Emerging in 2004 with a blend of woodsy midtempo rock and reverb-laden vocals, Band of Horses gained an audience in their native Northwest before Everything All the Time made them indie rock darlings. Multi-instrumentalists Ben Bridwell and Mat Brooke founded the group after an eight-year run with Carissa's Wierd, and an early concert alongside future labelmates Iron & Wine caught the attention of Sub Pop Records. Sub Pop signed Band of Horses in 2005 and reissued their self-released EP later that year, while the band retreated to the studio to record its full-length debut. Everything All the Time appeared in March 2006 and was warmly received; however, Brooke did not tour in support of the album and had officially left the group by July, choosing instead to devote his time to another Sub Pop act, Grand Archives. Bridwell soldiered on with now-permanent bandmates Rob Hampton (bass) and Creighton Barrett (drums), playing stateside shows and touring Europe in support of the band's debut.
The bandmembers returned to the States and relocated to Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, to be closer to their families. Soon after, Band of Horses entered the studio with producer Phil Ek (who also helmed Everything All the Time) to record their second album. Cease to Begin was released in October 2007 to extremely warm reviews; it also peaked at number 35 on the Billboard charts, giving the band a taste of commercial success as well as critical approval. Although Band of Horses spent most of the following two years on the road, they also found time to return to the recording studio, where they began working on a third album in 2009.
This time, the band's five members all contributed to the songwriting process, making Infinite Arms a collaborative effort between Bridwell, Barrett, and new members Ryan Monroe, Tyler Ramsey, and Bill Reynolds. The album hit shelves in mid-2010, marking the band's first effort for Columbia Records and earning a Grammy for its country-rock sound. Preferring to take a more grounded approach on their fourth long-player, the group tapped legendary producer Glyn Johns (the Rolling Stones, The Who), who helped to rein in some of the group's more experimental tendencies by insisting on a more intimate live approach. The resulting Mirage Rock, which was preceded by the single "Knock, Knock," arrived in September 2012. Early 2014 saw the release of live album Acoustic at the Ryman, a compilation of tracks recorded in a stripped-down fashion during a two-night stint in the spring of 2013 at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.