Side Pony is an interesting project in that it is a collaboration between two artists, Alice Wallace and Caitlin Cannon, who have previously recorded solo albums that have been well received. These two singers came together and immediately realized they had something together. You could say that was a lucky break for everyone, including the listeners.
Lucky Break was produced by guitarist Doug Lancio, who played with Patty Griffin for 14 years. Of Wallace, he said, “Alice Wallace is a powerhouse of a singer, in the classic definition, I’ve wanted to work on a record with her since I first heard her voice.” It was a stroke of fortune that Wallace and Cannon decided to work together and that Lancio got his wish. The result of their work is eight songs that will get you dancing and singing along with these two talented artists.
If an artist only has a couple seconds to catch the attention of a listener, Side Pony accomplishes that mission. The first lyrics of “Bad Idea” are, “It takes me more than twice to learn a lesson. A headache never taught me not to throw back that last shot.” This is an upbeat boot-stomper all about the bad ideas we sometimes have and then dealing with the repercussions of those bad ideas the next day. It’s the sort of song that could easily become an anthem for rooms full of people who have probably made bad decisions of their own.
“Heels” is another light-hearted song. The rhythm and the steel guitar in this song brings Waylon Jennings to mind while the guitar brings a rock component to the song. In it, they sing about how women have traditionally been expected to play second fiddle to a man. The message is one of empowerment, namely that “I won’t take my heels off for you.” This one is sure to have ladies singing along loudly when it is performed live.
As awful as things have been with the pandemic and confinement, the two find a way to see the humor in the situation. With a rollicking piano part and a danceable melody, they sing about watching every show on Netflix and some impulsive purchases made as the result of having two much time on their hands.
While it’s clear that Wallace and Cannon are not afraid to have fun with their lyrics, they also show that they can sing about more serious topics. “Under the Surface” dives pretty deep into the issue of mental and emotional health. The narrator of the song talks about “hiding in plain sight” and avoiding people. It hits particularly hard when the two sing, “Still waters run deep. You can’t always see it when somebody’s hurting.” It’s a powerful message that we would all to well to take to heart every day.
Lucky Break (Mule Kick Records) by Side Pony is a fine display of songwriting. Wallace and Cannon know how to turn a phrase that can make you smile or make you feel something deep in your heart. Whether the lyrics are light-hearted or serious, they both show that they are not only talented songwriters but also powerful vocalists. The album will be available everywhere on October 8. Order your copy here.
Alice Wallace – guitar, vocals
Caitlin Cannon – vocals
Doug Lancio – guitar
Chris Autry – Bass
Bryan Owings – drums
Andrew Sovine – guitar
Caleb Mundy – bass
Erin Nelson – drums
Michael Webb – keyboards
Dan Dugmore – pedal steel