Umpqua Watersheds Blog

KQUA 99.7 "The River", News, Wilderness

Slow Ponies has a new album and will be in UV Magazine

Published November 2nd, 2020 in KQUA 99.7 "The River", News, Wilderness

A seven-piece all-woman band specializing in songs of the Silver Screen era, The Slow Ponies started singing together in 2004 although the members have been singing all their lives. Based in a rural area of western Oregon, this “cowgirl band” recreates the sweet harmonies, lively yodels, and spirited lyrics of cowboy music classics like “Ride, Tenderfoot, Ride,” “Ridin’ Down the Canyon” and “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds.” They also include more contemporary favorites like “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” “The General He Don’t Ride Well Anymore,” and “They Call the Wind Maria.” Guitar, fiddle and bass provide the instrumental accompaniment from Melissa Ruth, Linda Danielson and Liz Crain, respectively.

Back in the 1930s and 40s, people would flock to movie theaters to see cowboy heroes like Gene Autry ride his horse into town, fight outlaws, win the pretty girl’s hand, and sing all about it around a campfire. During the Depression, movies provided entertaining diversions, and the timing is now perfect again for The Slow Ponies to lead a resurgence of this fun, inspirational music. These songs embody more than sentimental messages, panoramic vistas, romantic images and catchy hooks. On their live album, The Slow Ponies introduce each song with interesting historical narrative. The lyrics show that these songs are classics and timeless, embodying principles of law, order, equality, truth and justice. That’s why The Slow Ponies deserve a listen during these stressful, challenging times. Their crooning is honest and sincere, and their show is also more than just music. It’s an entertaining cultural experience providing hope and optimism during troubled times.

The Slow Ponies’ vision of the great American western way also includes several original songs that are quite unique. A noted author and historian, Shannon Applegate penned “George Fletcher’s Cowboy Hat” to tell a true tale of a black buckaroo at the 1911 Pendleton Roundup. “Café Vaquero,” inspired by Applegate’s mother, is the story of a Hispanic American family. Written by Susan Applegate, “Pancho” is about a palomino stallion some say “was the finest horse in all the countryside, on cue he’d whinny and rear just like Trigger.” The song incorporates words from Chinuk Wawa, a language that is a combination of many Indian languages from the Northwest. Another singer, songwriter and storyteller in the group is Esther Stutzman, a descendant of the Yoncalla Komemma people’s headman, Camafeema. Friendship between the Applegate’s and Stutzman’s ancestors goes back several generations, and The Slow Ponies close their show with Stutzman’s humorous “Song of the Aging Cowgirl.” The Slow Ponies’ live album is a celebratory tribute to cowgirls and cowboys, and it serves as inspiration to the next generation of saddle pals riding along on their happy trails.

(Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)


Longtime Umpqua Watersheds members are part of the Slow Ponies. They have a new CD from a live recording in 2018 and a nice feature in Umpqua Valley Magazine. UV Magazine is a quarterly publication that features stories and folks from around Douglas County. Slow Ponies will be in the mid-late November edition.


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