By Annie Reuter

It’s easy to see A Thousand Horses is a band of friends. When I caught up with the group at New York’s picturesque Bryant Park the day before they joined Darius Rucker on the road for his Southern Style Tour, the country-rock bandmates frequently finished each other’s sentences and were in good spirits joking around as we sat outside underneath the trees.

It was a day out of Joe Nichols‘ songbook, meaning it was “Sunny and 75″— perfect weather for a chat outside. Guitarist Zach Brown (no relation any members of the Zac Brown Band) was quick to say it was his favorite interview setting yet.

After the quartet finished their lunch at Bryant Park Grill, we found a spot far enough from the distraction of a pounding jackhammer on the south side of the park. It just so happened that we stumbled upon five green lawn chairs already set up in a circle for the interview.

Related: A Thousand Horses No. 1 Hit ‘Smoke’ Shows There’s Room for Southern Rock on Country Radio

With a backdrop of skyscrapers and people eating lunch on the great lawn in front of us, they settled into their chairs and shared their back story as a band, the impact Southern rock has had on them, and the songs that fill their debut album Southernality, which hits today (June 9). They even taught me a few ‘Southernisms’ along the way. (Let’s just say that if anyone ever says they’d “like to skin your hide,” you’ll want to get out of there pronto.)

A Thousand Horses are no strangers to the Nashville music scene, as they’ve been living in Music City for a decade now. But their roots go further back. Singer Michael Hobby and guitarist Bill Satcher first met and became fast friends in middle school in South Carolina. Satcher’s cousin, bassist Graham Deloach, would visit during the summers and jam with the guys. After they moved to Nashville, guitarist Zach Brown met the trio in 2010, and they locked in their Southern-influenced rock/country sound.

“We were just waiting to get the last horse in,” Deloach jokes. “We were looking for that fourth horseman. The four horsemen of the apocalypse.”

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