Tommy And The Fallen Horses Open Their Hearts

Tommy And The Fallen Horses have returned with their second album Openhearts which launches tomorrow alongside a concert in Wellington tonight and Auckland on the 27th September. If you enjoy country music, hearing every element alongside relaxed and classic tones, then Tommy And the Fallen Horses’ new album is for you. We spoke with Tommy Benefield to find out more about the band and their new album.

How would you describe the style of Tommy & The Fallen Horses?
We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel or be hugely innovative, we’re simply writing the best songs we can and arranging the music to be as emotionally honest as possible. If this means we end up putting out music that sounds like it was made 40 or 50 years ago that’s fine with us. That’s when all the music that inspired us was made.

How did Tommy & The Fallen Horses form?
I used to play in this gypsy folk band and by the time that band (simply called TOMMY) put out its second record all the musicians had moved overseas. At that time I had a side project band playing indie rock and alternative country, so those musos toured my main band’s record. By the end of that tour we changed the name of the side project to Tommy and The Fallen Horses and that became my main band.

How long did it take to write and record Openhearts?
I write a song in about 10 minutes but then it takes about 10 years till it gets recorded and released. This time it took even longer because the band had a 5 year break 3 days after finishing the album. It has been sitting on a shelf while I’ve been raising a young family.

Is there a song on the album that you are particularly proud of or was difficult to write?
There’s a song on the album called Long Dark Blues it’s my favourite song on the record. It’s about someone looking back on a relationship that he left and seeing how he could have done a lot better, he could have given a lot more. That’s not my story, I’m someone who’s always stepped up as a partner and a father. But there’s something about that song that speaks to a truth in me and I can’t sing it or hear it without crying, you can hear my voice break on the final verse. The engineer out of kindness tried to swap to a different vocal take for those lines but I told him to keep it in, keep it honest.

What are you looking forward to in terms of the release?
We have gigs booked in Auckland and Wellington and for the first time ever our live show is completely leaving behind the reggae and funk of my first band and we’re playing just these beautiful mellow 70s singer songwriter songs. Performing that kind of melodic intimate music with this incredible 6 piece band is a dream come true.

Do you perform regularly?
When I was in my 20s I used to be off touring every weekend but not anymore. This is essentially our first true Fallen Horses gig in 6 years so you couldn’t really say we perform regularly. Now that my kids are little older however and we have this beautiful new record to promote, I’m hoping we’ll tour a lot more.

How do you think your music has evolved between your first album Isolation and your latest album Openhearts?
The first record was very much in the alt-country vain. Very kooky and lo fi and intentionally adding elements of grit and street noise to take away from how classic some of the songs were. On Openhearts we’ve done the opposite. We’ve intentionally added elements and layers that amplify or bring out the beauty and warmth of these melodies and words.

September 12, 2019 – Meow, Wellington (Tickets: Just The Ticket)
September 27, 2019 – Anthology, Auckland (Tickets: Under The Radar)
Openhearts album is available on September 13. To pre-order, head to iTunes

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