Whether you consider their style psychedelic rock or straight up Americana, you’re bound to find something in their songs to connect with. And that’s no accident.
“Whenever I’m writing lyrics, I’m trying to figure out the best way to relate to people,” said Cameron Neal, vocalist and guitarist for the band.
That desire usually results in songs with spiritual meanings and metaphors grounded in nature. This is evident in pieces like “I am the Bear,” which starts out, “Well I am the bear, you are the tiger, and I will use my claws to protect her,” which is certainly evocative of nature scenes. And in the song “Little Dust,” the lyrics “Never trust a man who believes he’s stronger” have a definite spiritual feel to them.
Horse Thief’s videos mirror this imagery, especially the video for their song “Devil,” which features an often naked woman out in the woods, alternately walking through the trees and kneeling in the dirt. The band is also hanging out in the woods, sometimes buried in leaves and other times hiding in them like some strange kind of “Where’s Waldo” set in nature.
Neal said the videos are usually a collaborative effort. And with their upcoming album, which they finished last fall, they plan on making videos that are connected in some way.
“Not necessarily a storyline,” said Neal, “but videos that will relate to each other.”
Neal, who studied at The Academy of Contemporary Music in Oklahoma City, said that while all the members of the band have their “day jobs,” for him there’s never been a backup plan.
“I mean I started playing music when I was eight years old,” he said. “It’s one of those things that when you wake up in the morning, it’s the first thing you think about.”
He said that like any musicians, they’re just trying to make a living off what they’re doing. Musically, he thinks the band will keep evolving. He said they want to “keep the circular motion going, keep people engaged in the music.”
“I think we would like to try different styles,” he said. “We’d like to keep our listeners excited about what we’re doing.”
Recently, the band has been touring to promote their last album, “Fear in Bliss.” And they’ve been playing a lot with Elle King, whom Neal said they met at a festival.
“It’s been great,” he said. “She asked us to go out last fall, and both of our bands really get along together.”
The two groups recently played in Ohio at the Cleveland Masonic Auditorium, an old Freemason building. Neal said that has been one of his favorite shows to date.
“The actual theatre is absolutely beautiful,” he said. “That was probably our favorite show, but they’ve all been good so far.”
Horse Thief and Elle King will play together again this Thursday, Feb. 18 at The Waiting Room. But if you don’t already have a ticket, you’re out of luck. This one is a sold-out show.
Neal said that’s a big change from the first show they played here at The Waiting Room.
“It was the first venue we played on our first national tour,” he said. “I think there were about seven people there.”
With that stark contrast, it would seem Horse Thief is doing just fine making a living doing what they love, and that’s good news for the rest of us.