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Trick Pony is an American country music group. It was formed in 1996 by Keith Burns (lead guitar, vocals), Ira Dean (bass guitar, upright bass, vocals), and Heidi Newfield (lead vocals, harmonica, acoustic guitar). The group recorded three studio albums: Trick Pony, On a Mission and R.I.D.E., released in 2001, 2002 and 2005, respectively. These albums produced eight charted singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, including four Top 20 hits: "Pour Me," "On a Night like This," "Just What I Do" and "On a Mission."
In 2006, Newfield departed for a solo career, with Aubrey Collins taking her place on lead vocals. The group disbanded after Collins and Dean left in 2007 and 2008, respectively. Newfield released a solo debut album, What Am I Waiting For, in 2008 on Curb Records, while Burns joined singer Michelle Poe to form a duo called Burns & Poe. Burns, Dean, and Newfield reformed the group in 2013, although Dean left again in 2014.
Trick Pony was formed in 1996 by guitarist Keith Burns and bass guitarist Ira Dean. Both musicians had experience as backing musicians for other country music acts; Burns had previously worked with Joe Diffie, and Dean with Tanya Tucker. Keith and Ira decided to form a group composed of two men and a woman. Completing the lineup was lead singer Heidi Newfield, a friend of Burns' then-wife. The trio began touring throughout the Southern United States and performed regularly at 8 Seconds Saloon in Indianapolis, Indiana.
By 2000, Trick Pony was signed to a record deal with Warner Bros. Records. The trio released its self-titled debut album that year. Serving as its lead-off single was "Pour Me" which reached a peak of number 12 on the Billboard country music charts. The album's next two singles were "On a Night like This" and "Just What I Do," which respectively reached numbers 4 and 13 on the country singles charts. In 2001, the trio also received the Artist of the Year award from the Country Music Association.
On a Mission was the title of Trick Pony's second album. Although its David Lee Murphy-penned title track reached Top 20 on the country charts, the second single (2003's "A Boy Like You") failed to enter Top 40, and the group was dropped from Warner Bros.' roster shortly afterward.
In 2004, Trick Pony was signed to its second record deal, this time with Asylum-Curb Records. The group's sixth single overall, entitled "The Bride", was issued that year, serving as the lead-off to their third studio album, R.I.D.E., whose title is an abbreviation for "Rebellious Individuals Delivering Entertainment." The second single from R.I.D.E. was a cover of Bonnie Tyler's "It's a Heartache". Trick Pony's version of the song peaked at number 22 on the country music charts. The third single from R.I.D.E., "Ain't Wastin' Good Whiskey on You", featured guest vocals from Tracy Byrd, Joe Diffie, Mel Tillis, Tanya Tucker and Darryl Worley.
Departure of Heidi Newfield and subsequent disbanding:
In October 2006, lead singer Heidi Newfield announced that she would be leaving Trick Pony in pursuit of a solo career. She made her official departure at the end of the group's December 2006 tour. The same month, Gary Allan charted with "A Feelin' Like That", which Dean wrote with David Lee Murphy. Newfield began recording her first solo album for Asylum-Curb in June 2007. She made her solo debut on Cledus T. Judd's 2007 album Boogity, Boogity - A Tribute to the Comedic Genius of Ray Stevens, on which she, Judd, and Keith Urban performed a cover of Ray Stevens' 1969 single "Gitarzan."
Aubrey Collins, a singer-songwriter from Littleton, Colorado who had previously been eliminated from ABC's television program The One: Making a Music Star, was chosen as Newfield's replacement in 2007. Collins made her official debut as lead singer in April of that year at the Country Thunder festival in Arizona. Collins left the group in October, saying that although she enjoyed working with the group's other two members, she and they "had different creative and musical visions." Dean announced his departure in February 2008, and Trick Pony subsequently disbanded. In April 2009, Warner Bros. released The Best of Trick Pony, a compilation composed of songs from the trio's first two albums.
Status of former members; reunion:
Newfield released her solo debut album, What Am I Waiting For, via Curb Records in 2008. Burns, meanwhile, founded the duo Burns & Poe with former DreamWorks Records Nashville artist Michelle Poe. Dean has begun writing songs for other artists, including Montgomery Gentry's 2009 single "One in Every Crowd". In July 2011, he signed to a recording contract with Average Joes Entertainment.
In 2013, Trick Pony's original lineup reunited for a performance at a benefit concert in Boston, Massachusetts. In February 2014, the group announced plans to tour and release new music. The trio had finished several tracks for a new album before Dean left only two month later. In March 2015, he released a solo single, "Nothin' to Do Round Here", which he wrote with Jeffrey Steele and Shane Minor. The song features guest vocals from Steele, Ronnie Milsap, Lee Roy Parnell, Montgomery Gentry, and Colt Ford.