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The Horse Flies |

A longtime favorite of fans and critics alike, The Horse Flies blend Americana roots with indie rock, ethnic percussion, poetic 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 are recognized for their intensity, integrity, musicianship, quirkiness, and creativity.

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

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The Horse Flies One-Sheet | Download

14 Reasons

Three Shoes

"Human Fly" at Telluride

The Horse Flies have recorded eight albums, two on MCA and two on Rounder Records; they’ve created and recorded full scores for two feature films; and their music has been used in a number of other films as well.  The band has been written about in many major publications, including 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), and Melody Maker (London), and they’ve performed throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe, including  at Central Park Summerstage (New York), the WOMAD Festival (Toronto, Canada), Big Beat Festival (Vienna, Austria), the Telluride Festival (Telluride, CO), Floydfest (Floyd, VA) 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), and RockyGrass (Lyons, CO).  They’ve also appeared numerous times on national radio and television programs including MTV News, MTV’s Week in Rock, Prairie Home Companion, E-Town, Mountain Stage, and The Entertainers (Canada).

Flies' Judy Hyman and Richie Stearns have toured and recorded extensively in pop singer Natalie Merchant's band, appearing on her albums, The House Carpenter's Daughter and Leave Your Sleep.  And, the lead song on The House Carpenter's Daughter, "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.

Critics have said:

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


“ ... 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).

"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)


“This veteran group from upstate New York has no doubt influenced the new generation of string bands getting most of the ink.  Perhaps their best studio album yet (Until the Ocean), in typical fashion they deliver always interesting, sometimes quirky, Roan Mountain Hilltoppers-meets-Talking Heads trance-like old-time musical grooves energized with the urgency, lyrically and sonically, of the best modern rock.” (Radio Free Americana)


 “Equal parts new weird America and global localism, The Horse Flies' Until the Ocean is not only the strongest local release of the year, but it is a serious contender for best album of the year from any region in any genre.  Compared to the sophomoric Soweto dabblings of ‘Vampire Weekend,’ the neo-pseudo-folk of CSNY-impersonators and the thin veneer of fusion so prevalent throughout the ‘world’ music scene, The Horse Flies stand as giants among dwarves.” (Ithaca Times)


“Man, this new CD (Until the Ocean) is the BEST you guys have ever done. Absolutely top-notch. ‘Build a House and Burn It Down,’ ‘Carnival Lips,’ you just can't pick a best cut. Nothing bad on this album. We're playing the crap out of it at WVTF. It has gotten instant phone and e-mail response. Thanks for sending this. We're gonna be playing this one continually for a long time.” (Music Director, WVTF, Roanoke, VA)


I just wanted to let you know the impact Until the Ocean has had here. I think at least 12 DJ's have played your CD. We are a station that’s format free. DJ's play what they wish. When I see so many DJ's play a CD, I know it's a strong release. I have you at #1 on my FMQB chart, #1 on my CMJ 30 chart, and at heavy spins on my Americana chart. It's a strong, diverse, even profound CD and I (we) thank you profusely for creating it and sending it our way. Keep it going please. And if you tour behind this one, here's hoping you make it to the Colorado Rockies. (Music Director, WDNK, Carbondale, CO)

Please check back soon for The Horse Flies's tour schedule.

Label Info

Pest Control
Jeff Claus

Publicity Info

Judy Hyman