Bluesbunny (UK) about "Electric Gates of Heaven" 2009/11/30: In the weird and wonderful world of music, there walks a man with a banjo called Dad Horse Ottn. The path he walks heads towards righteousness and on this vinyl single he alters his step with the use of an electric guitar.
"Gates of Heaven" is no stranger to my ears but here the anguished electric guitar intertwines with those fractured vocals to further add to its oddball charm. Sure, it's all very minimalistic but in a way that Johnny Cash would have approved of.
"The Moonshiner" dances likes some gypsy polka making it more Balkans than Tennessee. It's an ode to drinking and clouds over the horizon and being the perennial loser in love (but there's always the drink in the end).
That takes us nicely into "I'm Not Here Anymore" which, powered by some rollicking fuzz guitar, bounces about the room like some acid powered throwback to Buck Owens.

These three songs are just about as far as you can get from corporate sensibilities and, let's be honest, they are none the worse for all that. Time for another whiskey!

Tostamística (PT) 2009/10/20: Era esta mais uma proposta do tão aclamado festival Fade In. Desta feita num Beat Club conchegante e harmonioso e principalmente, preenchido por calor humano.
Como habitual nas sinopses dos concertos do Fade In, a caracterização está perfeita! Vai daí que por mais que eu tente descrever este senhor, não o vou conseguir fazer com a qualidade do texto acima. Portanto resta-me avaliar a sua performance, e aquilo que interpretei do concerto.
O som de Dad Horse Ottn tem tudo para se tornar monótono, repetitivo, e até maçador, mas… há o seu genial carisma e sentido de humor que transformam por completo o concerto. As suas historias, as suas ‘paranóias', a interacção com o publico tornaram este concerto um dos mais interessantes que tive oportunidade de assistir.
Mas este concerto teve uma maravilhosa contribuição: o público. Não se fez de rogado e participou entusiasticamente nas mais diversas brincadeiras de The Dad Horse Experience. Riu, aplaudiu, cantou…
Na memória ficam momentos como Lord Must Fix My Soul.

La Depeche(FR) 2009/09/29: Lafox. The Dad Horse Experience a tenté de sauver les âmes des "braves gens" Rien de péjoratif dans les exhortations du Dad Horse Experience aux braves gens de Lafox. L'homme est un prêcheur qui invite répétitivement son public à se laisser guider par sa voix, son bandjo, son kazoo et sa basse à pédale à travers la nuit.
Un prêcheur, qui ayant lui-même beaucoup péché, peut d'ailleurs comprendre mieux que quiconque les errements des 70 et quelques âmes sœurs venues l'écouter malgré la pluie et le froid (le concert prévu en plein air au manoir de Prades a pu trouver un abri sec mais ouvert aux quatre vents) en ce samedi soir.
Un homme étrange aux messages parfois des plus bizarres comme il le reconnaît d'ailleurs lui-même, son spectacle et ses chansons étant truffés d'humour. Ainsi, s'il implore Dieu de lui "réparer son âme" (et par la même occasion de changer la "m… en or"), la liste de ses péchés est à la fois obscure et hilarante.
Il n'en demeure pas moins que Dad Horse Ottn, allemand qui chante en anglais le gospel country des Appalaches, est un homme des plus talentueux.

Sa musique, ses textes et sa présence scénique pendant les près de deux heures que dure son spectacle n'ont peut-être pas permis aux "good people of Lafox" de trouver le chemin de la rédemption, mais certainement en tout cas de passer une superbe soirée.

Americana-UK (UK) about "Too Close To Heaven" 2009/03/05: Primitive, crazed but surprisingly powerful spiritual blues: Dad Horse Ottn is the slightly touched, more primitive country cousin of David Eugene Edwards. He plays (using the word in its broadest sense) banjo and kazoo and sings twisted gothic country with something of a religious bent. But, and it's an important but, he has a sense of humour, evidenced on "Lord Must Fix My Soul", the third cousin of Warren Zevon's "Excitable Boy" and the laconic narrator of "Find My Body Down." Elsewhere the redemption of "Through the Hole" contrasts with his bleak take on "Were You There (When They Crucified my Lord"). Outsider music at its most extreme, this German band could teach its Americana musical cousins a thing or three about dark and dirty music.

Sepiachord (US) about "Too Close To Heaven" 2009/03/05: Dad Horse is one crazed German who manages to infuse songs of praise with the lowdown blues of T-Model Ford as played by some country/rock lunatic like Hasil Adkins or the Legendary Stardus Cowboy. "Too Close to Heaven" is strange territory indeed.
I love any album where the harmonica parts have been replaced by KAZOO. There may only be one, and this is it, so I love this CD.
Dad's take on singing the gospel is a trippy one. On the first track, "Through the Hole", he implores me to dig a hole through my soul so that I can have a "subway for my loving god". I have NO IDEA WHAT THIS MEANS, it sounds both spiritual and absolutely filthy. I approve.
How many other religious based singers toss off "motherfucker" occasionally? How many would write a song as oddly blood-thristy has "Lord Must Fix My Soul", where-in the narrator's list of sins is both icky and hilarious?
I know what you're thinking: The Great Johnny Cash wrote many a song of redemption and many a funny song. But Johanns songs didn't usually put both together, and even "Cocaine Blues" didn't get as weird and rough the work of Dad Horse.

Johnny Cash may have written prison songs, but Dad Horse writes death row songs.
Another great release from Devil's Ruin Records.

Bluesbunny (UK) about "Too Close To Heaven" 2009/02/02: In these days of the relentless pursuit of fame through music, you don't expect that the likes of The Dad Horse Experience would even exist. But they do and we should all be thankful for that.
The music is a quirky concoction. A kazoo is normally only found within the confines of the twee pop genre but it clearly has found a new home here providing a neat counterpoint to the simple banjo accompaniment and strained, almost tortured vocals. Tales of redemption - "Gates of Heaven" was a particular favourite - abound in the gospel flavoured songs and it has to be said that badness, misbehaviour and evil doings have rarely sounded so appealing. You'll remember spaghetti westerns from the late sixties and early seventies. Well, they were apparently very popular in Germany (and still are judging from the ones in my DVD collection) and I could just see this offbeat collection of songs making a really great soundtrack. In fact, some of the songs would make a great starting point for a movie script. They were just made for each other.
I was distinctly impressed when I first heard this album. You get jaded hearing the same old musical moves getting dragged out time and time again.  Not with this album however. Maybe it is a European thing. Quirky in this country means a grande dame like Morrissey but over on the continent, they really pull out the stops and give us something truly unique. The album is a compelling listen nonetheless and it might be some time before you hear anything quite like this again. Loved it.

Paperdubs blog (US) about "Too Close To Heaven" 2009/01/11: I don't usually like novelty music, and when I first heard The Dad Horse Experience, I thought it was a joke and nearly skipped past it. A simple description – German guy plays twisted gospel murder ballads on banjo and kazoo – makes it sound just about as unappetizing as a record can be. Something in the music made me listen a little longer, though, and I realized that this is, in fact, a brilliant album. Dad Horse Ottn, who supposedly started playing music at the age of 40 (though I don't know how much of his story is true and how much is fabricated showmanship), sings songs of sin and redemption and then more sin, for good measure. The music deconstructs old-time gospel folk, updating it and mixing it with folk German sounds and modern melodies. At times I can almost hear a Violent Femmes sort of voice peeking through. Through it all, Ottn's pleas for redemption and the tales of why he needs to be saved give the album a bizarre, hallucinatory character that makes this by far the most original record I've heard this year. (Mike Bigtime)

The Liver Eater (US) 2008/12/30: Some of the best music The Liver Eater can recommend to any red-blooded American man comes from an obscure German guy named Dad Horse.
Dad Horse Ottn is the leader of a big ole one-man band, The Dad Horse Experience, and he's created something amazing in what he refers to as Keller-Gospel. In addition to his unique voice, Dad Horse is a master of his holy banjo, and has been known to play a mean bass pedal and kazoo.

taz Berlin (DE) 2008/10/31: Das ist Leidenschaft, der sich der Bremer Dad Horse Ottn hingibt und mit Banjo und Fußorgel als die Einmannband The Dad Horse Experience durch die Clubs zieht, mit seinem Debütalbum 'Too close to heaven' im Gepäck und einem tollen Wort für das, was er macht: Keller-Gospel. Da jubiliert das Herz in der Kohlengrube. Und wenn dem nachgeborenen Johnny Cash manchmal die Stimme wegkippt, zeigt sich gerade darin eine nackte Wahrheit, die man sonstwo selten hören darf. (Thomas Mauck)

taz Nord (DE) 2008/10/30: Nicht irgendeine, sondern 'die Botschaft' wie eine heilige Grippe zu verbreiten, ist das Vorhaben der Dad Horse Experience, die jetzt zur Europa-Tournee aufbricht.
Im reifen Alter von 40 Jahren begann der Mann, den man heute als Dad Horse Ottn kennt, Musik zu machen. Ohne Ausbildung, nur beseelt davon, seiner spirituellen Suche einen  Klang zu geben. Die Ohren öffneten ihm die 'American Recordings' von Johnny Cash, wobei er selbst eher klingt (und ein bischen aussieht) wie ein Hank Williams, der nicht schon vor seinem 30. Geburtstag auf dem Rücksitz seines Wagens an einer Überdosis starb.
Auf Gitarre, Kazoo, Banjo und Basspedalen zieht Ottn seit ein paar Jahren sein Ding alleine durch. Und hat sich derweil mit seinen begrenzten technischen Mitteln eine Qualität erarbeitet, die Gänsehaut erzeugen kann. In der rudimentären Begleitung seiner Songs, in der Klage seines Gesangs schwingt dabei die spartanische Intensität des weißen Folks aus den Appalachen mit, Ottns Lyrik verhandelt mit Hingabe die flammende Selbstkritik der gequälten Sünderseele. Keller-Gospel eben, kein ekstatisch juchzender Großchor. (Andreas Schnell)

Weserkurier (DE) 2007/12/11: ... Die eigentliche Überraschung war aber zuvor mit The Dad Horse Experience zu erleben. Das ist die Einmannband des in Bremen lebenden Künstlers Dad Horse Ottn. Er ist – wie auch noch andere an diesem Festival beteiligten Musiker – eigentlich bildender Künstler, der erst vor fünf Jahren das Banjo für sich entdeckt hat.
Hörbar hat sich daraus eine tiefe Leidenschaft zum Instrument und seiner Musik, die er als 'Keller-Gospel' bezeichnet, entwickelt. Ottn zupft das Banjo, bedient mit den Füßen einen Pedal-Bass, bläst gelegentlich Kazoo und singt. Er besitzt keine überragende Stimme, aber er hat das gewisse Etwas darin, denn in intensiven Momenten schlägt sie um in einen hohen gequälten Ton, der ans Country-Yodeling, die spezielle Jodelvariante der Countrymusik erinnert.
Überdies besitzt The Dad Horse Experience eine immense, geradezu mitreißende Bühnenpräsenz, so dass er das Publikum regelrecht in seinen Bann zog und nicht die geringste Mühe hatte, den Saal zum Mitsingen eines Gospelsongs zu bewegen. Ein starker Auftritt. (Christian Emigholz)