Photo by Meg Barnhouse

Photo by Meg Barnhouse

Stealin Horses


90's version of Stealin Horses

Stealin Horses grew out of Kiya's college band Radio Cafe. Castle Records in Franklin, TN signed Kiya and drummer Kopana Terry as Stealin Horses and then sold the band to Arista during a song-signing craze and bidding war with 17 other labels.The band was signed to Arista at the first SXSW music festival in 1987 in Austin, TX. Stealin Horses released their self-titled debut CD in 1988 on Arista Records.The CD featured outstanding California session musicians such as Russ Kunkel and Toto. The CD even has an appearance by Neil Young. The single, Turnaround, topped #32 on the AOR charts with medium play rotation on MTV. Stealin Horses toured the US and Canada playing with acts including Level 42, Wang Chung, James Brown, Rank and File, The Smithereens and The Stray Cats, culminating with a 1990 performance at Farm Aid IV. The group re-formed to tour as a five-piece in Oklahoma after being dropped from Arista in 1991. Stealin Horses played at SXSW for a second time and then signed to Mississippi label, Waldoxy/Malaco. The band released, Mesa and Mandolins in 1991. They toured constantly for two years and disbanded in 1993. Kiya released a solo album called True Frontiers, in 1993, for Malaco, which garnered a #1 on the Indie Americana charts with HomeStealin Horses is celebrating it's 29th anniversary this year. For more on Stealin Horses see Kopana Terry's excellent site.

About Kiya


Short Bio

 Kiya Heartwood ( Stealin Horses, Wishing Chair ) is an award winning, internationally touring, roots/folk singer songwriter, composer and change artist. The UK’s Broadway Baby describes Kiya Heartwood as “an award-winning American singer-songwriter who writes smart, funny and poignant songs about the famous and not-so-famous legends of America.” Heartwood "serves up a lively batch of original songs that follow on to two of the oldest traditions of folk music: storytelling and political broadside.”  Kiya tours solo and with her band. Kiya makes her happy home in Austin, TX. More at 

PRESS      Kiya's Resume

Longer Bio

Kiya Heartwood is an award winning singer-songwriter who has just returned from touring her one woman show, Song Tales from the American Edge in Ireland and the UK.

The UK's Broadway Baby describes Kiya Heartwood (Stealin Horses, Wishing Chair) as "an award-winning American singer-songwriter who writes smart, funny and poignant songs about the famous and not-so-famous legends of America."

Dirty Linen writes that Kiya's music "serves up a lively batch of original songs that follow on to two of the oldest traditions of folk music: storytelling and political broadside."

Kiya's new CD, Palo Duro is now available for download. Hardcopy CD's are available here and include a free download version. Anna Creech writes "Heartwood tells untold stories, tugs at your heartstrings, and gives you glimpses of the delights of the world."
 Kiya makes her happy home in Austin, TX.

Wishing Chair


In the early 90's Kiya was hired to teach songwriting  guitar and sound at the National Guitar Summer Workshop in Toronto, Canada where she met Miriam Davidson. Preparing for another solo CD, Kiya asked Miriam to sing on the recording. By the time Singing with the Red Wolves was finished in 1995, Wishing Chair had begun.Wishing Chair is named for a rock formation in Northern Ireland where it is said, if you make a wish your dreams will come true. Wishing Chair has eight CD's to date. Wishing Chair's latest CD, Stand Up Eight was released in July 2009. Miriam Davidson is currently living in Philadelphia and working as a choir director for a UU congregation, a Jewish community choir as well as serving as the Music Director of the Philadelphia women's choir, Anna Crusis




Little Wars (2018)
Palo Duro (2016)
The Living Tree (2013)
Bold Swimmer (2012)
True Frontiers ( 1993)
Gravity (1983)

Best of Wishing Chair (2013)
Stand Up 8 (2009)
Folk and Roll - Live in Austin (2007)
Underdog (2005)
Dishpan Brigade (2003) (w/ Kara Barnard)
Crow (2002)
The Ghost of Will Harbut (2000)
Undisputed Country (1998)
Singing with the Red Wolves (1995)

Best of Stealin Horses (2013)
Mesas and Mandolins (1991)
Stealin Horses (1988)
The Ballad of the Pralltown Cafe (1986)

First World ep (1985)



2017 Nominee Just Plain Folks Awards Best Singer Songwriter Female Album Bold Swimmer

2017 Nominee Just Plain Folks Awards Best Singer Songwriter Song Lights of Austin

2017 Nominee Just Plain Folks Awards Best Political Song Change

2012 Outvoice #2 Song of the Year for Change
2012 Outvoice #2 CD of the year Bold Swimmer
2012 OutMusic Awards Nominee Humanitarian Songwriter of the Year
2012 OutMusic Awards Nominee Best Folk Song Change (Is Gonna Come)
2012 OutMusic Awards Nominee Best Inspirational Song Hold On
2012 Kerrville Folk Festival Ballad Tree Regional Showcase Lights of Austin
2010 Pride in the Arts Favorite Group ( Wishing Chair) and Favorite CD categories for Wishing Chair's Stand Up Eight.
2009 WC Folk and Roll nominated in the Best Contemporary Folk category JP Folks
2008 Jane Schliessman Award for Outstanding Contributions to Women's Music
2006 BEST New Folk Album, Underdog, JP Folks
2006 BEST Roots Song, Sue Mundy, JP Folks
2006 2nd Place Best New Folk Song, Sidewalks, JP Folks
2006 Finalist Kerrville Music to Life Public Domain Foundation Political Songwriting Contest
2006 Nominee Outmusic Awards Best Recording by Duo or Group
2006 Nominee Outmusic Awards Best Out Song
2003 Winner OutMusic Best Recording Duo/Band2003 Winner Outmusic Awards Best Songwriter
2003 Finalist Kerrville Public Domain Foundation
2003 Winner Best Overall/Best Mellow Song, South Florida Folk Festival
2003 Runner Up Best Folk Song, Northern California Songwriters Association
2002 Finalist Falcon Ridge, Emerging Artist
2002 Best of, This Way Out, OutWords,
2002 Best New Folk Song, JP Folks
2001 Best Folk Album, Runner Up JP Folks


Early Years

Kiya was born in Nashville, TN and grew up in Central Kentucky. She started playing guitar, drums and writing songs in middle school. After living in San Francisco as a late teen during the rise of the early Women's Music scene, Kiya returned to the University of Kentucky Honors Program in Creative Writing where she won the Elizabeth Barrett Poetry Prize. Kiya has been winning awards for her writing ever since. Kiya released her first cassette, Gravity, in 1983. Her underground college band, Radio Cafe, released their first EP in 1985 and in '86 changed their name to Stealin Horses and released a full length cassette, The Ballad of the Pralltown Cafe.
Love Everybody. Write Great Songs. Raise Hell.