Back in the day in Irmo SC, my dad would throw “stereo nights” for us little runts. I think the idea was to lull us off to sleep with music but it didn’t work: We’d keep the doors open and stay up as long as we could to soak it all in. If that was any part of the idea, then that part worked.

Those songs are in my DNA: I’ll be in an airport or a grocery store or whatever then the Commodores’ ‘Just to Be Close to You’ comes on and bam I’m 7 years old again and feeling all ‘That’s right, the Commodores are the baddest mama jamma’s ever.’” Wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, sooner or later I hear some music that puts me right back into those memories and all of a sudden it’s “stereo night” in the middle of a drive or a TV show or TSA line. Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Booker T. and the MG’s…

Ben with his family and father David.
Ben with his family and father David, left.

When I think back about my biggest musical moment of revelation as a kid that I owe to my dad, it kind of all started with the Rolling Stones, but not exactly—it was actually after seeing the Stones in concert, driving home with my folks and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” came on the radio. Hearing ‘Harvest Moon’ that night on the way home, late as balls, being like ‘I get Neil Young’… honestly there might have even been a moon out or something. That was one of those moments, you’re like, ‘Eureka. I get it. I get Neil Young’s voice, I get why my dad loves it.’”

“Now it’s my job to be the influencer for my kids.”

Now it’s my job to be the influencer for my kids. I cut my teeth for years making mix CDs for my dad—remember those?—but now that those have gone the way of the Dodo and I’ve got kids of my own, it’s a calling. I have to honor that crazy shared father-son musical obsession by passing it on to the next generation and, for better or worse, sending them out to twist other young minds the same way—but seriously to create memories that mean more than anything.


Band of Horses - Entire band with Ben's kids.

Leader of Band of Horses since 2004, Ben Bridwell is the married father of four young girls and learned to balance his responsibilities as a father and husband with writing songs in odd hours at his Charleston, South Carolina-area home resulting in the fifth full-length Band of Horses album, Why Are You OK now available everywhere.

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