Taking the American deep south and transporting it to Ireland in the form of swampy Lousiana folk rock, One Horse Pony take cajun beats and infuse them with a rootsy Corkonian charm. Aiming to get your feet stomping, the band are building on an acclaimed live show – so far, they’ve hit up Electric Picnic, Kilkenny Roots Festival, the Cork Jazz Festival and Indiependence – and looking to put it all on record.
Here’s what they had to say ahead of the launch of their new single ‘Muddy Waters’ this month. An EP, ‘Hot One’, produced by Gavin Glass, follows later this year.
Let’s start with a potted history of the band… Tell me your story.
We had a really organic beginning. We started life as a couple of strangers playing blues and folk around a table in the Franciscan Well in Cork, before it was the worldwide bastion of craft beer it is now. Over time, new members joined and more material got written. A two-year residency in Whelan’s, a couple of years spent on the festival circuit in Ireland and a couple of international tours put us and our songs through the mill, made us friends all over the world, gave us amazing adventures, a couple of funny stories, and a lot of laughs.
What are your musical backgrounds?
They’re varied. There’s a lot of old blues in what we do, as the title of the new single suggests, but throughout the upcoming EP Hot One, from which the new single is taken, there are nods to gypsy jazz, Irish trad, lots of gospel and the sort of roots grooves that make your shoulders move.
How did you come to be Louisiana-inspired in Cork?
They are both deep South. There’s lots of Irish inspired roots music going back hundreds of years. Cork is as much a melting pot of musical influences as New Orleans at the moment too. We also supported the Blind Boys of Alabama a few years ago and we loved their attitude to life.
How was working with Gavin Glass on the new single?
Gavin (Unkie Gav to us) is a force to be reckoned with. A serious artist in his own right, he has the musical chops, the ear and the enthusiasm to take a song and turn it into a statement. He has that gift of making a musician twice as good or half as bad.
What’s the story behind Muddy Waters?
It’s about dressing up and getting down!
What should we expect from the EP, and when’s it due?
The EP consists of four songs that were formed on the touring circuit. They started off as ideas and riffs that soon condensed into the outlines and concepts of the songs. It was then, with the help of Gavin wielding the hammer, that the songs were forged into what we have in the EP. So in a way, they are diverse but also all come from the same place.
The EP will be out in the next few months but we haven’t set a date yet.
What are you like as a live act?
Our high energy performances combine our deep passion for music with a foot-stomping good time!
What’s your favourite band story so far?
A few years ago we played a gig in Berlin at a venue that doubled as a yoga studio during the day and realised at 6.30am (when we were still playing) that a group of eager Germans with Yoga mats were queuing outside the door. It made for some interesting conversations on the way out.
I have to ask about the name – why One Horse Pony?
An unnamed member of the band mangled One Horse Town and One Trick Pony on a night out! it stuck!
Who else is impressing you musically in Cork at the moment?
Corks’ live music scene is an amazing melting pot, acts like Jack O Rourke, Marlene Enright, Mick Flannery and Brian Deedy, the list goes on. They’re all unique entertainers in their own right.
What are your hopes for the future?
Short term: Get through this tour and the summer festival season and then get back into the studio in the Autumn to record a new album.
Long term: To continue to deliver the best live gigs we can.
One Horse Pony launch their single ‘Muddy Waters’ at Whelan’s, this Sunday, May 20.