Record Review: Reuben Brock’s “400 Horses”

Editor’s Note: “Underground Nashville” covers artists, authors, musicians, poets, political figures, and other compelling people and happenings not typically covered by the mainstream Nashville media. It also presents reflections and commentary from an underground/indie perspective. As I told ‘The Tennessean’ in 2008, “since moving to Nashville twenty-five years ago, I have met people whose lives do not remotely reflect the caricature of what many outside our city presume to be a ‘Nashvillian’ or the Nashville experience.” “Underground Nashville” thus explores the soul of the city, not its surface—offering “thoughts from the shadows of a great American city.”

Dave Carew


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Record Review:  Reuben Brock’s 400 Horses

By Vince Gaetano

I’m at a loss for words. I mean that literally. I cannot find a word in the English language that means “more than talented.” I’ve been through my thesaurus six times already, and nothing seems suitable. “Adept?” Not nearly good enough. “Gifted?” Too obvious. “Cut out for?” First of all, that’s more than one word. I think that might be cheating. Second of all, it just doesn’t get across what I want to express. It doesn’t have the right feel, the right nuance, the right resonance. It doesn’t sound grandiose enough. I think I might have to borrow a word or two from the Italians; see if that helps.

Let’s see…

Rueben Brock is molto di talento.

Oh yeah, I like the sound of that.

And his molto di talento-ness should come as no surprise when you consider his background.

“Singing in church, at small town social events or with my family, I’ve been singing at a very early age,” says Mr. Brock. “There was some classical training on piano, but Grandma liked Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard and Grandpa played the fiddle at all of the local barn dances.”

Read that last paragraph and tell me it doesn’t sound like a country song.

“I started piano lessons when I was 5, and learned guitar a little later, which, like any good gateway, eventually lead to more serious stuff like playing in bands and writing and recording songs.”

His experience shows. Rueben Brock has the enviable ability to breathe new life into the stalest of country clichés. The title song off his album 400 Horses may be the best example. When I first read the title, I admit, I rolled my eyes. Country album + horses = song cowboys. I knew what I was in for, and wasn’t looking forward to it.

Well, wasn’t I surprised when the song turned out to be an ode to his first car? (In case the rhetorical nature of the question wasn’t entirely evident, the answer is yes. Yes I was surprised.) The 400 horses he was referring to was actually the horse-power of said vehicle. Neat.

If 400 Horses is any indication, I think Ruben Brock has a bright future ahead of him.

To see for yourself, just go to his website at and download a free mp3. Or see him live this summer on his “Stranger Things Tour.”

Vince Gaetano is an aspiring screenwriter and director who has written film and album reviews for ‘Shake! Magazine’ and ‘Underground Nashville.’ He graduated with honors from SUNY Oneonta with a major in video production.

David M. (Dave) Carew is editor of “Underground Nashville” and the author of the novels “Everything Means Nothing to Me: A Novel of Underground Nashville” and “Voice from the Gutter.” He also is a freelance book editor, publicist, and copywriter.

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