anyway, so just make sure you don't forget take snap some pics, post, and tag!

Our next show is this Friday! Friday, May 9 Hard Rock Cafe Philly 8pm, $10, 18+ buy tickets here!

Lineup: The Band of Rivals A Fistful of Sugar Black Horse Motel

"What kind of prizes can I win?", you ask?

1st place - signed LP, signed EP, and t-shirt 2nd place - signed LP, and t-shirt 3rd place - signed LP

So, for a chance to win, come out to the show on Friday at Hard Rock Cafe. And remember to tag us in the photo/video, or else we'll never know you are an artistic genius.

Bye! David photo contest


Hey Horseheads, I want to recruit you!"Huh?" Well as you know, Black Horse Motel has a strong presence in the Philadelphia folk scene, but we would like to spread our folky vibes all throughout the land and across the interwebs. So we are calling on our street team of fans to become our media representatives, photographers, and cinematographers! Starting RIGHT NOW OMG!!!!!, Black Horse Motel will be holding the first ever... photo contest Here is how it works:

  1. Come to our shows take pictures of us playing, drinking, undressing, etc.
  2. Post it and tag us on:
  3. At the end of July, an inexperienced panel of photography amateurs (us) will pick a first, second, and third place winner!

... Oh yeah and there are prizes!

1st place - signed full length album, EP, t-shirt 2nd place - signed full length album and a t-shirt 3rd place - made fun of by the other winners!... And a signed album!

Our next show is the Philadelphia Folk Festival Showcase, this Saturday, April 19th at the North Star Bar. Be there with your fancy camera phones in hand! We are all excited to see what comes our way!

Saturday, April 19 North Star Bar 2639 Poplar Street, Philadelphia, PA 9:00 pm $8.00 - $10.00 TICKETS HERE 21+

Lineup: Sidney Joseph and The Organic Reverb SONOMA SOUND The Brummy Brothers Black Horse Motel

Your Favorite Philly Banjo Player, David

Gearing up for a busy and awesome summer!

We are revved and ready and gearing up for a spring and summer full of amazing shows! One of the most important shows is coming up this Saturday, April 19th. Philly Folk Festival Showcase at The North Star Bar A handful of bands (including us!) have been handpicked to showcase for a spot on the 2014 Philly Folk Fest lineup! A panel of judges will be on hand to evaluate our music and performance, and decide if we are the right fit for the Folk Fest. Playing the Philly Folk Fest has been a big goal for us and we could really use your support on this one! So, to give you a little incentive, we're giving you a free download! You can get it over here, or you can scan this fancy pants QR code that Meg made!
Saturday, April 19 North Star Bar 2639 Poplar Street, Philadelphia, PA 9:00 pm $8.00 - $10.00 TICKETS HERE 21+

Lineup: Sidney Joseph and The Organic Reverb SONOMA SOUND The Brummy Brothers Black Horse Motel

We've also got some other neat things brewing. This past weekend we had a photo shoot with the lovely and talented Michael and Nicole Batchelor (and their son Jonah with a keen eye) from Kettle Pot Tracks! (They're the great people who did our On The Hill session last year). So, stay tuned to see how those turned out!

And did you hear? Black Horse Motel will be playing this year's Musikfest! So many exciting things to come!

Stay tuned and don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - and to really not miss a beat, sign up for our email list!

Next time will be a tasty recipe from my "Strap on the Feedbag" series. - Desiree

Megan's SXSW diary

I can't think of a cute intro: I was at SXSW this year for the first time and now I'm going to tell you about it. The band wasn't playing, unfortunately, but I went out there with some friends to see what this tiny hole-in-the-wall music festival is all about. Oh's huge. Basically, the entire city of Austin becomes a playground. That sounds like it could be a disaster (save for the one drunk driver who injured and killed several people), but I was stunned to see that, overall, it's not. For those who hate reading sentences, here is a quick list of highlights from my trip:

Bands: The Joy Formidable The Colourist Prides Aloe Blacc Neat things: The shows at Cedar Street Courtyard made cool use of GoPros and had every drummer wearing one, with the video projected on a screen behind the band. Lots of female musicians! Sisterfriends! Food/Drink: BBQ & food trucks in general Green Mesquite BBQ (chili cheese fries!!!) Chi’Lantro - Korean-Mexican fusion truck 512 Brewing Co beers

General facts, thoughts & observations: ♞ The majority of the shows I saw were free day shows. Night shows catered heavily to festival badge holders and we didn't have those. ♞ We never waited in line for more than an hour. Win! When the line was too long, next! ♞ Every venue I visited, no matter the size, had fantastic sound systems and front of house engineers. ♞ Every band was good. Even if I didn't like their music, they were top notch at what they did. ♞ People were friendly, nice and generally well-behaved. As a Philadelphia resident, this was noticeable. (I love Philly) ♞ I didn’t see many alternative or acoustic instruments. Most of the bands I saw employed electric guitar/bass/drums/keys. I don't know why. Is that the trend this year? Maybe. I suppose there is quite a lot of dance pop happening now. Come to think of it, there were so many acoustic guitars and banjos at LAST YEAR'S Grammys, perhaps wooden, acoustic instruments have already jumped the shark. Please let us know if this is the case and we will promptly not give a hoot. ♞ Austin is bigger than I thought. I kept wanting it to be smaller (area-wise) than Philadelphia because I'm an east coast elitist jerk, but it's not. I made some shoe mistakes. ♞ Austin is not flat. Also, somehow, everything is uphill. ♞ Austin is a pretty awesome town. I'd like to visit it on an average day.

Ok, now for the true meat and potatoes of a travel diary - a day by day breakdown!

Day 1: Finagled our way into the RocketFuel party at Clive Bar. It was PACKED, raining, and half the bar was outside. Luckily, they were serving free local craft beers - 512 Brewery - to dull the pain. Delicious. Also had my first Lone Star. Tastes like PBR. Oh, it's made by Pabst. The Colourist was playing as we entered and we missed the first few songs getting settled in. Great set. I was so excited to see a female drummer in real life. I was transfixed. She takes the taco - great drummer and singer. The band was tight and the songs are catchy as hell. After their set and a few beers, I ran into Maya, the drummer, in the crowd. I said dumb words like "you're awesome" and "I play too" and likened seeing her to seeing a unicorn. Sigh...I'm way less charming than I think I am when I've been drinking. The Joy Formidable took the stage. Admittedly, I didn't know a lot of their stuff, but WOW, what performers! So much energy, so happy to be there, such a huge sound for only three people. Infectious. Go see them. Stuffed our faces with burritos from Chi’Lantro food truck. err. mer. gerd.

Day 2: Walked almost 3 miles to downtown Austin from our rented house. Worst.Idea.Ever! Tried to go to Game of Thrones exhibit but the line was forever in the sun on the hottest day. Many sad feelings. A friend got us day passes to the Interactive trade show. There was air conditioning and free beer. We saw several cool things, but the highlight was a Japanese app called LogLog. Yes, friends, it's a poop diary app. And in true Japanese fashion, it came complete with a turd mascot that was somehow adorable. One of the guys was also wearing a plush version on his head. It's only available in Japan, but they promised a US release soon. I'm not saying I won't keep an eye out for it. We ended the evening with a dip in the Barton Springs Pool, followed by fire pit, and local Adelbert's beer.

Day 3: The roughest day Warning: Megan meltdown commencing We finally figured out the bus is the way to get around. But it was too late. Our legs and feet hurt so much that I was on the verge of Hulk SMASH all day. Stood in line for ~45mins for Taco Bell Hype Hotel and saw some bands. Free beer - new Miller Fortune, which is essentially high ABV High Life. I put a few away. I can smell the alleged free Taco Bell, but don't see any. Leg pain, plus oops drunk, plus unattainable free food = I am the worst person. For the rest of the day, I am varying degrees of Negative Nancy. Sorry to everyone who had to deal with me that day. On our way home, we hit Green Mesquite BBQ. There was sitting and there was beer. I began collecting myself. Chili cheese fries, JESUS GOD YES! Sooo good. Plus, some of the most tender, yet lean, pulled pork I've ever had. Total redeemer. Ended the night at Uncle Billy's Brewery for a couple beers brewed in-house. They closed at 12am. We got there at 11:45pm. The bartender let us stay until 1am and gave us excellent insider tips. People are nice here.

Day 4: My favorite day Caught Aloe Blacc. Quite good. Headed to Filter Magazine Cedar Street Showdown to see The Colourist again. Really great venue - it felt like a little oasis in the madness of SXSW. First up was Scottish band, Prides. Check these guys out. They were fantastic and I fell instantly in love. Saw The Colourist again. They killed it. Their album just came out last week. Buy it. (Fun fact - Both The Colourist and Prides were in Philly last week. I attended both shows and can't say enough good things!) GoPro cameras were everywhere on stage. They even strapped one to each drummer! I found this extra exciting since it's rare to see a show from the drummer's perspective. All the GoPro feeds alternated on the large screen behind the band. Really cool setup. Next, Hangar Bar for a rooftop show!!! But then realized it was a screamo band! We stayed for a few songs, but then left in search of food and a crowd in which we wouldn't be the oldest by 10 years. We ate an actual sit-down dinner at La Condesa. Go there if you're in Austin. Came home for fire pit, beer, s'mores, and talks about the meaning of life.

Day 5: Lack of sleep and abundance of beer caught up with us - late start. Went to Maria's Taco Xpress for breakfast tacos. Line was too long for Windish Agency party, so we went to Cheer Up Charlie's instead. Bands in the back and beers the courtyard. Spotify house and Pandora Discovery Den also had forever lines, so went to Easy Tiger for beers outside. Went to Chuy's, where GW Bush's twin daughters were caught drinking underage. We made a lot of "underage Bush" jokes. Didn't get to see a ton of bands, but had fun exploring more of Austin.

Day 6: Rain. Tried to go to Rachael Ray's Feedback party but the line was insane. The first people lined up at 3am. Apparently this one is a big deal, but we had no idea. I couldn't justify spending my last day there waiting in line for hours in the rain. Bummer, Blondie was there. Went to the Swan Dive and saw Tumbleweed Wanderers and Holy Esque. Snuck into the VIP area at Empire Garage to see Dum Dum Girls. Win! Lost at attempts to get into a few other venues, so went to the Handlebar for beers. Then it was back to Cedar Street Courtyard for Royal Blood. Bed early to get up at 5am and head home.

THE END! (pictures below!)


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On the Importance of Names

sign from the black horse motelToday I'd like to talk a little about our great and noble namesake, the motel. (Full disclosure here, what follows would not pass as research in my classroom. I'm only going to cite one source, and it's Wikipedia. But you're a music lover so I'm hoping you'll forgive me.) Motel, a word coined in 1925 to combine the words motor and hotel were designed to provide lodging for travelers near the main highway routes and have basically been in decline since they peaked in the 1960s. What changed you ask? Major chain hotels started muscling in! Damn those comfortable hotels and their cheerful front desk workers. Motels were typically operated as independent businesses, in contrast to today's hotels, almost entirely operated as part of a chain. horse image Crap, motels aren't all that noble, here's something about horses. Horses were brought to the United States and though symbolically synonymous with the frontier of the New World are in no way a native species. A study recently showed that horses prefer classical music and country music over rock and jazz, but the reason for conducting the study is still largely unimportant to me.

Ok, we'll try the color black...


Strap on the Feedbag - Chocolate Cream Cheese Cherry Pie Brownies

Hay Horseheads - I don't know if it's this nasty winter that has me in the baking mood or if I'm just enjoying a challenge, but I decided to up my game for this round of the feedbag. I have also been having a serious hankering for chocolate and I know my bandmates don't mind when that happens, because it means they will also be eating chocolate. I also had a cold and when I have a cold, I want to eat everything and suddenly had a strange craving for cherry pie filling. So here are the results of lots of yummy things combined:

So, the verdict from the gang? - Well, Meg, and Cat, Chris and Rick of the extended BHM family thought they were awesome!

And as always, I leave you with all the info for our upcoming shows because I want to see your lovely face there!!

March 7th - Booth & Saddle (buy tickets here) April 19th - Northstar - Philadelphia Folk Fest Co-Op Showcase (buy tickets here) May 9th - Hard Rock Philly (Tickets TBA)


Homeys at Heart

Good news! Black Horse Motel is eligible to be nominated for WSTW's Homey award! For those of you who don't know, WSTW is Delaware's best radio station and you can tune in and listen to them on 93.7 FM. They are the best because they make a huge effort to support local acts from the Delaware Valley. Right now, WSTW is holding their annual Homey Awards. This is their awards show for the best of the local music scene from the past year!You can see a list of categories and who's eligible here.

We are eligible for a bunch of categories including album of the year, best song of the year - The Apology, and best artist! However, to take home a win in any of these categories we need your help! Here's what you need to do:

  1. Open up your email and write to, the subject should be Homey Awards Nominee Picks
  2. Nominate us! You can nominate us for anything on the list, but I recommend Album of the Year Black Horse Motel - Red Summer Spirit, Song of the Year Black Horse Motel - The Apology, and Artist of the Year Black Horse Motel. (If you're feeling a bit lazy you can just copy and paste this ^ in your email) You can vote for up to five nominees in any/all categories. See a full list of guidelines and rules here.
  3. Hit send, duh! And that's it!

Well thanks for all the support everyone, we really do love our fans. If you're jonesing to come hang out with us and love us back, we'll be playing at Boot & Saddle in South Philly on the 7th of March. So get your tickets here, and come sing, stomp, and booze it up with us at Boot and Saddle!

- David

Homies figurines