Suggested Listening ’22: Oyo< < Back to
It’s that time of year again! WOUB Culture has reached out to a variety of folks involved in various capacities with the music and arts throughout WOUB’s diverse coverage region to inquire: “what have you been listening to this year, my friend?” Find their answers on WOUB Culture all throughout the month of December.
Born on the banks of the Ohio River, Oyo is a dynamic six-piece roots band that formed in the back of Marietta’s JustAJar Design Press over the course of jam sessions, eventually solidifying original work that utilizes hearty traditional Appalachian instrumentation rife with pulsating rhythm and poignant lyricism. Gathered around a single mic, Oyo’s high-energy performances are equal parts honky tonk and barn dance, with an indie-rock undercurrent. Oyo trades off lead vocals between Aaron Martin (fiddle, mandolin), Cole Adair (guitar) and Michael Bond (guitar, keys, harmonica, spoons), with Bobby Rosenstock (banjo), Drew Tanner (bass), and Joe Ryckebosch (drums, washboard) joining in.
Big Thief – “Change”
It’s not fair how many great records Adrianne Lenker & co. have put out lately. This year’s album is quieter and simpler but still manages to casually throw out some of the best vocal and guitar melodies I’ve ever heard.
Cam’Ron – “Hey Ma”
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of Tom Breihan’s “Number Ones” column for Stereogum, where he reviews every #1 single in order. This year covered the early ‘00s, and apparently, I missed out on an insane amount of bangers back in the days when I refused to listen to anything but lo-fi indie rock. Imagine hearing this for the first time now, and you’ll understand my excitement.
Hugh Masekela – “Grazing in the Grass”
This record is the best $2 I’ve ever spent at Rinky Dink’s, which is a high bar indeed.
Kathleen Edwards – “Total Freedom” (Album) – “Glenfern”
After taking nearly eight years away from the music world, this Canadian singer-songwriter released a fabulous album, “Total Freedom,” during the pandemic. Kathleen offers up deeply emotional lyrics with a dreamy vocal delivery reminiscent of Suzanne Vega. Edwards has a way of always finding the right combination of heartache and hope. The track “Glenfern” on her album is a songwriting masterpiece.
Ian Noe – “Between the Country” (Album) – “Irene”
With a southern drawl, this Kentucky native is writing and singing some of the finest country music out there right now. Noe tends to gravitate toward darker subject matter, often using poetic imagery of rural Appalachian hardship. His song Irene about the family black sheep is not to be missed. And just a heads up, if you can’t think of an “Irene” in your own family, it’s probably you. Cheers
Eli West – “Tapered Point of Stone” (title track)
Eli is a super-talented west coast multi-instrumentalist who often collaborates with folks such as Cahalen Morrison (Western Centuries), Andrew Marlin (Mandolin Orange), and the legendary John Reischman. Eli’s ability to weave instrumental melodies around his vocals truly set him apart from others in the acoustic music world. His natural tone and tastefulness are a real treat. The title track from his most recent album “Tapered Point of Stone” is melancholy perfection.
Vivian Leva & Riley Calcagno – “On Account of You ”
Been loving this whole album. It gives me Watchhouse, Gillian Welch/Dave Rawlings vibes. Viv and Riley just graduated from college. For being so young, they are already master multi-instrumentalists, and their harmonies are perfect.
The California Honeydrops – “Tumblin’ ”
Discovered these guys at DelFest and have been listening to them all summer. The newest album is classic soul music that just puts me in a good mood.
Jesse Milnes – “My Old Friends”
Have been a big fan of Jesse’s music for a while. Whether he’s playing old-time fiddle tunes with the T-Mart Ramblers, performing with his wife Emily Milnes, or playing guitar and singing with his own classic country band. Some of the best music I’ve heard this year, coming out of Elkins, West Virginia.
Hum – “Inlet: In the Den”
Thick and dense, beautiful and propulsive. Hum are huge and heavy, but are as gentle as a spider web wavering in a slight breeze.
Gordon Lightfoot – “Sundown: The Watchman’s Gone”
Beautiful, golden AM ’70s folk-rock. Gordo’ delivers with this song. Up tempo and meticulously layered. His voice is perfect, and the guitar playing is sublime.
Tibetan Miracle Seeds – “Inca Missiles: Nectarine Dreams”
Hazy and pretty new psychedelic band from Scotland. Warm and layered, and trippy. Making music so you don’t need drugs, just listen.
Luke Bell – “Working Man’s Dream ”
According to my phone, my most listened-to track this year was Luke Bell’s “Working Man’s Dream.” I’m guessing it was pretty high on the list the year as well, but following his untimely passing, I fell deeper into his music. This song has this instrumental drive I am in love with, and then tosses in lyrics like “Well, I’m harder than steel and cigarettes /Home after dark and make your bets /That honey I still got the salt to love you too” followed by a screaming fiddle — it just makes me want to stand up and yell, “Yahoo!”
Bonnie Raitt – “Give it Up” (Album) “Nothing Seems To Matter,” “Love Me Like A Man”
This year I was introduced to the Bonnie Raitt album “Give It Up,” recorded in 1972. I grew up on her more popular blues music, but this album completely blew me away. The entire album has such a rich tone with instruments overlapping, yet it never feels flooded. “Nothing Seems To Matter” and “Love Me Like A Man,” both from that album, are two of my favorites. “Nothing Seems To Matter” is such a sweet heart breaker, it almost makes you want to feel the loss, while “Love Me Like A Man” has that rocking ’70s blues feel.
The Lowest Pair – “The Perfect Plan” (Album) – “Take What You Can Get”
I first heard Kendl Winter and Palmer T. Lee at Nelsonville Music Festival this past September and have been enamored of their sound since. I’m really drawn in by their stripped down work that features just their voices, guitar, and banjo, but “Take What You Can Get,” with that pedal steel and the full band has really gotten under my skin in these last cool, cloudy days of the year.
Cutler Station – “Meat No Sides” (Album) – “Cellophane & Plastic”
We had a blast this year playing a couple shows with Cutler Station (Rivers, Trails, and Ales Fest in Marietta and ArtOberfest in Parkersburg). This song—and many on their latest album—seamlessly weaves in that trippy synth along with pedal steel with their Midwest-meets-Appalachia vibe in a way that feels so natural—like, of course, they all go together—and it always brings a smile to my face.
Charley Crockett – “The Valley” (title track)
Charley Crockett’s sound and lyrics remind me of hot summers visiting my mom’s side of the family in Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas, riding in the backseat with the windows down because the AC was broken.