Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 75° Clear
News >  Features

Band makes good on Seattle indie roots

Band of Horses lands at The Knitting Factory on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Christopher Wilson (Photo courtesy of Christopher Wilson / The Spokesman-Review)
Band of Horses lands at The Knitting Factory on Wednesday. Photo courtesy of Christopher Wilson (Photo courtesy of Christopher Wilson / The Spokesman-Review)

Ben Bridwell has come a long way since his days with Carissa’s Wierd.

As a part of that Seattle indie band in the 1990s, Bridwell often appeared in Spokane playing eerily mournful orchestral rock to a handful of people at bars like The B-Side and Mootsy’s.

It was piano-and-violin-laden, tears-in-your-beers slow-rock that had deliberately limited appeal.

Now Bridwell is fronting a band that has worldwide fame and critical acclaim that spans far beyond the dark-corner watering holes around the Pacific Northwest.

After Carissa’s Wierd dissolved, Bridwell and co-founder Mat Brooke started Band of Horses, which played an opening set for Iron and Wine that caught the ear of Northwest indie-rock institution Sub Pop Records.

Soon after that, Band of Horses landed a spot on “Late Night with David Letterman.” Its 2006 debut full-length “Everything All the Time” was a favorite all over the blogosphere on the strength of the single “The Funeral,” a song drenched in cavernously reverbed vocals and swelling waves and crashing walls of melodic, melancholy guitars that have become BOH’s signature.

Paste Magazine called the album one of the 10 best of 2007, and music from it appeared on television programs such as “CSI,” “90210,” “One Tree Hill” and a Ford commercial.

Neither “The Funeral” nor “Everything All the Time” were flukes, but much changed with Band of Horses after “Everything.”

Brooke left the band, and the rest of the band left Seattle. While Brooke went on to start his own project, The Grand Archives (which also signed with Sub Pop), Bridwell and Band of Horses relocated to South Carolina before releasing a sophomore album, “Cease to Begin,” in 2007.

While “Cease to Begin” doesn’t have an instant win like “Funeral,” it did chart on Billboard and it expands on BOH’s mastered Northwest indie rock sound by adding Southernish qualities to sophisticated and sometimes subtly complex arrangements.

Fast forward to 2009 and Bridwell and company are regularly touring Europe and headlining major festivals around the globe while putting the finishing touches on a third album, which is being recorded at the renowned FAME Studios in Alabama.

Bridwell told Rolling Stone magazine he has more than 27 songs written for the album, originally slated for a 2008 release. Some have been performed onstage, such as a track called “Older,” on which he plays autoharp.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.