Tina Collins and Quetzal Jordan, who together make up the indy Appalachian folk band Tina & Her Pony in Asheville, making music has always been about creating a safe place for people to be themselves.
“I feel that a lot of people have an experience at our shows where it feels like we’re ripping out our hearts and putting them together at the same moment,” Jordan says.
“Our shows offer an experience for someone to drop into themselves. That’s what it does for me,” Jordan says. “That’s why I play music.”
And that’s whats the audience will find Friday night at Ambrose West, when Tina & Her Pony will be playing new music as both a duo and with a band comprised of Ryan Lassiter on drums, Kevin Williams on keys and Jackson Delaney on pedal steel. Collins plays guitar, while Jordan plays cello. Asheville singer-songwriter Laura Blackley will open the show.
Tina & Her Pony concerts have been honed during a decade of playing together, from places like the long lost Bobo Gallery on Lexington Avenue to venues across the country and in Taos, New Mexico, where they got their musical start. They landed in Asheville in 2013.
Following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the mission to create art has become even more urgent. “Thank you, Mr. Trump, for making me an activist,” quips Jordan.
“It’s just funny to be a human and always be forced to live in this fleeting moment, and you can’t ever return,” Jordan adds. “Music helps ease that pain, at least for a little while. It offers something that feels for familiar.”
So for the past few of years, the married couple have been writing songs exploring themes of sex, nature and nostalgia. They’ve been delving into familiar places and familiar people. It’s all been in response to the world around her, Collins says.
“Art is going to save me. Beauty is going to save me,” she says. “People want something to cling to,” she says, and an album or live performance “can feel like something transformative; I can come through and end up in a different place.
This past winter, the two have been in a creative zone, focused on writing songs with the intent to put out a new album. The album will be women-focused, Jordan says.
“Every player, every person that works on the album will be a woman. We very much believe that if someone says they’re a woman, they’re a freaking woman. I just think it’s really important, especially now,” Jordan adds.
Jordan says she wants fan to know that Tina & Her Pony are putting a lot of effort into the production and experience of Friday’s show at Ambrose.
“We’re trying to create an intentional experience,” Jordan says.
“It’s magical. It’s almost sacred. People who come to our shows should be ready to allow themselves to look for beauty and experience nuance. It’s art.”