Heidi Newfield Remembers Her First Time
Heidi Newfield began her country music career as lead singer, rhythm guitarist and harmonica player for the platinum-selling, ACM Award-winning trio, Trick Pony. Along with bandmates Ira Dean and Keith Burns, the group recorded three studio albums producing eight charted singles, including the catchy ‘Pour Me’ and ‘On a Night Like This.’
Heidi left Trick Pony in 2006 to launch a solo career, releasing her debut album, ‘What Am I Waiting For,’ in 2008. It produced the critically-acclaimed single, ‘Johnny and June,’ which put Heidi the solo artist on the country music map.
The Boot caught up with the California native to get her “first time story” — in this case stories, including where she was when she heard her Trick Pony’s first single on the radio and the just-as-exciting story of where she was when she heard her first solo record on the radio.
“I can tell you exactly where I was the first time I heard my first single on the radio,” exclaims Heidi. “I was in Odessa, Texas. I was rolling down the road, and [in] West Texas, there’s not much around. It’s pretty bleak there. I was listening to the local radio station … I was with some of my manager’s family. [Trick Pony's]‘Pour Me’ came on the radio. I heard that guitar lick come across, and we immediately stopped the car, and I opened the door and did a dance outside the car door while we listened. We were screaming in total elation. I said, ‘Oh, my God! That’s our song!’ Ira [Dean] and I were jumping up and down and screaming. The whole carload was hugging each other.
“All of this hard work and all of this time going up and down the road in a van and a trailer, playing clubs … it all just happened before my eyes and finally here we were hearing our song on the radio for the first time. It was a dream come true. Any movie I’ve ever seen … from Ray Charles when he first heard his first song on the radio to Tom Petty to you name it, that’s your dream come true. You set goals from there forward but that’s the start of it all. You think, ‘Someday I’m going to hear my song on the radio,’ and when you finally do hear it, wow! It’s almost an out-of-body experience.”
So did Heidi have the same reaction when she heard her first solo single on the radio?
“I heard ‘Johnny and June’ when I was driving between Atlanta and Nashville,” says Heidi. “I was in my husband’s car. His car has satellite radio, and I was listening to Sirius. I’m rolling down the road, and the coolest part about that is that they have the kicker on the bottom [display] that says who the artist is and the name of the song.
“I heard that really distinctive acoustic guitar lick, and again, same thing, let out this uncontrollable Smokey-and-the-Bandit kind of hoot. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. And then to look on the screen and see my own name and to see the name of the song that I was a part of writing and creating. I was so happy. I didn’t change the station the whole trip.
“I remember being just as excited, if not more so, to know the feeling of having my own thing out there just as much as it was for me and the boys. It felt like I had really accomplished something coming from a country group, stepping out on my own. It felt like we had hit a milestone.”