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Poi Dog Pondering

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Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

Group Members: Susan Voelz, Abra Moore, Dag Juhlin, Bruce Hughes

All Music Guide:

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, 1988's Poi Dog Pondering and 1989's Circle Around the Sun, which attracted the attention of Columbia Records with their varied instrumentation, easygoing humor, and offbeat fusions of world musics and folk-rock. Columbia combined the two EPs for the group's 1989 self-titled major-label debut, which along with its slightly slicker follow-up, 1989's Wishing Like a Mountain and Thinking Like the Sea, earned Poi Dog Pondering critical acclaim and a devoted cult following.

However, all was not well between Poi Dog Pondering and their label; Columbia rejected much of the band's demo material over the next two years, and only a couple of EPs were released. Volo Volo was finally released in 1991, but shortly thereafter, the band was dropped from Columbia's roster. Bandleader Orrall responded by putting the group on hiatus, moving its home base to Chicago, and substantially revamping the lineup; during the hiatus, Orrall put together his Palm Fabric Orchestra, while Voelz recorded solo material. When the group returned in 1995 with Pomegranate, their sound had gravitated slightly more toward dance music, a switch confirmed on their 1996 EP, Electrique Plummagram. In 1997, Poi Dog Pondering debuted their own Plate.tec.tonic label with the live set Liquid White Light. In 1999, they issued the electronic-tinged Natural Thing, followed by the similarly themed In Seed Comes Fruit in 2003. The band returned in 2008 with the soul-heavy 7.


Poi Dog Pondering is an American musical group, noted for its cross-pollination of diverse musical genres, including various forms of acoustic folk music, and electronic music. Founded in Hawaii in 1985, the band moved to Austin, Texas in 1987, where they recorded their first three albums. In 1992, the band relocated once again, this time to Chicago, Illinois, and began to incorporate elements of house music into their style.

Austin years; members[edit]

During the Austin years (1987–1992), the band had the following lineup:

Ted Cho - electric guitar, mandolin, bassDave Max Crawford - organ, trumpet, accordionDarren Hess - drum kit (1991–1992)Bruce Hughes - bassFrank Orrall - guitar, tin flute, drums, vocalsJohn Nelson - congas, maracas, tom-toms, background vocals (1989–1992)Dick Ross - drum kit (1987–1990)Adam Sultan - electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocalsSusan Voelz - violin, guitar, vocals

Additionally, the records featured literally dozens of musicians credited as "Satellite Poi Members". Most prominent amongst these satellite members were vocalist Abra Moore, drummer Sean Coffey and (on their third album) turntable operator Andre "DJ Cassanova" Irons.

Beginning with that third album, 1992's Volo Volo, the band began to experiment with new musical styles, including fully incorporating DJ Cassanova into the line-up. Orrall's emerging interest in dance and house music led the band to relocate to Chicago in 1992, where it developed a loyal local following and was named best band by Chicago magazine in 1997.

Chicago years; members[edit]

For the 1995 Pomegranate album, the band had the following lineup:

Frank Orrall - guitar, vocalsDag Juhlin - guitarBrigid Murphy - Alto SaxophoneBrent Olds - bassSteve Goulding - drumsLeddie Garcia - PercussionDave Max Crawford - keyboards, clavinetJason More - BerimbauLloyd Brodnax King - Alto FluteKatherine Pisaro - OboePaul Mertens - sax, clarinet, fluteSusan Voelz - violinArlene Newson - backing vocalsKornell Hargrove - backing vocalsRobert Cornelius - backing vocals

The Poi Dog line-up fluctuates frequently, and Orrall, Voelz, Dave Max Crawford and Nelson are the only members of the band left from the Austin era. With the release of 'In Seed Comes Fruit' in 2003, Poi Dog Pondering consisted of:

Frank Orrall - vocals, guitar, piano, synth. vibes, drums, samples, sequencingSusan Voelz - violin, vocalsPaul Mertens - flute, sax, clarinetLeddie Garcia - congas, bongos, ganzas, bells, shakers, various percussionKornell Hargrove - vocalsRon Hall - bassRick Gehrenbeck - rhodes electric piano, clavinet, organ, synthesizersCharlette Wortham - vocalsAlison Chesley - celloCarla Prather - vocalsTim Gant - piano, synthesizersJohn "El John" Nelson - drumsEarl A. Talbot - Current Drummer


Releases1.1 Studio albums1.2 Other Releases1.3 Live albums1.4 Compilations1.5 DVD Releases


Studio albums[edit]
Poi Dog Pondering (1988)Wishing Like a Mountain and Thinking Like the Sea (1990)Volo Volo (1992)Pomegranate (1995)Natural Thing (1999)In Seed Comes Fruit (2003) (2008)Audio Love Letter (2011)
Other Releases[edit]
Fruitless (EP) (1990)Palm Fabric Orchestra (1994)Electrique Plummagram (Re-Mix Album) (1996)That's the Way Love Is (Re-Mix EP) (1999)
Live albums[edit]
Liquid White Light (1997)Soul Sonic Orchestra (2000)Live at Metro Chicago (4 CD set, paired with DVD release, 12-21-2012)
Sweeping Up the Cutting Room Floor (2001)The Best of Poi Dog Pondering (The Austin Years) (2005)
DVD Releases[edit]
Audio Visivo (2004)Live at Metro Chicago (2 DVD set, paired with CD release, 12-21-2012)

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Tour Dates All Dates Dates In My Area

Date Venue Location Tickets
05.24.14 Crescent Ballroom Phoenix, AZ US
09.11.14 Ravinia Pavilion Highland Park, IL US
09.12.14 Ravinia Pavilion Highland Park, IL US
12.27.14 City Winery - Chicago Chicago, IL US
12.28.14 City Winery - Chicago Chicago, IL US
12.29.14 City Winery - Chicago Chicago, IL US