While some wonder how to fill all those hours in a day, there are those who are so busy that one wonders, where do they find the time? Take GaWaNi Ponyboy, an Eastern Band Cherokee: he is the author of 11 books, a horse behaviorist teacher and speaker, a Christian Surfer and minister, founder of Iyuptala University, the Executive Editor of the bi-monthly magazine Horses and Women, and now, musician and record producer with the duo AcoustiCon.
The triad released their first self-titled album March 1st. Billed as the new direction in Native American music, it is a unique blend of spectacular guitar playing, piano and the First Nations spirit.
It’s a different kind of trip than your traditional Native music, there are no flutes, no pow wow drumming, and yet one can feel a definite Native essence throughout. Even the traditional songs have a twist, like “Ponca,” a traditional Ponca war song; it rocks out with guitar licks reminiscent of “Big Log” from The Principle of Moments album by Robert Plant. Most of the songs are instrumental with an 80s rock feel to them (minus the spandex) that switch effortlessly from soft to hard rock.
If music was a place, much of this album would be vast untamed open spaces with warm sunshine playing through the clouds and either gentle waves crashing onto the shore or long grass blowing softly in the wind. And there would most definitely be horses! One can almost feel their presence and see their manes flowing as they kick up spray in the ocean.
Known to all as Pony, he attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music, studying production, engineering and piano in the 80s. But his life took another path. Having been around horses since the age of 2, he began teaching about them. Within a few years Pony became the most sought after speaker in the horse industry. Most weekends are spent at horse clinics, trade shows, and public appearances all around the world.
In 2003 he crossed paths with bassist David Simmons and guitarist Brad Sayre. Musically, they meshed well. Pony says they had no intentions with the album: “It’s experimental. We just wanted to put it out and see what happened.”
Thus far the response has been phenomenal, Pony says. “It’s not what people expected. We didn’t want to do a Native album; we just wanted to make music.”
If Pony seems unimpressed by his accomplishments, it’s due to his faith and understanding that this is the path he was meant to be on, something he wrote about in his first book.
Originally Horse, Follow Closely contained a passage in the closing remarks by the famous prayer of Chief Seattle. The week it went to print, Pony learned it was a fraud (it was written by a non-Native).
Having very little time, Pony wrote a passage just as eloquent and meaningful. It began with “Our paths crossing was not a mistake.” Then continues, “Though our grandmothers could not know which flowers we’d pick or which stones would make us stumble, our Creator surely did.”
For more info and mp3’s go to www.ponyboy.com