FAST and furious fiddle and flat picking fans are in for a feast of music in Menai Bridge.
Wild Ponies, with their rural Appalachian-influenced sound, will be stopping off to play at the Victoria Hotel as part of their UK and European 30-date tour on Saturday, November 11, promoting the new album “Galax”.
The album, out recently on Gearbox Records, features a guest appearance from old time players Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard and Audrey Spillman
Galax pays tribute to the powerful music and rugged landscape of southwest Virginia, where both Wild Ponies' members Doug and Telisha Williams were born and raised.
There, in mountain towns like Galax, old time American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers and flat-picking banjo players.
The stripped-back album gives a nod to the band's heritage and geographical roots, and it was recorded in the shed behind Doug’s old family farm in the Appalachian mountains.
Galax is filled with upright bass, acoustic guitar, twin fiddles, a Telecaster, a banjo, pedal steel, a mandolin, harmonies, gang vocals, and even some stripped-down percussion. Every song was recorded live.
Growing up, a young Doug Williams watched and learned as his grandfather played banjo alongside local musical legends
Wild Ponies proudly dive into their old-school influences, with songs like "Pretty Bird" - a rendition of the Hazel Dickens original - and the traditional mountain song “Sally Anne.”
“My grandfather used to say, 'It oughta been the goddamn National Anthem!'” said Doug.
Even so, don't mistake Galax for a traditionally-minded folk album. Wild Ponies offer up plenty of contemporary material, too.
“We didn't want to go home to Virginia and just make an old-time record,” explained Doug.
“We wanted to make something that still sounded like Wild Ponies.
“We asked everybody to stretch and reach towards something new, something different. We wanted to not only reconnect with our roots, but learn how those roots can also weave into our current world.”
In just one set, it is said that Doug and Telisha can bring an audience to their feet in applause, to their knees in prayer, and back to the bar to buy another beer.
Both have powerful, distinctive voices and Doug swaps between acoustic and electric guitars, while Telisha slaps the upright bass and fellow Nashville resident Katie Marie joins them on drums, mandolin and guitar.
Doors open at 8pm on November 11 at the Victoria Hotel, Menai Bridge.
Tickets are £11 and they are available from Palas Print, Caernarfon and Mudshark Records, Bangor.