When you think of Kansas, you think of pretty terrains and golden fields. Yet, beyond the landscapes are people that carry stories, and some of them are not happy tales of love. Thus, Kansas City native Heidi Lynne Gluck delivers her debut LP Pony Show like a bluesy rodeo into the boredom and beauty of love.
Heidi Lynne Gluck has created an album that is big in its smallness. Its songs remind of 90’s folk with their simple guitar and drum arrangements, and moody coos over love’s highs and lows. She is not an artist for spectacle despite her debut being called Pony Show. Instead, her album feels like a giant behind the scenes look into what makes a show, particularly one based on love. What happens when you take the cowboy hat off, you turn down the stage lights, and you put the horses in their stables? What happens when no is looking at you but yourself? Gluck has created an album that sounds deeply personal like the diary of a woman who lives for the fantastical dreams of a relationship but battles the melancholic realities of it.
Gluck has been likened to a modern Joni Mitchell, which Pony Show honors that comparison. Like Mitchell, Gluck has a striking voice that may not be powerful in range but is potent delivery. Her voice carries a gentle firmness as she describes her love woes like a vivid picture. Her words are strongly imaginative, but her voice is quietly insightful as she effortlessly sings some heavy heart matters. How she annotates and annunciates melodies allows her voice to be distinct because of its usage more than its sound. She knows how to make lyrics come to life like a storyteller, which is perfect considering her songs feel more like breaths from a living soul than album tracks.
For Gluck, like all humanity, she is certain about what defines her environment but is not certain about what defines her. It is this element that allows Gluck to add a country drawl to her words. Often, country songs lyrically target the versus of fantastical, “big city dreams” and the humbler, simple life that we all face. Like a pony show, once the sensation of the moment fades, how do you recoup from the instant high that is love when it first enters to your life to the consistent low a passion can turn into? For Gluck, healing begins with self-reflectiveness.
I enjoy albums that are piano driven because, for me, there is no better instrument to ignite your inner thoughts and imagination. In Pony Show, Gluck has composed soulful piano vibrations that allow you to submit to the surrounding world she has sonically built. You can see the town, the people, the happiness, and the hurt that will cross her path. Thus, for being an earthly-toned album, she has made something quite celestial. Pony Show creates the mental dichotomy Gluck wishes to capture: how do you deal with your head in the clouds when your feet are tied to the ground? What better than the piano to create catchy pop compositions and Gluck’s coolly voiced, heartfelt messages to figure out said question.
Better Homes & Gardens: rhythmically playful but lyrically honest, this track is for the dreamer in all of us that looks outside and wonders, ‘Where is better? And how do I get there?”
Sadness Is Psychedelic: First, I love the title of this song. You know that a song is going to be stunning if its title is poetry. Yet, this is not a psychedelia- rock jam as one may assume with its “psychedelic” citation, Instead, it is a violin, country croon that ponders if the sadness of a lover is a mental trip from which he can recover? (Yes, I did just rhyme that on purpose lol!)
Wolf: beautifully composed and sung, it embodies the pain of knowing you are the one that will damage someone’s heart. It is not easy to always be the heartbreaker, and wonder why you tear into hearts like a wolf rather than keep them like a human being?
Heidi Lynne Gluck’s Pony Show comes out August 26. For More Information on this artist Click Here.