A Minnesota Songwriter & A Vision
Some years back, The Dixie Hicks Band emerged with Amanda St. Catherine as our featured singer. Despite criticism for being "too country," The Hicks ascended the ranks of MN country bands, playing top venues & events & opening for national acts including LeAnne Rimes, Big & Rich, Josh Gracin & others.
The Dixie Hicks' season came & went, but out of it has emerged The Wild Ponies Band.
Early on, The Ponies were lucky enough to get the services of Nashville session steel player, Albert Svendall, who mistook the first couple of songs he played on for hits that he couldn't quite place. Upon learning they were actually The Ponies' originals, Albert encouraged us to take a shot at Nashville.
I was a little skeptical, but took the songs up to Dan Krogh, Program Director at the popular country station KKIN in Aitkin, MN. I knew he had worked in Nashville & had other credentials as well.
To my surprise, Dan offered to give us some airplay when the songs were finalized & even said he'd like to pitch them for us. He then invited Amanda & me to appear on a live studio show promoting Aitkin County food shelves.
We agreed & played to an enthusiastic studio audience as well as to an estimated 45,000 listeners.
For the finale, Amanda sang "Never Make You Stay" (accompanied by our studio tracks), & in typical Amada-style, knocked it out of the park. As the final notes faded away, the MC grabbed his mic & said, "Wow! Ladies & gentlemen, 20 years ago we had a little known band in this same studio. That band was Blackhawk & we might just have another Blackhawk here!"
Since then, we've battled our way uphill, learned some hard & humbling lessons & at long last, the album is done! It's been a long road, but if we find even a few fans here & there, it will have been worth it. And stay tuned -- Vol #2 is already underway!
Long live country music!
~Duane Stombaugh and The Wild Ponies Band