When the members of Trick Pony went their separate ways at the end of 2006, not once did the thought cross their minds that they would someday reunite. But seven years later, Heidi Newfield, Keith Burns and Ira Dean are creating music that they feel “fate” was just waiting to present.
When the three were asked individually to partake in a Boston benefit in 2013, the obvious question was asked – would Trick Pony take the stage together one more time in honor of the special cause. Prior to making a decision, the former bandmates met for dinner where they not only discussed the desire to share the stage once again, but realized there was still a lot more life, love and creativity left in Trick Pony.
“We instantly started cutting up and laughing and talking about remember this and remember that,” recalls lead vocalist Heidi Newfield. “My face hurt from two and a half hours of laughing about all this stuff that we’d done and swapping stories. It was like literally three old friends picking up where the good stuff left off.”
And it was then when bassist Ira spoke up about something that had been on his mind for many months. “Ira said he didn’t think we’d come close to making our best music yet as Trick Pony,” guitar player Keith remembers.
“So we began to talk about where our heads were creatively and about building the right strategy,” says Heidi. “It just so happened that we were kind of in the same place. We were all open-minded to where we wanted to go musically. It’s never cool to leave any project – whether it’s a band or solo – in a situation where you don’t feel like you’ve made your absolute best record yet. We all agreed that we could do better, and from there, we began to get fired up. I think that was a pivotal moment where we all felt like we could be Trick Pony again.”
“We said let’s just get together and write, look for songs and have fun in the studio to see if there’s something there,” adds Ira. “So we went in and wrote, dug through catalogs and listened. We’ve just started scratching the surface with this stuff, but there’s something there … there’s definitely something there.”
During the years spent away from Trick Pony, Heidi, Keith and Ira were finding successes in their own rights. Heidi embarked on a solo career with the release of her What Am I Waiting For album that spawned the Top 10 hit single “Johnny and June,” while Keith joined forces with Michelle Poe for their duo Burns & Poe, claiming the title for Music Row’s Independent Artist of the Year in 2010. Meanwhile, Ira juggled his own solo career, along with producing various artists and focusing on his songwriting that landed him several cuts with the likes of Montgomery Gentry, Rascal Flatts, Colt Ford and Josh Thompson, among others.
Those years of honing his craft in different aspects of the music business is now benefiting the future of Trick Pony. In addition to lending his hand in writing the new material for the band with Heidi and Keith, Ira is also currently serving as producer for the forthcoming project.
“He has really stepped up to the plate as a producer,” praises Keith. “I think it’s the best sounding stuff that we’ve done … I really do, so hats off to him.”
From the beginning of their career, Trick Pony brought a unique sound and blend of harmonies to country music, which made them stand out with a style all their own. Throughout the 2000s, they delivered such sing-along hits as “Pour Me,” “On a Night like This,” “Just What I Do” and “On a Mission,” stemming from three successful studio albums.
The new music in the works will show many levels of evolvement in the trio, which has been given an updated flare to fit country radio today, without abandoning Trick Pony’s signature sound. It’s the kind of music you’re likely to get a speeding ticket to, or be cranking up loud at your next river party. The songs run the gamut of every human emotion, showing how far this band has come since first breaking onto the scene.
“I think the new music’s going to be better than anything we’ve done in the past,” says Keith. “There’s a reason for everything, including why we split up. We all were able to do exactly what we wanted to do during that time, but it has brought us back to what we are passionate about, and that’s making music together.”
“We’re all in a really healthy mind space,” agrees Heidi. “One of the first things we said when we sat down at that table that night was we don’t care how great it feels … if it’s not fun and if it’s not creative and if we don’t exceed our own expectations, we don’t want to do it. Sure enough, in a very authentic and a very natural way, it was fun. It was just like stepping back in time, only a little more current and relevant with what’s going on now. Our voices are blending and sounding better than ever before, and I think it’s time to share that with the world again.”
With music continuing to grow and evolve every day, Trick Pony feels their place in country music is still wide open to what they have to offer both in the studio and when they take the stage.
“There are a lot of great bands out there today that we are big fans of and support,” notes Heidi. “The best part is, that unique Trick Pony sound has been untouched. It’s been waiting for us to get fired up and filled with the desire to make our fans happy and build new fans in 2014. We know that we can take this whole thing to a level we’ve never reached before. We’re grown ups business-wise, but we’re kids at heart onstage who are ready to make the best music of our lives, and have a blast doing it. I honestly feel like the sky’s the limit, and there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.”