Calico Jim by Pony BradshawRelease date: January 29, 2021
It is so easy to lump an artist into some neatly set up category, in this case, Country Rock, or Americana, if you will, and leave it at that, without going any deeper into their music or its merits. Usually, in quite a number of cases, such music remains neglected on a shelf or in some ‘to hear later’ file. But if you label Pony Bradshaw and the music he comes upon his album Calico Jim with just above categories and leave it (usually not listened to) at that, you would be doing both him and yourself quite some injustice.
Sure, Bradshaw operates in the above-mentioned categories of Americana and Country Rock. And yes, his musical part of the journey on Calico Jim is as immaculate and assured as quite a number of artists and albums that fit these two categories.
Still, there are two elements (along with the excellent musicianship) that stand out here. First and foremost, it is Bradshaw’s storytelling ability reflected in his lyrics. You can easily hear why Bradshaw calls this part Southern gothic, part North Georgia storybook tales. No wonder, since Bradshaw is from those parts (of the mountains) and has soaked up the imagery to the full. And he is able to express it to the full too.
Of course, all that imagery and storytelling would have very little effect if Bradshaw’s vocals were up to scratch. Fortunately, he is able to draw out all the ounces of his vocal capabilities and personal experience and transfer them into his songs. Calico Jim is one of those Americana albums that stand close to the top of recent releases within this genre.