North Meets South

North Meets South

 Norman, Oklahoma, USA
BandAmericanaAcoustic

North Meets South mixes up a powerful musical libation of folk, roots, acoustic blues, rock, and Americana. With the mammoth vocal prowess of Joie Sherman and the heavy duty finger-style guitar work of John Johnson, this is not your typical acoustic act.

Biography

North Meets South
Opposites attract … and aren’t so opposite,
as it turns out

North Meets South: The phrase alone stirs up a curious sort of dichotomy, a culture clash that, in the end, somehow pieces together brilliantly. It’s a fitting name for the acoustic duo of Joie Sherman and John Johnson, seeming opposites who combine to create an intoxicating musical brew that defies easy classification.

Joie is from Fargo, North Dakota, and John hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma, but their respective worlds were separated by more than a matter of miles (840, in case you were curious). Joie grew up an ardent student of music, her influences ranging from Judy Collins and ABBA to the Andrews Sisters. John’s musical awakening came when he heard Stevie Ray Vaughn on the car radio in his mom’s ’68 Mustang.

Yet North Meets South blends the pair’s musical sensibilities into something altogether unique and mesmerizing. It’s chugging folk-rock and whiskey-sodden Americana, backwoods country and blistering blues. Most of all, North Meets South knows how to burrow into your soul. On stage and off, John and Joie just – excuse the cliché, but sometimes the cliché fits – make beautiful music together.

Even their covers manage to be original. The duo’s repertoire is as diverse as it is ambitious: Johnny Cash, Gnarls Barkley, Bob Marley, Jeff Buckley, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin and others. These are not cover versions that mimic. Bolstered by John’s driving guitar and Joie’s knockout vocals, North Meets South digs into the marrow of a song to let you experience it in a way you maybe hadn’t before.

“We think there's a grit and bite to our sound that separates us from the stereotypical acoustic duo,” says John. “We make a lot of noise for one guitar and a female vocalist.”

And about that singer: Joie’s powerhouse voice echoes of some greats -- Janis Joplin, Dusty Springfield and Gillian Welch come to mind -- but her vocal command is uniquely her own, imbued with a heart-wrenching, old-school soulfulness that belies her 25 years.

John and Joie met when both were attending college at the University of Oklahoma. John, an International Studies major, had taken an elective in musical theatre to keep from Chinese Mandarin overload. It was there he met Joie. John was smitten; he had planned to ask for her phone number the day of the final, but he didn’t expect Joie to wrap up the test early and cut out after only 15 minutes. Several months later, John happened to be outside the university library when he saw Joie walk by. This time, he didn’t let opportunity slip by.

Now a fixture on the Washington, DC, music scene, Joie and John took very different routes to arrive at North Meets South. For Joie, music was an integral part of growing up. At age 14, she belted out “River Deep, Mountain High” at a summer performing arts program and wowed the crowd. It offered a glimpse of what would follow. Joie devoted herself to music and eventually earned a musical theatre scholarship to OU. While at college, she was a soloist with the Oklahoma Philharmonic, performed with Broadway ingénue Kelli O’Hara and earned rave reviews as the legendary Patsy Cline in “Always, Patsy Cline.”

John’s first instrument was a trumpet. In high school, he fell for jazz, particularly the bebop of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, before taking up the guitar his sophomore year. His dedication to the guitar became a passion, and he developed an amalgamation of styles and techniques that encompassed Chet Atkins, the Carter Family and Metallica. Yes, you read that correctly.

“It sounds strange,” Joie says, “but it feels like a betrayal of sorts if we didn’t play music. Both of us have many other interests, but nothing motivates or pulls us the way that music does. It’s in our DNA somewhere. We’re meant to do this.”

Lyrics

Prairie Waltz

Written By: Joanna Sherman and William Johnson

‘Prairie Waltz’
Lyrics and music by Joanna Sherman and William Johnson
Copyright 2011

Verse 1:
There once was a place out West of the world
The wheat was white, golden pearl
Souls were free as the wind did blow
There once was a place, not long ago

The hands of the women were tender yet strong
The eyes of the men knew right from wrong
Lovers were lost out under the sky
The wonder of youth wrapped in a sigh

CHORUS:
So good bye to the dust and the dreams that were lost
Just remember that sweet prairie waltz
And that time passes by and we all wonder why
Just remember that sweet prairie waltz

Verse 2:
Followed the tracks and conquered each hill
Searching the stars lost and still
Each mystery was ours and our own to claim
Like the dust rose, wild and untamed

As life wandered on we wandered back home
Promised our kin we’d never roam
We’d smile though the wind seemed to whisper our fears
Sweeping the past, speeding the years

CHORUS:
So good bye to the dust and the dreams that were lost
Just remember that sweet prairie waltz
And that time passes by and we all wonder why
Just remember that Sweet Prairie Waltz

Interlude:

Verse 3:
I’ve been lost in a place many miles from my home
Search for a dream, wander and roam
My soul needs the wind but the wind doesn’t blow
Search for a dream but somehow you know

CHORUS
It’s good bye to the dust and the dreams that were lost
Just remember that sweet prairie waltz
And that time passes by and we all wonder why
Just remember that Sweet Prairie Waltz

And that time passes by and we all wonder why
Just remember that Sweet Prairie Waltz

Easy Leavin'

Written By: William Johnson and Joanna Sherman

Easy Leavin’
Lyrics and Music by William Johnson and Joanna Sherman
Copyright 2011

Verse: 1
Thought I knew your story from the start
Then you wrote me in and began to pen my part
Starry-eyed and living in a daze
You spin me round and drag me through your maze

CHORUS
Lovin’ is harder than leavin’ you
Can’t go back, I don’t know when I’ll see you again…
Was it real? Or was it all pretend?
Lovin’ is harder than leavin’ you

Verse 2:
Well you hung the moon, but honeymoon no more
In my head I’m one foot out the door
What I felt, I still feel, I do
But those sleepless nights-don’t wanna fight with you.

CHORUS:
Lovin’ is harder than leavin’ you
Can’t go back, I don’t know when I’ll see you again…
Was it real? Or was it all pretend?
Lovin’ is harder than leavin’ you

Verse 3:
Self preserve, found the nerve to leave
Tired of trusting words that only would deceive
I’ll recall the good times when I’m gone
Fight the nights till tears have turned to dawn

CHORUS
Lovin’ is harder than leavin’ you
Can’t go back, I don’t know when I’ll see you again…
Was it real? Or was it all pretend?
Lovin’ is harder than leavin’ you

Lovin’ is harder than leavin’ you
Lovin’ is harder than leavin’ you

Prairie Waltz

Written By: William Johnson and Joanna Sherman

'Prairie Waltz'
Lyrics and music by Joanna Sherman and William Johnson
Copyright 2011

Verse 1:
There once was a place out West of the world
The wheat was white, golden pearl
Souls were free as the wind did blow
There once was a place, not long ago

The hands of the women were tender yet strong
The eyes of the men knew right from wrong
Lovers were lost out under the sky
The wonder of youth wrapped in a sigh

CHORUS:
So good bye to the dust and the dreams that were lost
Just remember that sweet prairie waltz
And that time passes by and we all wonder why
Just remember that sweet prairie waltz

Verse 2:
Followed the tracks and conquered each hill
Searching the stars lost and still
Each mystery was ours and our own to claim
Like the dust rose, wild and untamed

As life wandered on we wandered back home
Promised our kin we'd never roam
We'd smile though the wind seemed to whisper our fears
Sweeping the past, speeding the years

CHORUS:
So good bye to the dust and the dreams that were lost
Just remember that sweet prairie waltz
And that time passes by and we all wonder why
Just remember that Sweet Prairie Waltz

Interlude:

Verse 3:
I've been lost in a place many miles from my home
Search for a dream, wander and roam
My soul needs the wind but the wind doesn't blow
Search for a dream but somehow you know

CHORUS
It's good bye to the dust and the dreams that were lost
Just remember that sweet prairie waltz
And that time passes by and we all wonder why
Just remember that Sweet Prairie Waltz

And that time passes by and we all wonder why
Just remember that Sweet Prairie Waltz

Set List

Highlights include the following:
Adele
Crazy (Gnarls Barkley)
D'yer Maker (Led Zeppelin)
Me and My Bobby McGee (J. Joplin)
Paint it Black (Rolling Stones)
Workin, Drinkin, Dyin (North meets South)
Wagon Wheel (Old Crow Medicine Show)
Folsom Prison (Johnny Cash)