You take a smidgen of The Black Crowes, throw in a dash of Tom Petty, add a tablespoon of '70s Southern rock, and frame it in a current country context, and you have A Thousand Horses, a new four-man band whose debut single, "Smoke," continues to charge up the Country Airplay chart, currently sitting at No. 22.
According to the band's Michael Hobby, seeing all the career firsts is something he -- nor his bandmates -- will ever forget.
"It's very exciting to witness everything going on," he says. "Sometimes, you just can't believe everything that is going on. It's been an amazing ride so far, for sure."
Hobby and Bill Satcher hail from Georgia, with Zach Brown and Graham DeLoach being natives of South Carolina, but each has been living in the Nashville area for close to a decade now. Hobby says their musical sound is definitely a product of their upbringings.
"I think everybody hears things differently and has their own opinion about things, but growing up in the Southern-rock realm with Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Marshall Tucker Band, as well as Tom Petty and the Black Crowes, I think that's where a lot of our influences come from and that's what people hear, so they relate it to that." He says that's a comparison that he will gladly live with. "To me, that's one of the biggest compliments you can give. I'm honored and humbled by that, because I'm a big fan of those artists, for sure."
A Thousand Horses recorded "Smoke" at Zac Brown's studio in Nashville, which Hobby claims was another "pinch me" experience. "Being in the studio was nothing but great. Zac Brown's Southern Ground Studio in Nashville is such an incredible place to cut. We started it back in September and were there all month. It was an incredible experience to go in and make a real record. It was everything you could think of when it comes to making an album. I'll never forget it." Also making things great in the studio was that everyone was seemingly on the same musical page. "Obviously, you might have your disagreements, and everybody has opinions -- which is a natural part of the process -- but it was very enjoyable, to say the least."
Named by several media outlets as "Ones to Watch" for 2015, the band has also landed a spot on Darius Rucker's Southern Styletour later this year. "We start that tour May 14 and go through September. It will be Darius, us, Brett Eldredge and Brothers Osborne. We've known those guys for a long time and have played with Darius and his guys in the past. He's such a great guy. It's going to be a lot of fun. It will be our first real big summer tour, so we're very excited about it."
Before that, this week will definitely be one for the books, as the Republic Nashville band will be performing as part of Sports Illustrated's "Swimville" fan festival, going through Thursday in Nashville. The event will feature 2015 SI Swimsuit Issue models such as Hannah Davis, Chrissy Teigen, Lily Aldridge, Nina Agdal, Gigi Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski. "It will be a good time, I'm sure," Hobby said. "It's cool that they asked us to do it. We'll probably look around a little bit more than we might at your regular summer music festival."
The album will hit stores June 9 and is also available at iTunes for pre-order now. With an album purchase, fans can download four tracks instantly, including "Smoke." Hobby knows that four months sounds like a long time, but he says he expects it to be a blur. "It will be here before you know it, but at the same time, there is so much going on that you'll get caught up in everything. But June will be here very quick, and with the album coming out CMA Music Festival week, it's going to be a blast. We're just excited to be here, and to have people liking and accepting 'Smoke' is what you dream of. We just want to continue on and keep rocking!"