Horse Thief Talks New Album Trials and Truths, Memories of Grateful Dead Music, and Enjoying the Little Things

Meredith Schneider

by Daniel Mudliar

On January 27th, Oklahoma five piece Horse Thief – comprised of Cameron Neal (vocals, guitars, keys), Cody Fowler (bass), Alberto Roubert (drums, percussion), Zach Zeller (organ, keys, guitar), and Alex Coleman (guitar, keys) – released their new album Trials and Truths via Bella Union. Below, check out the lead single off the work, a track titled “Another Youth”, and then get a little more familiar with the guys of Horse Thief through our interview with Cameron Neal.

What was the first song/album you remember hearing? Who introduced it to you?

I have a distinct memory of when I was really young, the day Jerry Garcia died. My dad had friends over in our house in South Carolina where I was born and played the Grateful Dead all night till early in the morning. Not only was this the first music I remember hearing, but also one of my first memories.

When did you decide to pursue music? Was there an “a-ha” moment for you?

Yes and no. I started playing music when I was in elementary school, playing the upright bass. I loved orchestra and the arrangements, overtime that turned into love for songwriting, by the time I was in high school I knew there was no going back.

What’s the origin story of Horse Thief? 

Horse Thief was started by Cody and I back in high school, we’ve gone through a couple of names, but has always in theory been the same band. The current line up with Zach Zeller, Alex Coleman and Alberto Roubert, feels more like Horse Thief than where we started.

“Another Youth” is such a catchy tune. What made you choose to utilize that as the first single this time around?

We knew it was going to be the opening song on the album and wanted to get people started on the right foot when listening. So when choosing singles it made since to release this first as a good taste for what else is on the record.

One of our favorite tracks on Trials & Truths is “Evil’s Rising”. What stirred that song into being? And do you believe that title reigns true in real life?

At the time when I was writing this, I didn’t really have a dark view on the world. I wrote it from a place of letting go, of knowing that when you hold onto love or grudges, it eats away at you. The best thing you can do with your past is analyze it and then move forward. But I think part of the song can resonate with what’s going on in America right now, a few songs on the record speak that way. I wasn’t trying to right political songs, but its hard to not feel like evil is rising up around us, especially in our government.

How do you think you have grown and shifted since 2014’s Fear in BlissWhat do you hope people feel after listening to Trials & Truths?

Mostly we have just grown as people, some of us are married, Cody has a kid now, these are things that just shift life to make you look at it a little differently. We know each other more now than we did when making Fear in Bliss, we write differently because we all know what each other are capable of. As far as the listener, we want the same thing on every record, for you to enjoy the music, maybe help them step away from the real world for a minute, to just spend time with the songs in the same way we did. It’s a record we made out of love and we hope people can see that.

Do you have a favorite song off the album?

Each song has a different meaning or story behind it for me. I really enjoy “Mountain Town” and “Million Dollars”, both those songs lyrically for me are easiest to recall the emotion I had when writing them.

Do you have a favorite song to perform – be it off the recent release or prior?

Changes every night, certain songs speak better in different rooms. Some crowds react differently too, having an audience feel along with you and everyone feeling that emotion together.

In honor of the month of love, do you have a go-to idea for date night?

Find out what she wants, then do what she wants and more.

What would your advice be to people who feel lost?

Keep going, that it’s okay to feel lost, cause in reality, we all are.
Try to remember to enjoy the little things, there’s so much beauty that we overlook everyday. Fall in love with more records and always look for something new.

How do you think living and working in Oklahoma effects your music, and the way you present yourself to the industry?

It gives us time to focus on our music cause the best thing to do in Oklahoma is make music. As far as the rest of the industry, I’m not sure location matters too much anymore due to the internet. I believe sometimes were more laid back about somethings and maybe that has something to do with growing up in the Midwest but for the most part.

What’s up next for you?

Writing and touring for the rest of the year.

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Keep up with Horse Thief here.

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