The Painted Horses Stay Positive on “In the Garden”


As far as first impressions go, the Painted Horses are skipping the small talk and getting personal.

On “In the Garden,” the Santa Cruz, California-based indie folk trio found a touching way to honor a beloved family member.

“I have a strong emotional attachment to ‘In the Garden,’ I think mostly because I wrote it shortly after my grandfather passed away,” lead singer and songwriter Denys Kozakis tells CMT Edge. “My grandfather lived in our family house when I was growing up and we were very close. In a way, he felt like a father figure to me, so it was a whole new experience losing someone that important in my life.

“Although the song is not a literal translation about losing my grandfather, it is about a loss that many can relate to, and hopefully a reminder that life goes on.”

Driven by acoustic guitar and Kozakis’ heartbroken vocals, he’s uplifted in the chorus by harmony singer Natosha Wengreen, who provides a gentle push into whatever comes next. Bassist Jon Payne adds a sturdy foundation, and later on, a downright happy piano melody helps everyone turn a corner.

For Kozakis, writing about something so close to home just felt right.

“All of the songs on the album, including ‘In the Garden,’ seem to relate in a way,” he says. “It wasn’t planned, but I think it’s hard not to let a little bit of myself and my experiences into each song that I write. Even the album, called Ponderosa Pines, is named after the street I grew up on.”

Look for the band’s debut album to arrive in March, with Californian tour dates scheduled through September.

Enjoy the positive outlook of the Painted Horses’ “In the Garden” in this CMT Edge exclusive.