In 2006, Heidi Newfield made the bittersweet announcement that after 10 years of fronting one of country music's first trios, Trick Pony, she would be stepping down to pursue a solo career.

While Newfield and her co-founding members of Trick Pony -- Ira Dean and Keith Burns -- remain close in their friendships, she admits it wasn't like that at first.

"There was some weirdness at first," Newfield tells Taste of Country. "I've gone back and read comments that were made by fans. Of course when you're not in the inner-workings of the band, how could you know the real reasons why it's time to exit and time to make a change? But there were really very legitimate, honest to goodness reasons why it was time for me to move on. I think the guys were a little more taken aback because they didn't think I would leave, and even though we talked about it and said, 'This is going to happen if we don't make some changes,' it ultimately happened."

"I think there were some hard feelings on their part at first, and understandably so," she continues. "I had time to really think about it and take my time. Whereas one night I pulled them together and said, 'Guys ... this is happening. It's time for me to go.'"

Since Newfield's departure from Trick Pony, Dean and Burns replaced her with lead vocalist Aubrey Collins, but come 2008, the trio disbanded for good. Burns went on to form hot new country duo Burns and Poe (with Michelle Poe), and Dean has experienced success as a songwriter with Montgomery Gentry's 'One in Every Crowd.' Dean is also readying his own solo project for release some time later this year.

"I am really proud of the boys," Newfield notes. "There's nothing but good vibes and love for those guys. I want them to go on and do well. Time heals all. We made such fun memories, and we made really interesting music. It definitely had its own flavor, and I'm proud of what we did, but it's on to bigger and better things now. I wish them really genuinely well."

Newfield is currently wrapping up work on her sophomore solo album on Curb Records. Her debut release as a solo artist, 'What Am I Waiting For,' was released in 2008.

"This new record has a more carefree feeling to it," Newfield says of her brand-new material. "It's the kind of music you want to crank up in your car or on your boat. This record definitely has a bit higher of a comfort level for me."

Watch the Trick Pony 'Pour Me' Video