The always haunting indie rock gone alt-country sounds of Band of Horses come under a microscope on the gentle ten-song collection Acoustic at the Ryman. Culled from entire sets recorded over a two-night stand at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium in the spring of 2013, the album boils down the performances into a compact presentation of their best moments. Glorious harmonies, acoustic piano, and twangy, woodsy guitars breathe new life into songs like "Older" and "No One's Gonna Love You." Though drummer Creighton Barrett is present for the dates, the drums are so understated (if played at all) that they fade into a far-off background, making more space for the lush tones of vocal and guitar interplay. With the same soft rock moods of America, the Eagles, Crosby, Stills & Nash, or American Beauty-era Grateful Dead, the decreased volume leaves the songs every bit as moody and ominous as their more electric studio versions, but far clearer. Even their relentlessly dark 2006 hit "The Funeral" takes on a particular gentleness and focus that was lost in the layers of reverb and tough rock dynamics of the original.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas