Doug and Telisha Williams, the Nashville-based, country-roots musical duo known as Wild Ponies, have a mystical connection. Sweethearts and bandmates since high school, they have the sort of telepathy that makes both conversations and music come naturally (albeit to the constant bewilderment of their drummers). They finish each other’s thoughts, turning something special held inside into something beautiful, shared with both one another and with their community.
The Venn diagram between Doug and Telisha and Wild Ponies — the personal and the professional — has been close to a circle. In fact, their debut album, 2006’s Rope Around My Heart, was credited simply to Doug & Telisha Williams because their passion for their songs and for each other felt so in tune. Over the course of their 17-year career, they have released five albums, hosted the long-running “Whiskey Wednesday” radio show on Nashville’s WSM, led eight annual distillery tour Trail Rides for fans and friends, and garnered devoted musical audiences all over the world.
Their live shows, which have often totaled into the hundreds per year, are notoriously personal. No one is merely a spectator at a Wild Ponies show; there are only enthusiastic participants on a collective musical journey. Whether it’s Doug and Telisha with their acoustic guitar and upright bass, respectively, or a full rock ‘n’ roll outfit with drums and electric guitar, everyone is welcomed into the magic.
But during the height of lockdown, without an outlet to share that musical connection in their favorite way, Doug and Telisha launched Dreamers Food Truck with their partner, Laura Schneider. Their hope was not just to earn an income during the music industry shutdown, but also to make a tangible difference in the lives of struggling Nashvillians. During its nearly two-year existence, Dreamers Food Truck fed locals buying a quick pizza or bowl for themselves, launched a pay-it-forward program, and donated more than 5,000 meals to those in need.
The Dreamers experiment also brought new people and new ideas into Doug and Telisha’s lives. Those experiences redefined their view of who comprises their nuclear family and what having children can mean, as they became certified foster parents and soon-to-be FET (fetal embryo transfer) parents. “We realized that there’s a limited amount of time and energy you can spend,” says Telisha, “but love is not finite.”
The culmination of these changes has only reaffirmed what Doug and Telisha have known about themselves all along — that any action they take must feed their community, family, and art. As Doug says simply, “We’re redefining family and community and our place in that.” So as Wild Ponies gear up for the next chapter of their lives and prepare to release new music, they’re recommitting to these priorities and introducing a reinvigorated sense of lyrical progressivism and community service.
In their wondrously intertwining identities and lives, Wild Ponies’ music is fueled by Doug and Telisha’s love; in turn, that love keeps their art fresh, earnest, and honest. What makes Wild Ponies so special, though, is how their community responds, perpetuating such a mystical connection in generous and unexpected ways. For Wild Ponies, that feedback loop is the circle that remains unbroken. It just keeps getting larger to welcome everybody who wants to join.
“The result is a beautifully crafted sweep through mountain music, paying homage to its venerable roots but also creating a contemporary feel.” -Americana Music Show
“Wild Ponies just might be Americana’s new dark horses.” -No Depression
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