It’s not like “Neighbor,” the closing moment of Band of Horses’ 2010 album Infinite Arms, was a boisterous, plugged-in stomper. And yet, this new version — part of their forthcoming Acoustic at the Ryman, due on February 11, 2014 — finds a quieter place, a place of emotional stillness, that even the original couldn’t.
Ben Bridwell, prior to the release of Infinite Arms, had seen the lineup of Band of Horses turnstile through several incarnations, but as the personnel settled into something both reliable and comfortable, so did the music — which had an ever-growing sense of homey delicacy.
Fast forward to April 2013, and the Band of Horses’ two-night stand at one of country music’s signature music spaces in Nashville. “Neighbor” is stripped bare of all artiface, and new connections are made. Forget the noisy asides from 2012′s Mirage Road. Instead, you hear the oaken stoicism of the Eagles’ “Seven Bridges Road,” but with the soaring vocal intricacies of Crosby Stills and Nash’s “Déjà Vu.”
And yet, there’s also something else, beyond these surfacing influences: You hear a band that has become, in the intervening years, not just comfortable but now confident in itself, in its music — whether that means bloodying their knuckles, or softly tapping their steel-toed boots — and, lastly, in this song’s still-resonant call for the simple comforts of community.
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