The unique sound and vocal timbre produced in ‘Headin’ West’ is signature to The Ponderosa Aces. This five song EP transports one to a beaten out, smoky, community filled, honky tonk bar in Southern Texas. Nonetheless, The Ponderosa Aces hail from Long Beach, California and generate a short, snappy, and subtly sentimental set of songs that are a pleasure to listen to. Mike Maddux creates a chilling, yet lulling diaphragmatic tone that resonates alongside the sound of the steel guitar. These low lulling sounds are shadowed by Bigshed’s vocals and Bass guitar. Rodriguez adds a modern twist to the Real Country sounds with a subtly sustained drum beat alongside Alex Griggs on guitar.
These real country sounds are not void of meaning and each song is deeply thought provoking. The music deals with the issues of heartbreak in ‘Night of a Couple of Heartaches’, working class social experience in ‘Play the Game’, sense of place in ‘Southbound Train’, and the general troubles faced in everyday working life. The meaning in these songs is felt through the music, and that deserves merit in itself. The guitar intro in ‘Death Row’ is a carefully constructed guitar riff that carries the vocals of this song addressing our existence. This song is followed by an upbeat song called ‘Headin’ West’ which concludes the palpable shiver of emotion running through this album.
The honky tonk sounds produced by the Ponderosa Aces are a soothing listen for all, the lulling tonal sounds of artistic anguish are an exemplary example of working class blue-collar art. Hopefully it will inspire more people to “head west” for their aural fix.
Currently, live performances are only in California, but these songs are available to listen to on their Facebook page which you can find below.