Since forming in the collegetown of Ithaca, NY, a long time ago, The Horse Flies have consistently explored an intersection of the old and new to create a musical world all their own. With a love of both the traditional and modern, they blend Americana roots with indie rock, ethnic percussion, creative songwriting, and a fierce, percolating groove. 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 has often been recognized for its intensity, quirkiness, poetry, and skill.
Critics have written:
"The Horse Flies churn out swirling, addictive songs, blending tradition with invention... A band that's earned a buzz." ~Rolling Stone
"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
"The Horse Flies have figured out how to hold a hoedown in a physics lab." ~Jon Pareles, New York Times
"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
"Demented, post-modern mountain music ..." ~Village Voice, New York
"Brilliantly peculiar ... new music with gnarled and twisted roots." ~The Boston Herald
For more quotes, you may go here...
The Horse Flies' albums are: Until the Ocean (Pest Control), 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 Flies have performed throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including at such events and venues as Central Park Summerstage (New York), the BAM Next Wave Festival (Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York), CBGB's (New York), WOMAD Festival (Toronto, Canada), Big Beat Festival (Vienna, Austria), the Telluride Festival (Telluride, CO), Independence Days (Berlin, Germany), Smithsonian Festival of American Folk Life (Washington, DC), Lotus World Music and Arts Festival (Bloomington, IN), Festival International de Louisiane (Lafeyette, LA), Philadelphia Folk Festival (Philadelphia, PA), Festival of American Fiddle Tunes (Port Townsend, WA), Vancouver Folk Festival (Vancouver, Canada), Winnipeg Folk Festival (Winnipeg, Canada), Clearwater Festival (Croton, New York), Floydfest (Floyd, VA), Falcon Ridge Folk Festival (Hillsdale, NY), Birmingham City Stages (Birmingham, AL), Rhythm and Roots Festival (Cranston, RI), Lake Eden Arts Festival (Black Mountain, NC), Tonder Festival (Denmark), Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance (Trumansburg, NY), and RockyGrass (Lyons, CO). They have also appeared on a number of national radio and television programs including MTV News, MTV’s Week in Rock, Prairie Home Companion, E-Town, Mountain Stage, The Entertainers, and others.
Flies Judy Hyman and Richie Stearns have toured 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 is included on Merchant’s Retrospective album.
In addition, Judy, Richie, Taki, and Jeff have taught their respective instruments at numerous schools, camps, and festivals.
The Horse Flies are: Judy Hyman (violin, vocals), Richie Stearns (banjo, vocals), Jeff Claus (guitar, banjo uke, vocals) Taki Masuko (percussion), Jay Olsa (bass) and Rick Hansen (accordion, Moog, organ).
Click here for a bio at the All Music Guide
Click here for the Flies' Wikipedia entry