Interview: The Show Ponies

Photo by Daley Hake

Energetic and rootsy five-piece Americana band The Show Ponies, comprised of musicians hailing from Arkansas, Texas, and California, will release a new studio LP, How It All Goes Down, on January 20, 2017. Produced by Andy Freeman (Eisley/Manchester Orchestra, Rocketboys), the album is a follow-up to the band’s two LPs and one EP, which to date have garnered over 14 million plays on Spotify.

How It All Goes Down reflects the natural growth process of the band and our continued exploration of our influences,” says co-lead vocalist and songwriter Clayton Chaney. “We weren’t ever truly bluegrass in any sense; there are some bluegrass-y elements on the new record, but as we’ve coming into ourselves as a five-piece band, there’s more territory to explore.”

Explore they did—the new album features a more electrified sound than their previous releases, and while The Show Ponies are still firmly rooted in the Americana realm, there are added elements of gospel, rock, and even a little touch of R&B. “This record was done differently; instead of fleshing out the songs in a mad dash in the studio, we took our time on this one,” recalls guitarist Jason Harris. “Everyone contributed equally, which lent itself to some really cool arrangements and allowed us to cover new frontiers musically. We tried to get more into our own skin and figure out who we are as a band going forward.”

“Our last full length was basically about not knowing where you are, but being okay with that. I feel like this one is an affirmation that we don’t fully belong in this world, but we make the absolute best out of this sense of not belonging,” explains Chaney of the album’s deeper and more complex subject matter. “The title track is basically about keeping a cool head when the world blows up; it has a weird parallel to the current climate that wasn’t necessarily anticipated,” laughs Harris. “We’re talking about what we’re thinking about, that’s what we do as writers and musicians.” “The song isn’t necessarily about the literal end of the world, just about people’s tendencies to catastrophize things, to scream that the sky is falling and to expect the worst,” adds Chaney. “We wanted to encourage folks to focus on loving others rather than on the catastrophes.”

The band plans to hit the road next year to support the album’s release; “I’m excited to see what people think about this one, I really don’t know what to expect,” admits Harris. “I hope to be able to connect with people over this music,” adds Chaney. “And I hope that they’ll be encouraged to think a little deeper.”

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