From Nashville to Emsworth!

Wild Ponies
Wild Ponies

Nashville band Wild Ponies play at Hewitts, Emsworth on November 17 (doors at 7pm).

Virginian-born, Nashville-based Wild Ponies released their debut album Things That Used To Be on Continental Rose Records on July 14.

“Written during a busy year on the road, Things That Used To Shine is an album about leaving something behind…and meeting others head-on,” says spokesman Del Day.

“It’s also the studio debut of Wild Ponies, a Nashville-based outfit fronted by Virginia natives Doug and Telisha Williams, who have previously toured and recorded as acoustic folk duo Doug & Telisha. Set for release on Continental Rose, Things That Used To Shine finds Telisha opening up about the skeletons that have haunted her closet for years.

Grammy-winning producer Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams) recorded the album’s 12 songs in three days, running the band’s harmonies through the same pre-amps once used by the Beatles. Casey Driessen, Russ Pahl, Jake Winebrenner and other heavy-hitting roots musicians also make appearances, beefing up the band’s songs with everything from organ to pedal steel.”

Before forming Wild Ponies, Doug and Telisha toured the folk circuit for years under a different name. As Doug explains: “We released two records as Doug & Telisha Williams, and then we briefly talked about changing our name to “Telisha,” because it would help make a cool fan-club name: the Telisha Militia. But since we’re traveling full-time as a band now, it just felt right to make the transition to Wild Ponies. Wild Ponies is an evolution. The first album Telisha and I ever made together was a totally acoustic record called Rope Around My Heart, and in no way is this new one an acoustic record. This is more aggressive. This time, it feels like we finally made a record that captures the sound we’ve been hearing in our heads for the past 10 years”

In one way or another, the majority of the album deals with loss, rejection, abuse or starting over. It’s about trying to find places where people don’t necessarily have a voice, or don’t know how to speak out on their own, and we try to give them some sort of a voice.

Telisha adds, “We wanted to play together at the same time to capture the live sound. On most of these songs, I’m recording my vocals and my bass at the same time. Live shows are what we love the most about this business, so why not try to capture that?”

A move to Nashville opened up the possibilities of using a different approach and set up for the record, the scope was huge. As Doug notes, “when we were recording the new album, we kept talking about getting a big gospel choir to join us for one track. We hadn’t figured out who, or when, or how we were gonna do it, but Ray called us one morning and woke us up by saying, “Hey, it’s the day to do the gospel choir. Meet me at 11. With a choir.” And we were like, “Wait, what? Today?” But within an hour, we’d called up enough friends to form a great choir, with some of the best singers in the world. They came to the studio and sang on that song, and it was beautiful. To me, that’s community.

Wild Ponies will be making their UK headline debut in November with a number of shows. They gained many new fans when here last year supporting Rod Picott and hope to build on that with the new album and tour.