“A commanding presence on stage with their atmospheric country soul, all greatly enhanced by sultry ache and gentle twang….” Post To Wire
Sydney quintet Not Good With Horses are a band that has an innate understanding of how to explore atmosphere and soul in their music. They are also a group that has that rare ability to convey emotion and vulnerability as adroitly as they can whip up a beckoning stomp and sway on the dance-floor.
Over the last few years the band has become a mainstay on the Sydney alt-country scene, playing pubs, bars and bowling clubs whilst refining their cosmopolitan blend of traditional country, acoustic folk, soul, forlorn blues, gypsy jazz and bluegrass – more often than not filtered through a smoky, late-night mood. They fit perfectly under the banner of what has become popularised as the Americana sound – drawing from multiple stylistic sources to create their own distinct music.
Brielle Davis is the focal point of Not Good With Horses, an accomplished singer and songwriter who has honed her talent over a number of years singing a multitude of musical styles. You get the sense that country music is where her heart and soul truly resides, the conduit that connects her craft to her muse. She possesses a voice that draws you deep into the songs, via a desperate lover’s plea or a sensual paean to desire and/or regret. It’s the undeniable sound of lived experience and honest, and often raw, songwriting.
Davis’ songwriting partner in the band is Graeme Walshe (guitar, banjo) who gives the songs their detail and colour, whether it’s old-timey plucking or moody electric twang. Between the two of them, they’ve created a debut album of ten songs that re-sets the standard for modern Americana music in Australia.
The rest of the band have proven, both on stage and in the recording studio, to be essential players in creating Not Good With Horses’ sound. The shuffle and understated drumming of Neville Anderson, Daniel Babekuhl’s resonant and inventive guitar playing and Brendon Pace’s double bass pulse and heartbeat give the band range and versatility. It allows them to create a country noir, rock ’n’ roll mood, akin to Dylan’s band of recent years, and then change gears and transport the listener to last drinks in a lonely honky tonk bar or the wide open spaces of a blissed-out road trip.
Not Good With Horses recorded their debut album “Faultlines” with producer Brendan Gallagher (Karma County, Jimmy Little) and were honoured to have Bill Chambers duet on one of its standout tracks. The album expands the live sound the band have become known for; adding depth and intimacy to the songs and allowing the detail and textural qualities of their writing and playing to come to the fore. On album closer ‘Time Moves On’, Davis and band lament the loss of a lover with a devastating performance that pulls the listener deep into that lonely and affecting well of heartache, in a way that only the finest songwriters and musicians can achieve.