16 Horsepower – OG Gothic Americana

16 Horsepower was an American Gothic Americana music group based in Denver, Colorado. Their music often invoked religious imagery dealing with conflict, redemption, punishment, and guilt through David Eugene Edwards‘ lyrics and the heavy use of traditional bluegrass, gospel, and Appalachian instrumentation cross-bred with rock. For the bulk of its career, the band consisted of Edwards, Jean-Yves Tola, and Pascal Humbert, the latter two formerly of the French band Passion Fodder. After releasing four studio albums and touring extensively, the group broke up in 2005.
16 Horsepower - Gothic Americana   Edwards’ grandfather was a Nazarene preacher and young Edwards often went along as his elder preached the gospel to various peoples. This experience colored his approach to songwriting as well as the instrumentation employed to develop the band’s unique sound. On several tracks over the course of the band’s career, Edwards evoked decisive Christian imagery, particularly that of the redemptive capacity of Jesus Christ. 16 Horsepower are among the Denver-based bands credited for laying the foundation for what today has become known as Gothic Americana.
   As to 16 Horsepower’s breakup, a message on the band’s website stated the members attribute the group’s demise to “an accumulation of differences, mostly political and spiritual (that) separates us today and prevents us from honestly going any further.” The message notes that “we will remain active as Lilium and Woven Hand, the side projects of bassist Pascal Humbert and drummer Jean-Yves Tola, and frontman David Eugene Edwards, respectively.
   In a more recent interview, Jean-Yves Tola hints that the breakup was in part attributable to a disagreement over Edwards’ increasing reliance on religious content in 16 Horsepower songs. Edwards, the grandson of a Nazarene preacher, has long used harrowing religious imagery in the lyrics he writes for 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand.

Western Goth album