Ponyno
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Ponyno

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"Ponyno–A Humble Heart"

It is good to find an artist like Ponyno.
A humble heart isn’t often something we associate with music stars nor is the word humble usually understood in our time to be a good thing. There are several meanings to the word that may not be considered flattering today, but the unpretentious sense is what I’m speaking of. Jeff Hatch, front man for Ponyno shows God in his life and by association how God works in yours.
In his earlier career Jeff Hatch played with Green Ice. But he put his family first, yet he more recently started playing music publicly again. His songs of family life tells of his love for his large family and wife.
Hatch is the creative mind that is Ponyno.
The CD “Rosa Mystica” is full of charming melodies and great folk/ rock/county sounds. To my ear Ponyno has a basic and honest approach to music that is like a beautiful summer day. The lead guitar in “Anne Marie” has that new country sound, clear harmony in the vocals, the lyrics are sincere, romantic, and clean (so refreshing). Also a good tempo produced with drums and bass.
“Mother of God” is an unusual song that is uplifting and places the spiritual life in the middle of everyday life, where it should be. It definitely has that Partridge Family thing going on. “The Coffee Shop Ballad” is reminiscent of Peter, Paul, and Mary…a very homey all American song. I definitely hear a banjo in this song, although the band lineup doesn’t mention a banjo player. And what nice banjo strummin’ and pickin’.
Ponyno adds uplifting songs to popular music. I’ll be waiting to hear more from Ponyno.
- Deltachord


"Rosa Mystica"

Jeff Hatch, the cornerstone of Ponyno, was working on a song one night, struggling with words, and all of a sudden everything flowed. Words poured out of the sky, you might say, and before Jeff knew it, I Believe was completed. The next day, he heard that a dear friend had died unexpectedly during the night, one Louis Borges, and he somehow knew that Borges had helped him write that song. Hatch had known Borges for some time, had admired his relationship with his wife and his totally positive outlook on life. Borges was friend in every sense of the word. No doubt, "I Believe" is both happy and sad for Hatch, a musical reminder just how precious life is. It is that theme which ties together all of the songs of Rosa Mystica. If Hatch did not know that life is good when he started this project, he knows it now.

One listen should convince you that he did indeed know. Hatch is a spiritual man, for sure, but that spirit is not always dominated by that of religion. He lives as much in the Spirit of Man, if you will, that impossible to define spirit of brotherhood which drives so many of us to do good. Thus, from the rocking Mother of God and Could It Be to the churchy and ethereal All Our Life and I Believe, the songs are infused with an uplifting attitude, a look at life from above, be it in spirit or otherwise.

The songs all work, some a little better than others (as with all albums). There is the Jimmy Buffett-influenced On Your Way, with its steel drums and smooth rocking beat; the harder rocking All Comin' Back; the choogling Anne Marie, with its great full-chorus-as-vocal effect and simple but amazingly effective guitar break; and the country-influenced and twangy-without-hoke There's a House. There is even the very Parrish and Gurvitz-sounding Stone Cold Love, a real plus for the few of us who remember with great affection the one early '70s album released by that short-lived duo.

Where Hatch and crew really do their magic, though, is on the aforementioned All Our Life and I Believe, spiritual and uplifting in so many ways. The high is pushed higher on each by a chorus reminiscent of those employed on the '50s recordings of Red Foley and Vaughn Monroe and while Hatch does not have the basso profundo eminence of those two (so few have had), he shrouds himself within the voices surrounding him to perfection. The sound is seldom achieved, odd in itself because of its simplicity, and is most welcome.

Hearty pats on the back go to Hatch, of course, but also to Nick Holman and Angel Weaver for their choral work and background vocals, to Margretha Bjorklund for her spot on work on pedal steel, and to Jeremy Manly's incredibly apt church organ sound. And Gary Reynolds? Button-pusher, first class.
Track List:

* Mother of God
* Coffee Shop Ballad
* All Our Life
* All Comin' Back
* Anne Marie
* I Believe



* There's a House
* Could It Be
* I Really Love You
* Away
* Stone Cold Love
* On Your Way

All songs composed and published 2007 by Jeff Hatch.

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
- Peterborough Folk Music Society


"Rosa Mystica - Ponyno"

Jeff Hatch is the singer and songwriter for Ponyno. He did some time as drummer for Green Ice, who passed through Seattle in the mid-80s. I'm not familiar with that band, but I'm betting these 70s-influenced country rockers don't sound much like Hatch's old outfit.

They do sound awfully good, though. Hatch has a wonderful easygoing feel for his material, and the songs rollick and roll along. There's more than a bit of Gram Parsons in the harmonies here, but the general song structure is more straightforward pop-rock.

Throw in a little pedal steel and organ and the sound is almost perfect. Hatch's experience-worn lyrics are wry--and often wise as well. This album has sunset written all over it. I'd like to call this a "shine on" sound, but I don't know if that makes sense even to me.

Whatever you call it, please call it good. Ponyno is one of those projects that kinda comes out of nowhere to really impress. The sorta thing I simply can't put down.

- Jon Worley - A&A - Aiding & Abetting - Jon Worley


Discography

Rosa Mystica

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Bio

In our pretentious society, seldom will you find an artist grounded enough to credit a one-hit wonder as the inspiration for their foray into a musical career. For Jeff Hatch, the mind behind Ponyno, the possibility that his music could evoke the same happiness he felt from the catchy hook of the The Stampeders 1971 hit “Sweet City Woman” was reason enough to pursue this artistic endeavor. If his music could create the same joy for one listener then, in his mind, he is a success. Due to our ingrained jadedness, resulting from a music industry turned capitalistic, it is difficult to truly grasp the profoundness of such humble aspirations.

The foundation for Hatch’s love of a pleasant melody was established as early as age seven, as he often found himself parked in front of the television lost in the heartwarming tunes of David Cassidy and the Partridge Family. During the earliest stages of adulthood Hatch took to music as a creative release. Finding himself amid the burgeoning Seattle music scene, he began to play with a local band called Green Ice. Music soon lost priority, however, as he took on the roles of husband and father. After a 15-year recess he returned to music with a fiery passion. Always urging his children to be unrelenting in pursuit of their dreams, Hatch felt compelled as a role model to hold true to the lesson he taught. With the help of renowned Seattle producer Gary Reynolds (Carrie Underwood, U2) the resulting album, Rosa Mystica, is 12 beautifully composed tracks charmed with the intuitive and nurturing personality of a true family man.

Everything surrounding Ponyno carries a great deal of symbolic meaning. The band name is an idiomatic Native American term representing the village black sheep; for Hatch it serves to recognize the shortcomings of the human condition and offer submission to a higher power for guidance. As a Devout Catholic, he aims to bring spirituality back to secular music. Rather than employ the preachy manner that isolates much of contemporary Christian music, Hatch merely uses his music to share his love for God, and all His creation. The title of his debut album, Rosa Mystica, is part of this praise, as Mary, the Mother of God, is referred to as The Mystical Rose.

In the early years, as a novice song writer, Hatch strived to create songs that would change the world. George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “The man who writes about himself and his own time is the man who writes about all people and all time.” This is directly relevant for Hatch, as he became a more seasoned songwriter he turned inward and wrote of what he knew: his love for his wife and eight children, experiences of the past, and his faith. Throughout Rosa Mystica, listeners will find enchanting melodies drifting below lyrics that possess a refreshing sincerity. As a self-taught guitarist, and with influences stretching multiple genres, his sound lands somewhere in the realm of acoustic folk with a bit of country twang. It has often been described as, “if Neil Diamond went country” or “a blending of The Grateful Dead and the Partridge Family.”

-Trevor Dye, Ariel Publicity