Oklahoma calling – Annie Oakley & Ken Pomeroy

Only because the review pile is building up but here’s some thoughts on two Oklahoma based acts…

Annie Oakley. Words We Mean. Horton Records

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A three-piece vocal harmony trio from Oklahoma comprised of twin sisters Sophia and Grace Babb on guitars and Nia Personette on violin, Annie Oakley veer between frothy acoustic based folk songs and a somewhat darker electric guitar swelled rockier sound. Words We Mean opens splendidly with Pomp and Swell which merges both these elements. The fuzz toned guitar ballad Good Things along with the gloomy Into The Light shows that they’ve probably spent some time listening to The Cowboy Junkies but overall it’s the more stripped back songs which reverberate. If I Were a Ghost is a delicate glimpse into past times and the sense of loss after a bereavement while Missed Connection’s arrangement is perfectly balanced with haunting vocals, a recurring piano motif and lonesome violin setting the mood with the electric guitar solo finely nuanced. The vocals at times recall The Roches although without their quirkiness and this is most evident on the title song which is the best of the album.

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Ken Pomeroy. Hallways. Horton Records

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Pomeroy is a 15-year-old singer/songwriter from Oklahoma but her voice and writings belie her age as she delivers an assured set of songs here. Sparely recorded, her voice and guitar picking only occasionally augmented by mandolin, keyboards or muted electric guitar the album sits within a singer songwriter context with the music at times recalling the sounds which accompanied Tim Hardin on his early recordings, hard to believe but true. But the real beauty of the album is in Pomeroy’s voice which at times is reminiscent of Courtney Marie Andrews and in her writings. For a 15 year old to write songs such as Three Wonderful Words or River show that she is either wise before her time or that she has studied writers such as Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro to the nth degree. Her song about being homeless, The Sidewalk Song, won the inaugural Jimmy LaFave song writing contest in Oklahoma and listening to it one is again astounded at how accomplished she is. Best of all is the closing song, Living The Dream, which is a weary tale of being on the road and which one might expect from a battle scarred veteran of crisscrossing country wide tours but here Pomeroy totally inhabits the song. She’s certainly one to watch out for.

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