I’m betting Los Angeles isn’t the first place that comes to mind when describing soulful Americana jam bands. But, then again, The Show Ponies aren’t typical ol’ timey Americana. Consisting of five La-La-Land transplants, The Show Ponies are Clayton Chaney (lead vocals, bass), Andi Carder (lead vocals, banjo), Jason Harris (vocals, guitar), Philip Glenn (fiddle), and Kevin Brown (drums).
In January, The Show Ponies released their highly anticipated sophomore studio album, How It All Goes Down. The energetic dancehall tempo of opener ‘The Time It Takes’ may be slightly misleading. This album is a folksy reflection on the end of the world. Drawing from journeys through heartache, exhaustion, and joy in their time both at home and on the road, the quintet look at doomsday through a largely hopeful lens.
Produced by Andy Freeman, How It All Goes Down samples a variety of genres with a heavy emphasis on banjo pickin’ bluegrass (‘This World Is Not My Home’) and fiddle seducing sonnets (‘Kalamazoo’ and ‘How It All Goes Down’). The country-pop ‘Folks Back Home’ is an instant crowd-pleaser while ‘Someone To Stay’ channels a folksy classic rock vibe any CCR or Fleetwood fan can appreciate. The album’s energy dips slightly towards the center where heartfelt songwriting takes over with spiritual hymn ‘Bravery Be Written‘ and airy lullaby ‘Sweetly’. Carder flexes a ferocious vocal range on the feisty ‘Shoulda Showed Him’ and exchanges indie-pop stanzas with Chaney on ‘Only Lie’.
It’s obvious each band member has brought something to the table with How It All Goes Down. The album blends an array of origins from Ozark roots and Texas twang to indie bluegrass and West Coast pop. How It All Goes Down isn’t just a jam band having a good ol’ time…It’s contemplative and immersive without ever feeling too heavy. It’s Americana for a new age.
Written by: Douglas Leach
Photos by: Daley Hake