Pony Bradshaw has announced the release date for North Georgia Rounder, the full-length follow-up to 2021’s solid Calico Jim. Acting as a sort-of-sequel, Bradshaw’s new batch of tunes looks to continue exploring the peoples and themes of his adopted Appalachian home as well as his life as a performer and road-bound troubadour.
The first of the vanguard tracks, “Foxfire Wine” plucks in and gets slightly raunchy with a blunt riff that smooths out with glowing pedal steel before expanding into a softer, Croce-esque melody and sharp wordplay: “She danced a rusty dance, hallelujah on the mountain, buckin’ to the rhythm of old Appalachia / It’s a hell of a heaven and a hell of a show, they’re backin’ us into the margins with a knife to our throats.” Warm and clear, Bradshaw howls high as the tune ascends towards the finale on a guitar solo that evokes Dickey Betts and Neil Young’s angst.
“Safe In The Arms Of Vernacular” plays both autobiography and commentary, drawing from both childhood memory and adult challenges while Pony wrings the poetry from everyday traumas and contradictions. Compelled by intertwining guitar tones, the lines are textured, imploring the senses when he sings, “I’m writin’ bad checks in blue ink / She wipes the counters off, leaves the dishes in the sink / It smells like bleach in here.”