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Wild Horses - Frontier Free For All
Album Review by Cheryl H. Hill

Related "in spirit, " Angela Rae, Michael Blake Mahler, Steve Kellough, and Ralph McCauley comprise one of the most talented, personable, charming and exciting groups in country music today. On their album jacket it says (in part), "We're Wild Horses and we take our name very seriously.  We believe in running free across the musical landscape, accepting no boundaries or limitations [and] if you are gonna ask us if we're country or if we're rock, we'll unapologetically tell ya 'You bet'."

A few years ago, after my first encounter with this talented group at Fan Fair, I remarked that Wild Horses were an unbridled stampede of sheer exuberance and after listening to Frontier Free For All, let me reiterate ... like expensive wine, and many of the finer things in life, they only get better as time goes by. In the years since our first meeting they have fine-tuned and skillfully honed themselves. They have perfected a unified charisma, and their passion for entertaining is obvious.  When they say they "have a good ol' time being free," they truly mean it, and it shows in their energy and enthusiasm when they perform.

Staying true to themselves hasn't been easy for them nor endeared them to the powers-that-be in Nashville. As Mahler puts it, "we've drifted through a couple of major labels" and Kellough told me, "we've been so image consulted that I don't recognize myself in the mirror anymore." Sooooo, with a encouragement from a legion of devoted fans across the country, a top 40 song ("I Will Survive" from the PRB produced Dancing With Thunder CD), a video that made the regular play lists of CMT and GAC and one of Mahler's songs ("Wood and Wire") recorded by the legendary George Jones on his current CD; Wild Horses has finally made the decision to stampede country radio sans major backing. This move gives them creative control and the freedom to perform the music they believe in the most. This also means that fans of the extremely talented, and very handsome, Michael Mahler are in for a big treat since he finally has a recording platform for his songwriting talents. He had a hand in writing seven of the ten songs on this album.

Special kudos go to the delicious (adjective provided my husband) and fiery lead singer, Angela Rae, whose vocals are featured on the album.  Although dynamic on her own, Rae's voice blends seamlessly and beautifully with the guys. Proof of this is the energetic "Ride Cowboy Ride" which is definitely one of my favorites on the album. This song has become their concert trademark and it is the perfect showcase for each of their individual talents, but they are just as superb on the slower tempo songs. On "Haunting Me," the instrumentals accentuate Rae's sultry vocals and on "Safely Home," which Mahler says was inspired by his grandmother and is scheduled to be the second release from this album, their voices blend smoother than whipped butter. I'm told by their publicist that "Wild Horses," written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, was included on the album "because the song title is their namesake." But when you hear their rendition of this euphonious tune, you are going to think it was written just for them.

Their bio states, "They hope you'll stay tuned and ride with them through the next adventure." If you are looking for great music, good times and extraordinary entertainment I would suggest you accept their invitation.  Groups with a caliber of talent equal to theirs are rare in any genre of music.

Bottom line is this: You've all seen and heard the wonderfully talented and dynamic group called Trick Pony; well, Wild Horses is what happens when a pony learns more than one trick. You get just pure, unadulterated talent.


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