Beta Hi-fi Competition – Tomorrow night!

We snagged a last minute spot in this year’s Beta Hi-fi Emerging Music Festival competition at Wilmington’s World Cafe Live at the Queen! We need your support this Tuesday to help us advance to Friday’s finals!

Tuesday, August 26
World Cafe Live at the Queen
500 N Market Street, Wilmington, DE 19801
BHM on @ 10pm
FREE! All Ages!

Things to know about beta hi-fi:

  • 4 bands play each night from Monday 8/25 – Thursday 8/28
  • One winner is chosen each night
  • 4 winning artists return on Friday 8/29 for the final showdown
  • Winner gets tons of prizes – including press & studio time

Audience response and attendance count, so we are asking you to come on out!

We know it’s last minute, but it would mean a lot to us if we could see your faces and hear your voices!

If we win on Tuesday, we’ll be back on Friday for the finals. We’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Wilmington beta hi-fi website
Since its opening in 2011, World Cafe Live at the Queen in Delaware has continued the beta hi fi tradition started in Philadelphia eight years ago. The free week-long music festival held this year from August 25 – 29 features some of the region’s cream of the musical crop and provides a platform for the Wilmington area’s best emerging musicians and songwriters to be heard by local radio DJs like Mark Rogers, music bloggers like WXPN’s John Vettese, publications like Out and About Magazine, show promoters like Gable Music Ventures, label reps like Jade Tree’s Darren Walters and fans alike. Each year, 20 bands are selected from a batch of over 200 submissions and offered the opportunity to stand out among the rest by performing engaging original songs. A winning band is selected each night based on various judging criteria including showmanship, stage presence, professionalism, creativity, audience appeal, and ability to draw a crowd. These winners then progress to the finals held on August 29th to prove who’s got what it takes to win some tasty prize packages from Disc Makers, Rainbow Books and Music, the Dewey Beach Music Conference and way more. The Queen’s past beta hi fi winners include Lititz, PA’s The Districts, who have since gone on to grab loads of attention nationwide and get themselves signed to record label Fat Possum and Paradigm booking agency; they will be performing on WXPN’s Xponential Music Festival’s main stage this summer.

Hope to see you there!

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Summer Recap

Ok, clearly this summer was an amazing time for us. We played Musikfest, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and set a new personal record for shows per hour by playing three shows in under 28 hours (that’s 1/10th of a show per hour, for fraction lovers). We’ve also been putting together some new music for you and trying them out at shows along the way. More great music will be forthcoming. You’ll just have to wait for it.

Now I’d like to move on to a subject near and dear to all of us here at the Black Horse Motel stables…

♞   Boots!   ♞


If you’ve never experienced a boot, let me sum the concept up by saying its like your shoes fell in love with the legs of your pants. The entire band wears them and we’re oddly attuned to other people’s boot choices too.


And now for the in-depth BHM boot preference analysis you’ve always wanted:

Galen: I favor the browns in a square ended harness boot or a more rounded oxford toe. I also like a stitched welt. Glued on soles never seem to live up to my abuse.
Megan: Floats between oxford/wingtips in shades of brown and classic black. But she will always have a place in her heart for good ‘ol classic Dr. Marten’s.
Dave: Favors black as of late (it’s easier to find a Sharpie to fix marks) Recently switched to a pair of riding boots with a pointier toe. He still has a pair of no-socks busted up brown ones that you can sometimes catch on a warm weather Sunday
Des: Blacks and grays with laces. Heights vary. Des most likely owns the most boots in the band. If that’s not true, she’s done a good job of making them look new to me.
Ryann: Has lately been rocking a set of tan, slouchy, ankle cowboys. This will be our first band autumn with Ryann, so more boot research will be conducted. Findings to be published at a later time…or never.

Does this band love broguing? Why, yes! Stick some little holes in the tips of my boots and I’m in heaven.


Since my bulldog ate my Frye boots, I’m searching (see above…sigh)


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Philly Folk Fest Schedule – Friday 8/15

It’s almost here! We are nearly coming out of our skins with excitement about playing the 53rd Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival!
WXPN’s The Key named us one of 6 local artists not to miss at this year’s Fest!

Friday, August 15th

Lobby Stage – 4:45pm
This is our MAIN SET at the Folk Fest. 30 minutes. All killer, no filler. Don’t be late.
Our set is part of the Philadelphia Music Co-op Showcase from 2pm-6pm. Six great Philly-local bands. See you there!

Merch Tent – 6pm-6:20pm
Meet & Greet! Come say hello! Also, if you got one of the “golden ticket” stickers Ryann will be handing out, bring it here AT THIS TIME to redeem your prize.

Cultural Tent – 6:40pm
Backstage Sessions – A great way to celebrate the spirit of the Fest! Each act plays three songs, two with other artists in a “rolling review” format:
1. “Marguerita” with Rebecca Loebe
2. “Broken Crown” – a BRAND NEW Black Horse Motel song ***Hear it here first!***
3. “Angel from Montgomery” with SONiA of Disappear Fear

All of our musical endeavors are happening on Friday, but most of the band will be at the festival for the weekend. Come find us and we’ll trade stories and share a beer!

See you at the fest!
- Megan

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Waiting for Inspiration

This is a live blog of Galen’s listening to Andrew Bird’s Noble Beast album.

Side A first record in the record player…

Ah, whistling.

Fuzz guitar is simple, understated, and lovely. Not distortion, this is straight up fuzz. I’d love to figure that tone out. The little one is dancing occasionally.

Is this record skipping or is seriously experimental. MORE WHISTLING.

Short break here to red Max Drives Away… again.

This second track while having a certain Simon and Garfunkel quality to it’s overall sound really showcases Andrew Bird’s “wainwrightesque” voice. All apologies if Rufus is in fact Birdesque. I’m notoriously bad with timelines.

I’m not a huge fan of repeated claps as a prominent sound in the rhythm section.

Was that a fiddle slide or a theramin for a moment there?

The little one is pulling apart her play-mat and then putting it back together. She’s really into this game lately, but now the bulldog has tried to claim her space. Two destructive forces working together is frightening.

I really wish this track was a bit less produced, though the samba feel of it does make me want to get a cocktail and sit out under the stars. There’s that fuzz guitar again… Who’s playing? Oh, hello Google! Could be Andrew or Jeremy Ylvislaker. More research commencing after this new energy in the current song lets me go. I feel a little like dancing to it, which is something, because I don’t really like to dance all that much. The whole album feels like a Wes Anderson film. Hmmm… I need to get a Wes Anderson viewing party together. There will be costumes, decorations, etc.

This album feels very dated for having been released in 2009. It doesn’t feel like it’s 5 years old it feels like it’s 35 years old. Time to flip the album.

A brief interlude here. I frequently get into semi-heated arguments about vinyl in which I say, “I can’t hear the difference between vinyl and a lossless digital copy.” I stand by this argument. Generally speaking the difference I hear can be explained as the difference between speakers on different systems more than anything else. However, there is a great experience in the enjoyment of a vinyl record that there is not in the digital playlist. I have to actively engage with what I’m listening to. The side of the record is finished and I must get out of my seat, walk to the player, turn the record over (tactile sensations abound) move the needle and then see if I want to get back to what I was doing while listening. In contrast, the digital soundtrack has turned my entire life into a mall where the music I am most likely to enjoy is playing in a way that I am most likely to ignore. Ok, flip the damn album.

I really dig the immediate dive into an orchestral feel here. Now… yeah, I just read Max Drives Away, again. I like the violin on this track. I’m not sure which one it is, but it has a vaguely American Civil War Era feel. Gina just brought me a sheaf of handwritten font sheets. Gorgeous. We will frame them, for sure.

While I’m vaguely distracted, let me discuss the love of packaging. I’m a songwriter who puts primary importance on lyrics. I love all the space the record cover gives to show off an artist’s lyrics. For a while there when CDs were just getting their start, they frequently had thick booklets of lyrics. Now CDs seem to come only in tiny cardboard sleeves. Though the font of those books was already too small, it was at least something. Now as someone who has friends with talents in the visual arts, I’m all to aware that I have NONE. So the digital route is certainly easier for me, because coming up with any sort of album art is a nightmare of insecurity.

For the love of God, and your life, stop the god damned clapping. I know I’ve mentioned it already, but this album is way overproduced for my tastes. Okay, I think this song is called Nomenclature. I don’t think I’m making it through this album tonight. Bored. Just nothing there grabbing me. Nothing hateful, just, not snagging. Very well thought out tracks with great recording, way too much going on, and every track is starting to blend into the others.

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So Many Shows!

photo contest
Hey everyone! Just wanted to update our lovely fans on our upcoming shows this summer. We’ve been very busy this summer so you’ll have plenty of chances to come out to see us play! Also we are still running our photo competition, so bring yer cameras and take photos and video! See the rules to the photo competition over here ->

Some Upcoming Shows of Interest
July 12 Newtown Square, PA @ Burlap and Bean w/Joy Ike
July 25 Brooklyn, NY @ Union Hall w/Hannah & Maggie and Jus Post Bellum
July 26 Newtown Square, PA @ Colonial Plantation at Ridley Creek State Park
July 26 Chestnut Hill, PA @ The Mermaid Inn w/Hannah & Maggie

Aug 2nd Bethlehem, PA @ Music Fest Cafe

Philadelphia Folk Festival
Aug 15th Schwenksville, Pa @ Philadelphia Folk Festival Lobby Stage


Galen, Desiree, and I have all been busy writing new tunes! The band is currently working through three new songs. If you catch us any of our upcoming shows, there is a good chance you’ll be the first to hear them! So come out and see us play, and bring your cameras!

- David

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