Meet The Show Ponies, a high-energy bluegrass band as rambunctious as their name suggests
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
"Whiskey and Wine," The Show Ponies
I see dozens and dozens of bands roll through Amarillo bars every year, but few stick with me like Los Angeles-based bluegrass band The Show Ponies has.
I interviewed guitarist Jason Harris last year before the band's Amarillo debut at Leftwood's and listened to some of their insanely catchy music on CD, but none of that prepared me for their high-energy show and the dynamic stage presence of singer Andi Carder. Songs like "Whiskey and Wine," above, have been on near-constant rotation on my playlist since the show.
Now, the band will make a long-awaited return to Leftwood's, 2511 S.W. Sixth Ave., for a 9:30 p.m. Saturday show. Cover is $8.
I chatted again with Harris last week to preview the show.
The band, which has released two EPs and a full-length so far, will drop a new album in early 2017 which will show some evolution in its sound, Harris said.
"We've always wanted to stay true to the music that we were basing our sound off of. ... We wanted to honor tradition, but in doing so, I think one thing we didn't do was honor our own traditions," Harris said. "We're getting more of each of us into this record."
That includes hearing more of Harris' own work.
"One thing about The Show Ponies, you're used to hearing great drumming (by Kevin Brown) that's super-fast and kind of crazy," Harris said. "You're used to the fiddle (by Philip Glenn). You're used to Clay (Chaney) and Andi's voices. I never intended it to do so, but the guitar hasn't come out as much as a distinct part of the group."
Harris was there from the start: He introduced Carder, a childhood friend, and Chaney, a college friend, and watched as they began performing as a duet. Then, he helped round out the and with Glenn and Brown who, like Chaney and Harris, attended private evangelical liberal-arts school Biola University.
The quintet sounds great on CD, but Harris thinks (and I agree) that they shine the most in their live shows.
"I don't know if it sets us apart, but it's something that we really prioritize. ... It's hard to take your eyes off (Carder), and we have a good balance between execution and performance that doesn't necessarily go across for all bands," Harris said. "I think we put together a good mix of music, as well."
Here's another taste, a cover of Johnny Cash and June Carter's "Jackson":
"Jackson," The Show Ponies