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Grand Rapids band Wild Horses Releases 1st Album and Tour: Runaway

Grand Rapids local band played their first gig as Wild Horses at last year's Grand Rapids Riverfest - this year the've got performing and a new album under their belt and will share the big stage with luminaries like Wilco.

Kari Hedlund talked with Wild Horses band members Jed and Ariana LaPlant, McKeon Hugh Roberts & JJ Snell.

Here's an excerpt of their conversation:

Kari: You recently held an album release party at Rapids Brewing. What was that like?

Ariana: It was really refreshing and actually kind of encouraging, because I almost got to tap into like this outsider's perspective and listen to it as if it's the first time, It was encouraging - after you listen to the same thing over and over again, it gets to be a little bit redundant. Then you start to only listen to the flaws that you make up in your own mind. So it was refreshing for sure.

Kari: Are you looking forward to getting your first album out into the world?

Jed: Big time! I think we've been looking forward to putting it out for a long time. As soon as we started recording, we were excited to just get a record out - we kind of caught the wave half by accident on this whim. And so to have a record out to be able to play shows like we've been wanting to do just makes sense. So I think to finally have it out is a big deal for us.

McKeon: I think it gives us a little validity too, in what we're doing. We have some YouTube videos out, you know, we've put out a couple singles, but now as we're taking it into the world, it almost feels like a little bit more of a backbone: who we are and what we're doing. To go on this tour and to take a full record with us, just kind of gives us like this platform. It's pretty cool.

Kari: What was the recording process like?

Ariana: I had never stepped foot into a studio. So it was really scary for me - really intimidating at first. And it was a huge process: not only are you nervous to do the takes, but also having the nerves of not knowing what to expect being in such a new environment was really different for me in that way.

Jed: Being such a young band, we were really growing and making these songs as we were recording them. So in the studio, not only were we writing, you know, building the songs, but we were also really building the group: tying together and the orchestration. It was a bit of a challenge for sure. It was a lot more effort doing it together and yet, you know, then we have were able to put out this larger, more dynamic record than I think we anticipated on the front end. The whole process was really cool, but definitely stretched out.

Kari: You are going to be finishing out the inaugural tour with the 2nd Annual Grand Rapids Riverfest on Saturday, September 10th. Last year was your public debut of sorts at Riverfest, I'm sure there were like nerves - how are you feeling about heading into performing there this year?

Jed: I think it'll be a really fun kind of full circle moment because now that we've somewhat established ourselves as a band (last year we were trying to come up with a band name for that gig). Over the last year we've seen the community support - it has been overwhelming. It feels good. It feels like coming home in more ways than one. We're probably a little jumpy though - it's definitely a step up stage wise from where we were playing last year. And of course the lineup is stacked. You know, there's just some real legends and people we've looked up to for a long time. So I think there's a little bit of jumpy going on.

Listen to the whole conversation and Wild Horses new singles at the top of this page.

All That's Left

The music director at KAXE since 2014, Kari (pronounced Car-ee) Hedlund reviews music on the daily. She also hosts New Music every Wednesday (2 and 10 p.m.) and Sunday (noon), along with the KAXE Morning Show on Thursdays.
Heidi Holtan is KAXE's Director of Content and Public Affairs where she manages producers and is the local host of Morning Edition from NPR. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North.