When Omaha/Council Bluffs natives Ryan Osbahr and Billie Frost collaborated in 2016, the pair decided to form Pony Creek, naming the venture after a small creek that runs between their homes. The duo soon grew their band, adding “chicken pickin’ extraordinaire” Eric Nelson on guitar, Travis Goddard on banjo, mandolin and electric guitar (depending on what the song calls for), George Cooper, bass player and the youngest member of Pony Creek at just 22 and Tim Blair on drums. That spring, Pony Creek released their debut album Easy Way Out, which earned nominations for Album of the Year and Best Country the Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards in 2016 and 2017.
Offering family friendly entertainment, Pony Creek frequently performs within the Okoboji, IA music scene in front of sold out crowds, like Wheels Up Festival for RAGBRAI 2017, Manning Street 2018. Southwest Iowa’s Tri City BBQ Fest. They’ve also opened for national artists such as Curtis Grimes (The Voice) in Texas, Jason Eddy, Jon Langston and Tucker Beathard while continuously growing their Midwest fan base. The group plays a consistent variety of genres including folk, blues, Americana, country and rock, quickly becoming the area’s hottest new act. With all that’s been successful, this up-and-coming band will release their sophomore album, Pott County, on September 21.
The 15 track country/rock album features guest appearances by Dan Olsen on keyboards, who is a member of Omaha locals Sack of Lions (opened for Kane Brown, Travis Tritt, and Charles Kelley), Corey Weber from the Omaha country group, and Clarence Tilton (played steel guitar on tracks 2, 5, & 7). With influences from Dwight Yoakam and Kacey Musgraves, the album is a mix of storytelling, including small town life, heartbreak, happiness, sadness, addiction, revenge and more.
Frost, who sings lead vocals and plays acoustic guitar, wrote “Doormat” and “Say What You Say“ on the new album. Growing up on a hay farm working for her dad, it’s safe to say that Frost is real deal country. She’s performed solo for several years before co-creating Pony Creek and is the firecracker of the band. Osbahr, who also sings lead and plays electric guitar, co-wrote most of the songs with Frost. Originally from a small town rural Iowa, Osbahr played in hard rock bands in Omaha while in his 20’s, but old country like Haggard, Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam were his first true love with music. He also draws inspiration from the heavy dose of bluegrass he grew up listening to, while attending festivals with his late mother.
The rock meets country sound of the group has strong vocals from both Osbahr and Frost. While the Osbahr’s vocals are low and husky, Frosts’ higher register often overpowers him, making harmonies not as blended on a couple of tunes, but the album’s steady rock sound make it a good contender for those seeking the rockin’ country vibe that leaves you on your feet dancing the night away.
We’ve highlighted a few notable tracks that are worth a listen. “Doormat” has strong vocals from Frost and lyrics that cleverly set the tone for the tale of “girl won’t let a man walk all over her” as she ditches the sinner in classy fashion by telling him “I won’t be your doormat”. (The recently released lyric video saw hits over 1,000 within the first 24 hours – click here to watch.)
The next two songs caught my eye for the storytelling and excellent harmonies. “Both To Blame” has a soft strumming guitar and strong harmonizing vocals that lead the listener into the heartbreak the two create, reminiscent of Chris Stapleton and his wife Morgane that audiences will easily relate to and could make this a favorite of fans new and old. The second, “This Ones For You” has a distinct tale of how alcohol got in the way of a happy marriage. The harmonies are strong, adding the bluesy vibe, along with an electric guitar that strums up the regret mid song.
“You Can Call” and the title track “Pott County” are upbeat rocking songs that will have crowds up and moving, while bluesy tunes like “I’ll Wait” and “Can’t Miss”will tug at the heartstrings.
Pott County was recorded in Omaha at ARC Studios and mastered by Lurssen Mastering, world renowned multi-GRAMMY winning mastering studio, with ties to artists like Sturgill Simpson, The Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars.
The release of Pott County can be found on all streaming platforms, with a subsequent CD release party on September 22 at Slowdown in Omaha with Sack of Lions and Clarence Tilton. Other Pony Creek music can be found on AMI Jukeboxes nationwide.
Pott County Track List:
1. You Can Call
2. Til Your Mine
4. Pott County
5. Both To Blame
6. How ‘Bout That
7. Say What You Say
8. I’ll Wait
10. Not The Enemy
11. All That I Want
12. He’s A Dream
13. Meant To Be
14. This Ones For You
15. Can’t Miss
For more information on the band, please visit: www.ponycreekband.com