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Red Pony ready to take audience on a musical journey
red pony
Red Pony is leading a fundraising effort for the Denair Gaslight Theater with a show on Saturday. - photo by Photo Contributed

Dusk is starting to fade on Saturday night and the members of Red Pony — Joni Valponi, Phil Rojas, Dave Takvorian, Ram Givargis, Ron Rocha and Michael Rojas Jr., more commonly known as Dr. Blue — have gathered at Phil and Joni’s Turlock home to make music. But before that there is dinner to be made. It might be lasagna, or stew or carnitas, which Valponi says leads to the best nights of music, but whatever it may be it is a collaborative effort and that really is the foundation of Red Pony.

This eclectic group of musicians has found in each other kindred souls, at least in the realm of music, and that kinship allows them to create and perform unrestrained and free to roam, much like the image of the red pony from which they draw their name.

“If you watched a red pony in a meadow for a day you would see him do all kinds of things,” Phil Rojas said. “You might see him kick up his heels and run, or maybe take a stroll down the lane. By the end of the day you would have seen it all. That’s a very appropriate metaphor for this band.”

Trying to define the music genre Red Pony fits into is a bit like proverbial cat herding — nearly impossible to do. There’s some bluegrass to be sure, but also some folk and blues and a little jazz. And if you think you’re getting close to nailing it down, they’ll throw in a style that they describe as “Louisiana hayride radio” just to mix it up. Whatever the style, all of their music is designed to get toes tapping, fingers snapping, and a smile stretching across the face.

“The music we play is very real,” Phil Rojas said. “It’s not complicated. It’s rootsy, it’s inviting, and there are no boundaries. It’s not this and it’s not that. It’s just music, but whatever we play it’s going to be pure.”

“When we’re up on stage playing there will be something that resonates with you,” said Dr. Blue. “Most times we’re enjoying the show just as much as the audience.”

Fans of the band, or those interested in hearing them for the first time will get their chance on Saturday as they headline a fundraiser for the Denair Gaslight Theater.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m. though those who have purchased their tickets in advance can join the band for a meet and greet upstairs at the theater. Tickets start at $20 and are available at