Ponderosa Pines, the debut release by local band Painted Horses, is a gorgeous record. They’ve taken an old-timey folk aesthetic and given it a mellow vibe, with subtle texturing of soft backing instruments. According to band leader Denys Kozakis, the songs are also quite personal.
That wasn’t the case with his last project, which was a rock ’n’ roll band. It was always about just having fun. When he sat alone in his room writing the music that would eventually make up Ponderosa Pines, he knew he wanted to do it right. He recruited vocalist Natosha Wengreen and bassist Jon Payne to join the band. They, along with some other musician friends, raised over $7,000 on Kickstarter to be able to record it at Prairie Sun Studios in Cotati, and it’ll be released this Friday.
“The actual recording of the album was really quick. It was more the kind of getting ready and organizing everything,” Kozakis says. “The challenge was figuring out which way the songs could go. They’re pretty soft actually. We didn’t want to add too many things where there’s just stuff going in and out everywhere. We want to keep them more lyrically based.”
The group is no longer just Kozakis’ private solo project, it’s a full-fledged trio. The process of playing with the different musicians and recording the album has helped give shape to these personal songs he was writing away from everyone else.
“I like the ’60s psychedelic and the old time country stuff. It’s a mix of that kind of stuff and some of the new indie stuff I listen to and just the mix of my songs, I guess,” Kozakis says. “I just try to mix it all together really. We just wanted to have a good mix of everything.”
INFO: 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 27. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $15/adv, $20/door. 427-2227.