Sun, Jul 02|
Pony Bradshaw w/ Will Overman
Time & Location
Jul 02, 2023, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Hernando's Hide-A-Way, 3210 Old Hernando Rd, Memphis, TN 38116, USA
About the event
Sunday July 2nd, 2023 7pm Doors $15 ADV / $20 DOS Pony Bradshaw
On his new album North Georgia Rounder, Pony Bradshaw leads the listener on an exploration of the woods, rivers, and mountains of Appalachia, more specifically, the area for which the album is named and he’s called home for the past 15 years. “It’s got its hooks in me,” Bradshaw says of North Georgia, and it shows, with songs that quickly establish a setting, much like the one he initiated with the album’s predecessor, Calico Jim. The sonic excursion includes stops along the Conasauga River, visits to the holler, and a few diversions—nearby Knoxville plays a supporting role, as do Louisiana and Arkansas. It’s an impressionistic journey of introspection and connection all at once.
Will Stewart's tastefully-understated guitar leads and Philippe Bronchtein's atmospheric pedal steel provide the perfect backdrop for Bradshaw's impassioned vocals in lead-off track "Foxfire Wine." Its swampy, bluesy intro makes way for an interesting amalgamation of Sturgill Simpson and The Grateful Dead, serving as the perfect aperitif for “a hell of a heaven and a hell of a show.” From that point on till the album wraps with the aptly titled “Notes on a River Town,” not only do you see and hear North Georgia, you even smell and taste it.
Take, for example, "Safe in the Arms of Vernacular," a pensive, melancholy track that delights all the senses and is reminiscent of Ray Lamontagne’s mellow side. When Bradshaw sings of the “bonafide gas mask” his Dad brought back from Desert Storm and describes the Saudi Arabian sand as turning to “glass sharp as a sultan’s sword,” one can almost see it. As quickly as it sets the ever-vivid stage, the track shifts its focus to a waitress downtown. "Draped in Bedouin gown, smoking Kent cigarettes in the underground" in an attempt to "escape all those voices," she naturally drinks white wine—"Riesling room temp from a coffee cup," to be exact.
A voracious reader, Bradshaw credits his talent for expressing such rich details in his songs not so much to other songwriters but instead to books, fiction, short stories, essays, and literary criticism. With such colorful descriptions as “teeth stained red with Lebanese wine, long hair … in sweeps of oil blacker than a cypress pool,” one might assume he bases the subjects of his songs on real-life people he interacts with in North Georgia; instead, Bradshaw describes them as “nameless characters” compiled from “fragments” he’s collected, pieces that usually start with just a line or two. These fragments all add up to a remarkably cohesive 10-song collection, despite Bradshaw being a self-professed admirer of (and writer of) the non-sequitur. This is thanks in no small part to his own masterful vocal delivery and the expert musicianship of his backing band, one that includes the aforementioned Stewart and Bronchtein with Robert Green on bass, Ryan Moore on drums, and Jenna Mobley on fiddle.
“I really enjoy records that are actual records of time,” he explains. With this in mind, Bradshaw looked to create an album that relied less on innovation and experimentation, aspiring to capture the songs' live spirit. He and his band did just that, making North Georgia Rounder—vocals, overdubs, and all—in just five days at Jason Weinheimer’s Fellowship Hall Sound in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he had also tracked Calico Jim in 2020.
“Me and balance … we’ve never really worked out,” he confesses, acknowledging the irony of his quest for order and structure despite having chosen a path that is often chaotic. But as he sings in the moody yet catchy “Holler Rose,” “you’ve got to be willing to play the long game.” “If it’s worth it, there’s a beauty in suffering,” he explains. “It’s taken me a long time to realize that, but I’m thankful for all those terrible decisions I’ve made.”
“Every day, I wrestle with the moral consequences of being a touring musician,” he adds. “I’m always finding ways to make it okay to be doing this. I feel irresponsible sometimes,” he professes, "because I basically make my living off the goodwill of others and chance. So I'm always trying to battle those two things."
“The poet soon stops experimenting and innovating and starts his life’s work,” Bradshaw expounds, citing a quote from one of his favorite writers, Wendell Berry. A single album as a life’s work may seem like a grand, overambitious aspiration. But for Pony Bradshaw, North Georgia Rounder is just that – a life's work, one that, as he describes it, is a culmination of “sweat and work and joy and pain and anger and patience and restraint.”
Will Overman is a singer-songwriter based in central Virginia. Making a living in music isn’t easy, especially when it seems like listeners' tastes change with the wind and algorithms are updated constantly, teasing artists with catching the elusive dollar. Central VA based singer-songwriter Will Overman however; has found a way to thrive in a seemingly constant state of transition.
Will Overman’s music can be best described as Country-Americana, but it's not your typical Country-Americana sound. Sonically it is restless by nature, always searching for something new, and with Will’s heart-worn lyrics and dynamic vocal delivery, it makes for a memorable mixture that is hard to place but easy to love.
Born and raised in Virginia Beach, Will began writing songs after picking up the guitar in high school. He quickly built a regional following, and despite taking time to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail and move to Vermont for a semester of college, he capitalized on his move back to Virginia the following spring by forming the Will Overman Band. The Southern Rock ‘n Roll influenced Americana project released two EPs and an LP, playing bar gigs and festival slots (Merlefest, Appaloosa Music Festival, Rooster Walk) up and down the East Coast until in the spring of 2017, when Will graduated from UVA and the band decided to go their separate ways. Although he was unsure what to do next, Will began working on his first solo release - 2017’s Crossroads EP with a studio band of some nationally known musicians (Johnny Stubblefield - Parachute, Sam Wilson - Sons of Bill) and good friends from the central VA music scene. Though proud of the final product, following its release, Will took a step back from music for over a year as he re-evaluated whether he could build a sustainable career as a writer and touring musician. Even while putting distance between himself and music, Will couldn’t keep himselffrom writing new songs, and following a return to Virginia in mid-2019, Will went back into the studio to record the songs that would form his debut LP The Winemaker’s Daughter. Following the successful and well-received release of the debut single “Something to Hold” from The Winemaker’s Daughter on February 14, 2020, Will hit the road on his first major solo tour two weeks later - just as the pandemic started shutting down the world. Canceled and indefinitely postponed gigs quickly piled up, but rather than stop making or releasing music Will continued on, dropping singles from the album while garnering international media attention and radio play. Since breaking the ice on his own return to live shows in April 2021 to celebrate the release of The Winemaker’s Daughter in February 2021 (almost a year to the day after the release of the initial single), Will has put tens of thousands of miles on his van while traveling from shows anywhere from Savannah to Minneapolis to Boston and everywhere in between. The miles and days away have been hard, but good for Will, as he gained inspiration and experience that led to the recording and release of three brand new singles in 2022 called “Spend it All” “Heart Pine” and “Dotted Line.” Whereas Will’s older work was extremely personal and reflective, Will’s new singles tell his own story, while also incorporating other perspectives and experiences, all with a similar thread or vein running through them. The ballad-like first single and namesake of his Heart Pine EP (released Nov. 10, 2022), “Heart Pine” focuses on Will’s personal story of struggle with mental health. The dark and moody “Spend it All” is written from the perspective of someone returning from war and fighting the effects of PTSD, chipping away at the idea that everyone’s fight is the same. Lastly, the energetic and powerful “Dotted Line” encapsulates fighting to get past whatever has been dragging you down. Armed with a powerful voice and powerful convictions, Will Overman is slowly but surely building a name for himself performing throughout the east coast at venues and festivals such as (The Jefferson Theater, Fall for Greenville, The Basement) and supporting artists like (Joe Pug, Christian Lopez, Dead Horses, Grady Spencer & the Work, etc.). Regardless of whether you get a first listen of Will at the next show or song on shuffle, you can be sure that it won’t be long before you know his songs by heart.