Artists and Bands

Matheson Celebrates 20 Years of Poi Dog Pondering

Celebrating 20 years together as a band is something that rarely happens in the music industry. Most bands that last that many years usually are a band only part of the time. When the band is not either writing, recording or touring, the members go their own directions and live their lives alone, keeping their musical lives and personal lives separate.

The secret behind the longevity of the band Poi Dog Pondering is somewhat different: During its history, the band has always had a rotating cast of musicians, with each album being made by a different line-up than the last. With this way of existing, Poi dog pondering has lasted 20 years and has created 7 albums that feature completely different sounds and styles that are unique to that album and its recording sessions.

During the 20 years that Poi Dog pondering has been together as a band, the only constant in the group has been Frank Orrall. It was Frank and the original line-up of the band that made its way from Hawaii to the mainland in 1987. From there, the band has continuously changed and morphed from one formation to another.

The band has changed its sound and style several times. Depending on several factors (the city in which the band was living, the current line-up of the band, what was going on musically at the time, and other things), the style of the band’s sound changed dramatically.

The original sound of the band was acoustic in style, then the band started incorporating dance music into its sound, and today’s is very soulful. But no matter which version of the band you hear, Poi Dog Pondering has kept the same feeling to their music that makes their music unlike anyone else.

After 20 years, Poi Dog Pondering has created seven albums that capture their style of writing from each time period in their history. In 2008, the band released their latest album entitled “7”. “7” follows in line with the band’s other releases in the way that each song has a feeling all its own, making this release, like the rest of the albums in the band’s discography, very eclectic. This eclectic style of writing is one of the things that make Poi Dog Pondering unique.

Another thing that sets the band apart from other groups is the amount of musicians that helped to bring “7” together as an album. Along with the core of Frank Orrall, Susan Mary Voelz, Ted Cho, John Nelson and Dave Max Crawford, Poi Dog Pondering for this album is made up of Dag Juhlin, Kornell Hargrove, Ron Hall, Charlette Wortham, Rick Gehrenbeck, Dan Leali. “7” also includes appearances by PDP alumnus Abra Moore, who appeared with the band back in its earlier days. Along with the main players that help make up the band for this album, many others joined in to help flesh out the sound.

The soul-based rock that the band created on songs like Sticky, Lemon Drop Man, and others, is made unique with the addition of unusual instruments like jaw harp, vibes, the ever-present ukulele, mandolin, as well as violins and horns. Along with drums, guitars, bass guitar, and keyboards, these instruments help to create the sound that has made Poi Dog Pondering different from the rest of the bands out there right now and from bands that have existed for the last two decades.

Having recorded for two decades, Poi Dog Pondering has an extensive discography that includes seven albums (including the newest album, “7”), and many compilations, as well. The band is definitely worth the time to check out; and the perfect place to start for anyone unfamiliar with the band is their latest release, “7”.

To find out more about the band, go to Also check out their MySpace account at You can also check out the band’s label at