Like Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, Paula Boggs has continually gone above her steadfast role as a musician to let music serve a greater purpose. The Seattle-based “soulgrass” singer sings with the urgency of Janiva Magness and the relentless charisma of Yola, yet retains a sense of linear musical motion that transcends typical pop song formats. The Paula Boggs Band, known for their signature blend of bluegrass, jazz, and Americana music, is back with their new album Janus out April 1st. This forthcoming new album is a journey through the 2020s, with each song representing an aspect of life during the triple pandemics of public health, race, and politics.
Glide is premiering the new Paula Boggs band single “Ponies” an ambitious charmer that curates with Dylan Desire era multi-dimensional expressiveness along with storied lyrics worth continually revisiting. Check out the track below and Boggs’ in-depth description and inspiration behind the tune.
When I was six years old my family moved from the campus of a historically Black college, where my dad was a professor, to 10 acres in Chesterfield County, VA. Neither of my parents had lived on acreage before. They were both city kids. Somehow though the romanticism of owning a horse took hold and without any experience, and sort of impulsively, my mom went to a horse auction with our next-door neighbors and came back home with a pony. My mom didn’t know when she bought the pony, but Flash was actually pregnant so before we knew it we had two ponies we knew nothing about. Thank God for neighbors and before long my cousin Junebug moved in with us knowing a thing or two. To this day my mom can’t articulate what came over her to do this and such is life. Covid gave me space to return to this funnily absurd childhood memory. If we’re lucky, many of us do something inexplicably impulsive at least once in our life. Maybe it’s a rebound marriage. Perhaps it’s jumping in our car and driving until we run out of gas or land. It could be anything really that contrasts with the “normal” you. In general, my mom is a very responsible and thoughtful person. The song celebrates the “romantic” within us.
Though “Ponies” doesn’t really sound like his music, I’m inspired by the wry sense of humor Hayes Carll brings to many of his songs. I wrote the song with ukulele because I’d broken my left thumb and so couldn’t play guitar for a year. There’s a direct connection between the chord progressions on “Ponies” and the fact I wrote it with a ukulele. On the recording band member, Darren Loucas is playing electric and slide acoustic guitar, ukulele, and banjo — four different instruments— and does a fabulous job with each. In live performances I play the ukulele, band member Mark Chinen plays banjo and Darren plays lap steel guitar.