Back to the Barn

Band of Horses bid Seattle farewell.

A weekly distillation of musical goings-on, local and otherwise.

From now on, perhaps this space should be strictly reserved for which musician or scenester is leaving Seattle next. This week marks one of the more gargantuan losses for our city. Following this weekend's two-night run at the Showbox, Band of Horses—arguably the year's biggest local success story—are relocating to Charleston, S.C., the native state of lead singer Ben Bridwell.

"I've been talking about it for so long, it's just nice that I'm finally gonna do it," says Bridwell, who is literally packing his belongings as we speak on the phone. "It's to be with family mostly—our siblings are having kids now. And [drummer] Creighton [Barrett]'s family lives down there now, pretty close to mine, so it'll be good to be closer to them."

Even if your knowledge of Band of Horses is merely peripheral, you'd know Bridwell has Dixie coursing through his veins. Though he has called Seattle home since the late '90s, Bridwell has maintained his Southern demeanor, often donning grubby baseball caps onstage and saturating his music and banter with plenty of down-home twang. In interviews, he speaks often of his never-ending love of the South, and drops frequent references to Southern cities in his lyrics ("Drive back to Carolina/Down to Savannah and stay").

"The South has always been home," he told me last winter. "Even when we're on tour and we cross the Mason-Dixon [line], it just feels different. It feels like home."

But a lot has happened. The band went from local opening-act status to being smeared all over Pitchfork and The New York Times with rave reviews, then on to Europe and two tours of the U.S., Late Night With David Letterman, and MTV2's Subterranean. Not to mention their debut album, Everything All the Time, sold really well for a virtual unknown.

"We're at a good place right now to do this," says Bridwell. "We also really wanted to have a place to practice. The house we got down there is surrounded by a bunch of trees, and we don't have neighbors. We're down this dirt road. Plus, we're like five minutes from the beach. I haven't seen the inside of the house yet. I was there for a party once, but I was out in the backyard by the fire and didn't go inside. Creighton went inside, though, and he says it's nice, so I'll take his word for it."

This weekend's shows will be Band of Horses' final ones as Seattleites, and Bridwell recognizes the significance.

"We actually played a party at the Showbox last week [a Microsoft charity event], so it was good to be able to warm up to the room and get comfortable with the sound. So we'll hopefully have some good crowds, put on a good show, and leave a good taste in people's mouths before we go."

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