The sounds of former American Idol contestant Lindsey Cardinale Ponder are coming back to Pike County. The native of Ponchatoula, La., will return to the area Wednesday night to play at Buddy’s on Delaware Avenue.

Ponder first played in Pike County nearly a decade ago, and the area holds a special place in her heart.

“I feel like I have a very special connection there now,” she said. “Ever since I started playing there eight or nine years ago, my guitar player (Kaleb Payne) and I — he and I have been playing together for 15 years now probably — we have just made some of the most incredible friends who are lifelong friends. And any opportunity to come back there and play, if we are available, we always do it. And I probably would have been playing several more times if it hadn’t been for the virus.”

The acoustic show — scheduled 7 to 10 p.m. — comes two weeks after a performance at the Mallard in Lake Dixie Springs, one of her first shows back since taking a break due to the coronavirus. Ponder said that she and her family live in the Amite, La., area, and she feels that McComb is like an extension of home.

“I live just outside of Amite and so it is like a hop, skip and a jump to go home to Ponchatoula or McComb as well,” she said.

Following her run on Season 4 of American Idol where she finished 12th, Ponder moved to Nashville to begin her music career. After nearly a decade, she returned to Louisiana and settled down.

“I moved back home and got married and have a little boy now,” she said. “I knew that when it came time to have a kids and a family I wanted to raise them at a place that was very familiar.”

She admits that she still returns to Nashville to make music -- but not as often, obviously -- due to the pandemic. Getting to play shows again following the shutdown is very welcoming to her.

“It is refreshing that I get to play music again. This is the coolest job, and I’m so grateful for it,” Ponder said.

Since her career has taken off following her run on American Idol, she has played many of her shows on rodeo tours in addition to reunion shows with the popular singing competition show.

“I get to bring my husband (Hoyt) along, and I get to bring my son (Stetson) along, as well,” she said. “There was a time that my band had played 180 dates two or three years ago. Since the show we just play music.”

Ponder adds that while she is mainly a country music artist, she is open to mixing in other genres during her shows.

“Honestly, if you know me personally, or if you don’t, or you may have heard, I love country,” she said. “Old country. Merle Haggard is my favorite. That is odd for my time frame with my age. A lot of people just don’t understand that. Over the years playing in front of different crowds, I play all types of music. You can really expect anything from R&B, pop, country, old country... you’d really be surprised. Some people even request gospel music and I make it work. It is just kind of the thing to do when you play an acoustic show and you sit down live with your guitar,r and it is an intimate kind of show. I like to just do my best to make it work.”

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