The Cow Ponies would be right at home in a proper honky-tonk, their classic country-meets-rockabilly sound crafted unwittingly (or wittingly) for simultaneously dancing up a storm and chasing lifeâ€™s storm clouds away in a tall glass of something non-liver-friendly.Â John and Robin Graham lead the way, trading vocals and snarling stories peppered with lively guitars and that heartstring tug of the pedal steel.
Members of the Cow Ponies got their early start as Milwaukee rockers and rollers, playing in groups like the Cocktails/Rock-a-Dials, Those XCleavers, Torn Soul, Xposed 4heads and Resist Her Transistor. With John Graham on guitar and vocals, Robin Graham on vocals, Tom Tiedjens on bass and vocals, Keith Bolog on pedal steel and vocals and Andy Stilin on drums, the band uses those rock roots to open up into a more full-on rootsy sound, picking up that bit of rockabilly that was often the foundation of the Rock-a-Dials and their other projects.
On Tuesday, May 3, the Cow Ponies played on WMSEâ€™s Local/Live. At the end of Local/Live, for the "This Is Your Song" segment where the musical guest chooses one musician or group (and one song) that has influenced their own music, John Graham dished on why Robert Gordon and Link Wrayâ€™s "Lonesome Train" really gets to him. If anyone recalls the Rock-a-Dials, they will surely remember the Rock-a-Dialsâ€™ version of this tune. Clearly, this singular song has been one of Grahamâ€™s longest burning song flames.
Catch the full segment in the WMSE archives, and below, get band leader John Grahamâ€™s take on why Robert Gordon â€“ especially when paired with Link Wray â€“ is his biggest influence of all-time.
- Musician/Band: The Cow Ponies
- WMSEâ€™s Local/Live Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2016
- "This Is Your Song" pick: "Lonesome Train (on a Lonesome Track)" by Robert Gordon with Link Wray (from the album "Fresh Fish Special," released in 1978)
- Interviewed: John Graham (guitarist and vocalist)
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