I had a chance to catch up with long time Midwest friends, Tyler and Kyle Davis of Chrome Pony as I was helping them pack their gear out of Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory last Wednesday. So where’s the band’s next gig?– A casino over the Long Island Sound in Connecticut.– Why a casino? — To pay for plane tickets, so they can begin their European tour as primary support for Cage The Elephant!
About 9 years ago, I found myself walking the streets of Nashville, near the Cumberland River, with Tyler, who had recently moved there from Terre Haute, Indiana. As our conversation twisted and turned, he gave me a piece of advice that has lingered ever since. He said: “be sure not to get too comfortable.” It was one of his many reasons for making the move to Nashville and a primary reason for many of my moves and experiences since that chat.
Jettisoning from the comfort of the Midwest into the unknown has certainly paid off for the two brothers and the band. Last year, Kyle had the opportunity to fill in as drummer for Cage The Elephant’s Arena tour with Muse. After talking about many of his experiences on tour he explained:
“You know how it is growing up in bands in the Midwest. Your band members aren’t just people you happen to work with, but are an all accepting family that has your back and no matter what. This is what I loved most about working with Cage. They’re from Bowling Green, Kentucky. They are midwest through and through and have that same intense family mindset, which allows them to be genuine to each other, their fans, and music. We naturally got along great and became part of each other’s families.”
Being true to yourself is a rarity in the world of music, I find. But that is exactly what Chrome Pony has done. Their honesty and humility about their musical quest make it all the more apparent. The band believes that every day brings them one step closer to creating music that is true to who they are and gives them the opportunity to become better musicians than they were the day before. As Kyle put it:
“The days we think we’ve had a good show are usually our worst. Those are the days we forget that there are still many improvements to be made.”
Their family togetherness, strives to constantly improve, and continually progress towards their true sound result in some killer tunes and a fantastic live show. Their raw, stripped-down sound leaves room for everyone in the band to contribute. The rhythm section cuts deep grooves reminiscent of good ‘ole Rock n’ Roll and Rhythm and Blues. The overdriven guitar and keys fill the middle with complementary and simultaneously raw and dreamy sounds. The vocals, sung by Tyler and Kyle, remind me of the Violent Femmes mixed with Jack White and the South’s chilled out but still partying vocal style of the 70’s. The combination gets everyone moving and smiling. Energy, even on a more mellow tune, fills whatever room they play with love and excitement.
The music is real. Their sound is true. Their love for each other is genuine and deep. And I sincerely doubt they will ever get too comfortable. Chrome Pony may be from Nashville, but their midwest roots and aesthetic are the rocks that keep them moving.
Break a leg in Europe, boys. See ya back in the States sometime soon!
You can check out the band’s track premiere, “Ragged Child” that was premiered on Gold Flake Paint from their EP Past Lives, to be released on February 5th UK/International and in the U.S. March 11th via Seagreen Records.