Good things happen to those who wait.
After a year of waiting to get it right, local group One Horse Shy are about to see their hard work and patience pay off.
This past weekend, the Southern Oregon based Americana band released their self-titled debut CD at Alex’s restaurant in downtown Ashland. After recording, mixing and mastering the 13-track debut over the last year, One Horse Shy is ready to release it at a series of performances scheduled throughout the Rogue Valley. The recordings feature the band’s signature sound, with vocalists Manda Bryn, SOU psychology instructor, and Chris Kelly singing most of the original tunes while instrumentalists Mysha Caruso, Bryan Helfrich and Bob Evoniuk lend their own support to keep the music going strong.
Recorded and produced by the band’s percussionist Bryan Helfrich, the self-titled album takes the listener on a journey through the sounds of traditional and modern American folk music. The songs range from slow, introspective ballads to up-tempo alt-country numbers, all while maintaining the unique One Horse Shy sound.
Guest performers on the album include harmonica solos by Lincoln Zeve, fiddle by Crystal Reeves and Shaina Evoniuk, the five-string banjo of Rick Nelson and keyboard provided by Phil Plunkett.
The group is an ensemble of songwriters and experienced musicians, drawn together namely by their affection for Americana. Formed in 2007, the quintet has taken any chance they get to travel the Northwest and to span their music into as many regions as possible, developing a following in the process. Their influences include Johnny Cash, Gillian Welch and Bill Monroe, which are all evident in both their live performances and on their debut album.
The album opens with "Honey In My Tea," a country anthem filled with characters in the backdrop of small town America.
Manda Bryn lends her breathy, seductive and powerful vocals to the album, like "Dead End Road, " which is filled with slide guitars by the band’s own Bob Evoniuk and driving drum lines. Bryn’s voice is reminiscent of a combination of female folk and country legends like Emmylou Harris, Nancy Griffith and Gillian Welch.
"Christmas Lights," is a standout song with a bluesy harmonica intro and Byrn’s voice lent to a sad tale of a woman whose life is out of order:
"Cowboy boots, vintage dress/28 years, my life’s a mess. Chronically tired, clinically depressed, but I loved you anyway."
Beginning to end, the self-titled One Horse Shy album is a great piece of Americana, which makes it even more of a treat knowing the band was born in the Rogue Valley and has since flourished.
One Horse Shy will perform two free shows at this year’s Midsummer’s Dream Festival at the Briscoe Art Wing in Ashland on June 14 at 6 p.m. and June 15 at 11 a.m. The band will have plenty of copies of their new release for sale at all of their upcoming shows. The album is also available at the Music Coop in Ashland, on cdbaby.com and on iTunes. For more information about the band and their album, visit their Web site at www.onehorseshy.net or www.myspace.com/onehorseshy.