Wild Ponies is a Nashville-based band led by Virginia natives Doug and Telisha Williams. Doug and Telisha are from Martinsville, where boarded-up factories and shop windows serve as painful reminders of the grim economic plight of a small manufacturing town in an era of globalization. Doug first learned to play music from the elders of his family, hailing from musically-rich Galax, 77 miles west of Martinsville on Route 58. The Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention played a prominent role in Doug’s upbringing; he first appeared onstage in a banjo contest at age five.
Besides being fine old-time musicians, Doug’s family wrote many songs, and Doug has emerged as one of the region’s finest songwriters. Telisha learned to sing from her uncle Sammy, who sang with his brothers in a gospel quartet called the Believers. Together, Doug and Telisha write and perform country, honky-tonk, and Americana music that draws from their experiences growing up in Martinsville and life on the road. They put their own indelible stamp on their music, which is steeped in tradition but infused with vitality, moxie, creativity, and soul. Doug and Telisha recently returned to Doug’s grandfather’s farm in Galax, bringing along Nashville musical friends Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard, and Audrey Spillman, to record in the farm’s vacant shed with some local old-time players including Snake and Kyle Dean Smith, and fiddler Kilby Spencer of the Crooked Road Ramblers. The music was recorded live with a mobile recording unit, with little rehearsal, and without overdubs or other forms of studio trickery. The result is their new album Galax, a hauntingly beautiful recording.