Sherry Rayn Barnett – Founder of the Band / Electric Guitar Player / Vocals
Suzanna Spring – Main Lead Singer / Songwriter / Acoustic Guitar
Holly Montgomery – Bass Player / Vocals
Aubrey Richmond – Fiddle Player / Vocals
Suzanne Morissette Cruz – Drummers / Vocals
Back when the Palomino was ground zero for the post-cowpunk California country scene, the Mustangs were a young, all-girl band who were long on chops and strong on harmonies. In a world where Jim Lauderdale and Buddy Miller shared a band, Lucinda Williams, Rosie Flores and the late Candye Kane had a roots, rockabilly and blues take on country and you never knew if Dave Alvin or Dwight Yoakam might show up at Ronnie Mack’s Barn Dance, The Mustangs made their debut at The Pal. They had a beautiful sound, making original music that was equal parts Emmylou Harris and Stevie Nicks, mixed with the three- and four-part harmonies reminiscent of The Eagles.
Following their debut at The Palomino, The Mustangs were named the Southern California Country Music Vocal Group of the Year. Headlining around L.A., the band was discovered and invited to play in Europe and Scandinavia, touring the US and Europe three times. The Mustangs played clubs and festivals, including SXSW and the renowned Roskilde Festival in Denmark.
Members of the group parted ways in the mid-90s to pursue other musical interests, following their hearts to different parts of the country. Lead vocalist/songwriter and acoustic guitarist Suzanna Spring relocated to Nashville, where she worked as a staff songwriter for EMI Music and Bluewater Music, and wrote the radio single, “Time,” for country recording artist Doug Stone. Spring later released a solo album, winning Music Row Magazine’s Discovery Award. She has performed at The Bluebird Cafe, Tin Pan South, as a featured artist on WPLN’S “Songwriter Sessions’, and as a representative of NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International), she performed for members of Congress in Washington, DC. Lead guitarist Sherry Rayn Barnett, a concert photographer since her teenage years in NYC, saw her work featured in Rolling Stone and The New York Times. Her first book of concert photography, the widely-praised “Eye of the Music,” was published in 2020. Bassist/vocalist Holly Montgomery headed to the east coast and successfully pursued a career as a solo artist and studio musician, releasing two acclaimed solo CDs. Her latest album, SORRY FOR NOTHING, was released on Los Angeles-based label KZZ Music in 2022.
The Mustangs began their renewal in 2017. Remembering how strong their sound was, the three original members of the group reconnected, with a new name, Mustangs Of The West. They added two dynamic new players to complete the line-up: Canadian drummer Suzanne Morissette, and violinist/vocalist Aubrey Richmond from Shooter Jennings’s band. Barnett was soon sizing up potential record labels to find the new band a musical home. After hearing the band rehearse at Clear Lake Audio, Los Angeles label Blue Élan Records offered the band a deal on the spot.
Mustangs Of The West’s 2020 album release on Blue Élan Records, “TIME”, was produced by Mark Howard (Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris, U2). “TIME” received acclaim from the San Francisco Chronicle, Americana Highways, Goldmine Magazine, No Depression, Pulse, Guitar Girl Magazine, renowned Nashville journalist Holly Gleason, and many other music writers.
As the music business slowly recovered from COVID shutdowns, Kirk Pasich, the visionary founder of Blue Élan, started new music imprint KZZ Music. Mustangs Of The West joined him at the new label. The result is “SEA OF HEARTBREAK” to be released in July 2023.
Co-produced by Pasich and Irish producer Colin Devlin, the album is a powerful showcase for the vocals of Spring, Montgomery, Richmond and Morissette, with the atmospheric signature sounds of electric guitarist Barnett and some incredibly beautiful violin work from Richmond.
Coming full circle, band members Spring and Barnett were recently interviewed for the upcoming documentary “Palomania”, adding their stories to the rich musical history of The Palomino club. “Crooked Road”, a song written by Spring and the late Rusty Young from Poco, is also a featured track on the album “MY FRIEND: A TRIBUTE TO RUSTY YOUNG”, debuting in the Top 10 on the Billboard Compilation albums chart.