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CD Review: Trick Pony - Trick Pony

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Reviewed by Jolene Downs

When I accepted the assignment of reviewing the debut self-titled CD of Trick Pony, I wasn't sure what to expect. I have heard their first single release "Pour Me" get ever increasing airplay. While it is a catchy tune, I wasn't convinced they had what it took to be a legitimate country act. They had the "drinking song" down, but could they sing a ballad? I admit to being pleasantly surprised by the album.

Trick Pony is a unique name for a unique group that produces a unique, high energy sound. It is made up of Heidi Newfield, Ira Dean and Keith Burns.

Trick Pony Cover
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Trick Pony

All three share the duties of lead vocals, write their own music, and all play instruments. Although this is their first release, they are no strangers to the music industry. Keith Burns was a part of Joe Diffie's band for several years, and Ira Dean was part of Tanya Tucker's band, and they recruited Heidi for the third (and female) person. They have been on the road for the last 4 1/2 years playing four and five shows a day for 300 days a year.

For this album, they recruited some country legends to help with one of the tracks. Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash make a guest appearance on one of the songs. Although consisting mainly of the high energy sound associated with "Pour Me," there are also a couple of good ballads included. Since lead vocal duties are shared, it is hard to decipher who is singing lead on some of the tracks. This is the first group I have listened to where I feel lead is truly interchangeable. They all sound great.

The first single release is "Pour Me." It is a high energy song that is a modern version of a tradional drinking song that made country music famous. In this case, it is the woman at the bar drowning her sorrows. She thought she had found the perfect guy and he just wasn't ready to settle down. "Pour me, pour me, pour me another shot of whiskey. Fill it to the top cause I hit rock bottom this time..."

"Party of One" has her turning tables on her love. He is always forgetting dates so she makes a reservation for them at a nice restaurant and doesn't show up. She wonders how he is doing being a "party of one at a table for two..." and how long will it take for him to realize she isn't coming?

"Big River" is my personal favorite off of the album. Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings lend their legendary talents to this song. It has an adaption of the boom-chicka-boom guitar playing that is a trademark of Johnny Cash music. She falls in love with a man who loves the river. Even though they love each other, he continues to follow the call of the river and they keep missing each other as she searches for him. "I taught the weeping willow how to cry, showed the clouds how to cover the clear blue sky. The tears I cried are going to flood you big river, and I'm going to stay here til I die..."

The question of whether the group could handle a good country ballad was answered for me on the track "Every Other Memory," in which she is trying to forget a lost love. She says "I may never be free, it's a life-long recovery....when I think about you and me I've cut it down to every other memory..."

"Stay In This Moment" is also a good ballad.

There are a couple of "fun" songs off this album. "More Like Me" is definitely not a song that would be considered traditional country by any means. It has a decidedly non-country influence. They play with the stereo effect on vocals. While she is singing the chorus, the other two are singing something else in the background. She even throws in a little bit of "rapping" in the middle of the song. In the song she is celebrating the fact that for the first time in a long time she feels more like her old self. No longer tied down to the feelings of being contained in a relationship that doesn't let her be herself.

Another "fun" song is "Can't Say That On the Radio." In this song, a radio DJ laments the fact that he gets the brunt of the abuse from callers wanting to "tell off" someone or another on the air. As much as he would love to let them, and they would all enjoy it today, tomorrow he would be gone, cause "you can't say that on the radio..."

"Spent" deals with the age old question, "Where does the money go?" It goes way too fast and in the end, what do you really have to show for it? A very unique sound on this song also.

The last track on album is the music industry's answer to the movie trailers you see that show the "goofs" that were made. It has "what really went on" while recording the single "Pour Me."

While this isn't a CD you could curl up with a good book and relax to, it is a CD that would motivate you to move around and get things done while listening to it. The second single off the album is just starting to get airplay. It is "Just What I Do," and features the vocal talents of Keith. In it he attributes the feats of many different famous people to "just what I do when I can't get no lovin'.".

Songlist:

  1. Pour Me
  2. Party Of One
  3. Big River (with Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings)
  4. Every Other Memory
  5. More Like Me
  6. Just What I Do
  7. Stay In This Moment
  8. On A Night Like This
  9. One In A Row
  10. Now Would Be The Time
  11. Can't Say That On The Radio
  12. Spent
  13. Not Hidden Track

All graphics © Shelly Fabian, with the exception of the album cover,
used with permission of Warner Reprise Nashville.

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