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Wishing Like a Mountain and Thinking Like the Sea

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Album Review

Wishing Like a Mountain and Thinking Like the Sea was a breakthrough album for Poi Dog Pondering, as AOR and college radio stations around the country began to discover the zany, eclectic, outdoor-summer jam-session sound of the Chicago-based band. The airtight hooks of songs like "Bury Me Deep," "Everybody's Trying," and "Thanksgiving" were catchy and radio-ready, while the goofy charm of tracks like "The Watermelon Song," "Big Beautiful Spoon," and "Spending the Day in the Shirt That You Wore" made the album a favorite with quirk-rock devotees. And on every track, the band's globetrotting instrumental inventiveness was infectious and impressive. Lead singer Frank Orrall played a mind-bogglingly wide array of instruments on the record, from guitar and piano to frying pan and "bicycle with playing cards." The drums and percussion by Dick Ross and John Nelson helped to create a world music vibe that outdid Rusted Root at their own game before that world/jam band hit the scene, and the band's dynamic use of Susan Voelz's string performances (on Italian classical violin and octave violin) seems to anticipate another later jam rock sensation, Dave Matthews Band. Wishing Like a Mountain is an irresistible party of an album.


Formed: 1986 in Hawaii

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

The eclectic worldbeat/folk-rock outfit Poi Dog Pondering were formed in Waikiki by vocalist/guitarist Frank Orrall, violinist/vocalist Susan Voelz, and multi-instrumentalist Dave "Max" Crawford, the only constants in the group's history; sometimes swelling to upwards of ten members, the band has seen numerous personnel shifts. Named in part for a Hawaiian expression meaning "mutt," Poi Dog Pondering relocated to Austin, TX, and picked up a following through extensive touring; they released two EPs,...
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Wishing Like a Mountain and Thinking Like the Sea, Poi Dog Pondering
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