Greystones, Sheffield, 29/6/2016
published: 23 /
Nicky Crewe enjoys an intimate set from Nashville-based husband-and-wife Americana duo Wild Ponies at the Greystones in Sheffield
WaggonWheel promotions brought Doug and Telisha Williams back to Sheffield, to the Backroom of the Greystones pub. It’s a venue that is very much part of the music scene in the city, and WaggonWheel has a great reputation for bringing the best in Americana, alt. country and roots music to Sheffield. Mat Wale supported, accompanied by Rhiannon Flynn on fiddle and Chris Gray on guitar. He gave us self penned songs combined with John Prine and Merle Haggard covers. His last song was a post Brexit protest song, very timely and appreciated by the crowd.
Doug and Telisha were joined by Rob Heath on drums. With Doug on acoustic and electric guitars and Telisha on stand up double bass, they produce a powerful sound. Telisha has a fabulous and distinctive country voice, a pleasure to listen to whether she’s singing or chatting to the audience. As a band they are up there with the best and as songwriters their material is great. Taking inspiration from murder ballads, Catawba trees (it’s an Indian bean tree), a grandfather’s farm, gay marriage and Pride, tarot cards and the rest, they wear their hearts on their sleeves, sharing stories, jokes and opinions through their lyrics and chat. It’s a lesson in their own sense of place and culture that takes us somewhere else, from the origins of Nascar racing (road trips to deliver prohibition breaking bourbon supplies to Chicago) to the farm where Doug’s grandfather lived. It’s wild music. The electric guitar sound takes their own Tennessee/Nashville roots somewhere else too.
There are plans for an all acoustic project, to be recorded at the abandoned farm with its Catawba tree, bringing together old musicians from Doug’s grandfather’s day and their Nashville friends.
The latest recording is ‘Radiant’. The title track was written with twelve year old Mariah Moore supplying the lyrics.
The set kicked off with ‘Born with a Broken Heart‘ off this new album, followed by ‘Tower and the Wheel’. Talk of Trump and politics led into ‘Love is not a Sin’, an older song made all the more poignant in the wake of the Orlando shootings. ‘Radiant’ followed. A new song, written with Amy Speace and Emily Barker, ‘Trouble Looks Good On You’ sounded great. ‘Things That Used to Shine’ from the last album followed. A request from the audience, “Learning to Drink Whisky’ gave Telisha the chance to tell us about the Wild Ponies’ annual Kentucky Whisky Bourbon Run, a road trip with fans around the bourbon distilleries. There are plans to recreate it in Scotland one day soon! Missed opportunities are explored in the poignant ‘The Night We Never Met’. A tarot card reading inspired ‘The Truth Is’. The set ended with a song from the new album, ‘Home is Where the Road Goes’.
The evening had the intimacy of a living room gig, with the rocking power of a theatre concert. A real treat.