Sleepy Horses
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Sleepy Horses

Band Alternative Country


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"Desert Folk"

Desert folk
Sleepy Horses brings the music of empty spaces to Georgia’s alt-rock scene | Andy Stokes

Many family reunions center on greasy, fried food and relatives you’re not sure you know but greet with open arms nonetheless. This is pretty much what you’d see at one of Nic Goodson’s family reunions in Lubbock, Texas, save for the addition of one more element: a legendary, nationally renowned old-time country band providing the day’s musical entertainment.

“We’d show up and we’d eat like normal family reunions, and then all of a sudden, the old uncles would start bringing their gear in, loading it into the end of the room,” says Goodson, the founder of country-rock group Sleepy Horses.

“One of my uncles was a badass fiddle player – a session player for a bunch of people – so he would basically get up there and take requests while everybody else was getting ready. Then all of a sudden the band would just kick in. They’d play for three or four hours, five hours, and then you’d just kinda decide, ‘Well, I gotta go home now,’ and they’d still be playing there when you leave.”

Goodson recalls with great fondness seeing and later participating in these family jams with his uncles’ band (The Red River Boys, a band which scored a long-ago hit with “Fraulein” and toured the country for upwards of 30 years). It was his first exposure to music as a lifestyle and years later, while still in high school, he’d follow his uncles’ precedent by taking his own bands out on the road. The road eventually reached Georgia.

Roots in Lubbock

Goodson grew up in and received his musical education in Lubbock, a cotton-industry town of about 200,000 people

in the northwest corner of Texas. It’s

the same town that gave us Buddy Holly, country guitar trio The Flatlanders, Delbert McClinton and Dixie Chick lead vocalist Natalie Maines. Roy Orbison was born just three hours east, in Vernon.

Despite this rich musical past, Goodson attests that the town has the classic plague: the talent is undeniably there, but opportunities and support are questionable.

“Lubbock has a good scene, but it’s

a real disjointed scene,” says Goodson. “It’s got a lot of great musical history, but it’s a harder town to be a musician in. There are some clubs there, maybe three or four, and only one of them encourages original music.”

Regardless, or perhaps because of his hometown’s stagnancy, Goodson got an early start, pulling two childhood buddies into a band after a moment of divine inspiration.

“One day we were listening to U2 or something and we just decided to start a band,” says Goodson. “I think we were 13 years old when we finally went over to one of the guys’ houses and started playing; then we just played all the damn time. It just clicked.”

By the time he was an upperclassman in high school, Goodson had a record deal and had seen enough of the inner workings of the music industry to fend for himself.

“I was, like, 15 years old and I’d have these older musicians give me a beer to calm my nerves,” says Goodson. “I got to see how things worked: I learned how to soundcheck and how to write setlists, how to get paid and how to book a tour, how not to get screwed. I was in a band recently and a guy – I can’t mention any names – was older than me. They had a record deal and he was just running it all wrong. I was like, ‘Man, I figured that out when I was 17.’”

Environmental influences

Fast-forward a few years and into Goodson’s college years – still in Lubbock at Texas Tech now – and he was still playing in a handful of bands. The sound of his own music had morphed, however. What he was playing in his teens – what today would be called – moved into something more spacious, open, environmentally affected and sparse.

“The main thing was just writing music that, I thought, just living out in Lubbock, it just sounded like where I was at: out in the middle of nowhere, out in the flatlands,” says Goodson. “I kinda call it West Texas desert folk, I guess. It’s supposed to sound like what it would be like to live out in the middle of nowhere.”

After one late-night show where he was sitting in with another group spilled over from the bar and into his apartment, Goodson would meet Brandi, his eventual wife and the first member of the present incarnation of Sleepy Horses.

“I heard somebody playing my guitar and I wondered who it was,” says Goodson. “I was actually getting kind of pissed because I thought some random dude was gonna be in there playing Dave Matthews Band.

“We sat there all night playing guitar until it was almost sunrise, then the next day we got together and played guitar and hung out, dated and dated, and all of a sudden, we’re married.”

Pulling up stakes

The seeds of Goodson’s move were being planted just as he was unknowingly assembling the members of his own band. Through college, he played guitar as a sideman in Heath Tolleson’s Orange County Band. In school, Goo - Augusta Metrospirit

"Editor's Pick"

Sleepy Horses is a project birthed in Texas that relocated to Athens in late 2004. Playing in various bands as a teen, core songwriter/ multi-instrumentalist Nic Goodson was a fixture in the clubs that spurred Dallas' Deep Ellum community, a scene that had already produced bands like Reverend Horton Heat and The Buck Pets. Goodson was already steeped in country music; his great uncles performed as The Red River Boys, a country group that appeared on national radio programs. Goodson took his love of authentic, hardcore country with him into twangy cowpunk bands The Drowning Creek Boys and The Stuckups. Before moving to Lubbock, TX, for college at 18, he'd already recorded for several Texas indie labels.

After a brief hiatus from music, the reenergized Goodson began assembling an album tentatively titled Last Ride of the Sleepy Horses with Colt Miller and Amanda Shires from fellow Lubbock band Thriftstore Cowboys. The recordings began in Miller's Lubbock living room and were finished up in Athens. The album, simply retitled Sleepy Horses, was released independently earlier this year. Like Sam Beam's Iron & Wine alter ego, Goodson specializes in dreamy, offbeat harmonies and unapologetically lonesome lyrics. An array of stringed instruments (banjo, mandolin and fiddle) reinforces Sleepy Horses' cozy, unhurried atmosphere.

It didn't take much time for Goodson to become busy as a local musician. Most recently he's done some considerable recording and performing with roots rocker Ken Will Morton and also appeared with the Thriftstore Cowboys during their recent string of Athens shows. Sleepy Horses is still his main gig, however, and those who gush over the goes-down-like-warm- milk sound of Iron & Wine, Josh Rouse and Wilco circa Being There and Summerteeth are well advised to give it a go. Tonight's show begins at 8:30 p.m.
-Michael Andrews - Flagpole Magazine

"Sleepy Horses in Macon"

Their songs remind me of a meld between Sixteen Deluxe and Yo La Tengo with a little Cowboys Junkies thrown in for good measure. Moody, atmospheric and droning are the adjectives that come to mind. Brandi's voice reminded me of Kim Deal's in its simplicity... - AMPED, Macon

"Get Out"

Intriguing, nascent alt-country trio from Athens, led by Texan Nic Goodson. At times, their plaintive dirges and acoustic ballads laced with atmospheric guitar skronk suggest an agrarian Wilco. - Connect Savannah

"Weekend Concert Guide (Editor's Picks)"

Sleepy Horses, as name denotes, mope by at a Cowboy Junkies and simple are the flavors of Sleepy Horses' creeping ballads, which slog along under the gravity of some meaningful lyrical lines. - Metro Spirit- Augusta, GA


"Somewhere Out West Lonesome For You" --2006

Sleepy Horses EP- heard on HOT 100.7 FM (Athens, GA), 88.1 (Lubbock, TX), 90.5 (Athens),88.7 (Fort Worth, TX)



Nic Goodson got his start in music as a child. At family reunions, his great uncles would pull out vintage equipment including bass, guitar, keys, drums, fiddle, and steel guitar and play country music for hours. In their younger days, Nic's great uncles had been "The Red River Boys", a group whose legacy includes charting a number one hit with their song "Fraulein", as well as countless tours across the U.S. with acts like Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe, and The Stanley Bros. At an early age, Nic joined his uncles on stage to fill in guitar and vocals.....the sounds of old country were his first love. Throughout Nic's teens, he played in several successful cow-punk bands and managed to release a few records on a few labels and tour the country. As his punk days came to an end, he headed to Lubbock, TX for college....only to get back into music. While in Lubbock, Nic played guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bass in several different bands....ending up with Heath Tolleson in his Orange Co. Band. With Heath, Nic once again toured the country and got the opportunity to meet and play with several heroes including Billy Joe Shaver, Gary P. Nunn, Mike Watt, and Mike Ness. Lubbock also brought together Nic and Brandi Goodson.....they met one night after a snowstorm, played guitar until morning, fell in love around Valentine's Day, and were married a few years later. Brandi had always been a music lover and had been playing and writing as well....she is also a successful graphic artist and photographer. The seeds of Sleepy Horses were planted in 2004, the Goodsons moved to Athens, GA. In Athens, the duo performed steadily for several months with a revolving cast of musicians until settling on their current lineup featuring Jim Wilson (Mother Jackson, Don Chambers + GOAT) on percussion, Kyle Harris on rythm guitar, and Matt Stoessel (South San Gabriel Songs, Don Chambers + GOAT, Ginger Envelope) on steel guitar. With this lineup in place, Sleepy Horses has toured throughout the East and has made a point to tour through their home in the Southwest. Sleepy Horses is a growing phenomenon... they are neither country nor indie rock....they fall somewhere between, and are able to hold their own in the toughest of Texas' dancehalls and in the most discerning rock venues in America....they are as puzzling as they are brilliant and their music will surely transport you to another place out lost in the plains looking for answers......The Sleepy Horses's have recently released there debut album, "Somewhere Out West Lonesome For You". The record blends the rugged pain of old school country and the unhinged side of indie rock...with fiddle, steel guitar, accordion, mandolin, haunting vocals, and atmospheric twang. All of this combined to make you feel the loneliness and desperation of the west texas desert on hot summer night.