Despite the band’s contemporary genre-bending, Somebody’s Darling pays homage to history with its moniker. The band took its name from a Civil War-era ballad.
“It comes from an old song about an unknown soldier’s grave,” says lead guitarist David Ponder. “I liked the way it sounded, and the idea that everybody has things or people that are important to them.”
It is this same blend of old and new that has fueled the band’s unique sound, a hometown blend of country, roots and rock. Somebody’s Darling comprises Ponder, lead singer Amber Ferris, Nate Wedan on percussion, Michael Talley on keys and bassist Wade Cofer.
“Really, this is why we do what we do, why we want to be here, because we like to perform,” says lead guitarist David Ponder. “The playing is always easy.”
The band has followed an unusual path to the recording studio. Their debut LP was recorded in Nashville after they won the Shiner Rising Star contest sponsored by radio station KHYI 95.3 The Range and Shiner Beers. Every year, 24 local bands compete for the recording contract. In 2008, Somebody’s Darling took home the prize.
To help fund their sophomore album, Jank City Shakedown, the band turned to another nontraditional source: crowdfunding. They launched a Kickstarter campaign in January, which allowed fans to donate money toward the album in exchange for prizes ranging from the ability to download the album digitally two weeks before the release (a $10-$24 donation) to drummer Wedan tattooing the generous fan’s name on his body ($10,000 donations only). Though they had no takers on the ink offer, the band raised $9,860 total, more than their $8,500 goal.
“It was an awesome feeling to have people already on board,” Ponder says. “You also have this feeling of responsibility to produce something good for the people who helped us and bet on us and the album.”
The album, recorded in only 10 days, was released September 4. Initial positive reviews indicate that the band’s fan base is satisfied with the effort.
Not content to just record, the band also kicked off the album’s release with whirlwind three-and-a-half week tour spanning 19 cities. Ponder admitted that parts of the tour have been “insane,” but this is par for the course for a group that has played more than 400 shows and only just celebrated its fifth anniversary together.
“Really, this is why we do what we do, why we want to be here, because we like to perform,” Ponder says. “The playing is always easy.”
Even during smaller midweek shows, the response has been positive, Ponder says. “There can be off nights for audience [attendance], but then the show winds up being great because people participate. The people at the shows have been really enjoying it.”
In the meantime, it's touring time.
“I don’t want to say that we have paid our dues, because I don’t think we are close to completing that portion of our career yet,” Ponder says with a laugh. “But we have played a lot of shows.”