Biography


A longtime favorite of critics and fans, but a pigeonholer's nightmare, The Horse Flies blend Americana roots with indie rock, ethnic percussion, creative songwriting, and a fierce, percolating groove. With a love of both the traditional and the modern, The Flies have consistently explored the intersection of the two to create a musical world all their own. Part trance-inducing minimalism, achieved through a neo-primitive approach to fiddle music, and part folk-rock American gothic, achieved through emotive singing and haunting, original songs, The Flies’ music is recognized for its intensity, quirkiness, poetry, and skill.

The Horse Flies' most recent release, Until the Ocean, has received positive attention throughout the U.S. and internationally. Influential radio station KCRW, in Los Angeles, featured the album as a top new release and chose the song “14 Reasons” as a “Top Tune."



"The Horse Flies churn out swirling, addictive songs,
blending tradition with invention." -- Rolling Stone

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Critics have said:

“ ... a world without the Horse Flies' wholly unique music would be a much, much poorer place.”  (Melody Maker, London)

"The Horse Flies combine musical and lyrical quirkiness with beguiling wit and intelligence …  a melange of rock, folk, and minimalism … music that challenges the brain without sacrificing the groove."  (Chicago Tribune).

"Music of astonishing centrifugal force ... breathtakingly complex rhythms ... unexpectedly rich textures ... stunningly modern ... gravity and grace ... their ancient, yet modern sound and their easy, seemingly limitless energy make The Horse Flies special."  (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland). 

"The textures are a blend of the ancient and the ultra modern. Realism coexists with surrealism, and synthetics and acoustics are interwoven.  A record of dark brilliance."  (Melody Maker, London). 

"Demented, post-modern mountain music ..." (Village Voice, New York). 

"The Horse Flies have figured out how to hold a hoedown in a physics lab."  (New York Times)

"Brilliantly peculiar ... new music with gnarled and twisted roots." (The Boston Herald).   "Bewitching and beguiling ... a band for our trying times" (The Dallas Observer).


The Horse Flies' previous albums are: Gravity Dance (MCA), Human Fly (Rounder/MCA), In the Dance Tent (Live and Kicking), Two Traditions (Callin' the Kettle Black), Chokers and Flies (Rounder), Where the Rivers Flow North (film score, Alcazar Records), and A Stranger in the Kingdom (film score). They've also appeared on a number of compilation recordings. Both Human Fly and Gravity Dance reached the top 40 on the Gavin and CMJ charts, and Gravity Dance was nominated for a New York Award.

The band has been written about in many major publications such as Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe,The New Yorker, The Chicago Tribune, Musician Magazine, New Musical Express (London), Melody Maker (London) …

They have performed throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe at major venues such as the Central Park Summerstage (NYC, U.S.), WOMAD (Toronto, Canada), Big Beat Festival (Vienna, Austria), Vancouver Folk Festival (Vancouver, Canada),Winnipeg Folk Festival (Winnipeg, Canada), Birmingham City Stages (Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.), Independence Days (Berlin, Germany), Philadelphia Folk Festival (Philadelphia, PA, U.S.), Lake Eden Arts Festival (Black Mountain, NC), Tonder Festival (Denmark), the Telluride Festival (Telluride, CO), and RockyGrass (Lyons, CO).  They have also appeared numerous times on radio and television programs including MTV News, MTV’s Week in Rock, Prairie Home Companion, E-Town, Mountain Stage, The Entertainers, and many more.

Flies' Judy Hyman and Richie Stearns have toured extensively and recorded in pop singer Natalie Merchant's band, appearing on her albums, The House Carpenter's Daughter and Leave Your Sleep. The House Carpenter's lead cut, "Sally Ann", is a song by Flies' Jeff Claus, which Merchant’s band performed on Late Night with David Letterman and which also appears on Merchant’s Retrospective album.

In addition, Judy, Richie, and Jeff have taught their respective instruments at numerous schools, camps, and festivals.

The Horse Flies are:  Judy Hyman (violin, vocals), Jeff Claus (guitar, banjo uke, vocals), Richie Stearns (banjo, vocals), Taki Masuko (percussion), Jay Olsa (bass) and Rick Hansen (accordion, Moog, organ).

Contact The Horse Flies: info@thehorseflies.com

Click here for a bio by Craig Harris of the All Music Guide.

Click here for the Wikipedia entry

The late John Hayward, our good friend and former bass player, will always be in our hearts.