Okemah

Okemah

BandRock

Okemah are the bastard sons of American roots music. For fifteen years they have toured the landscape of their favorite styles of music (folk, blues, jazz, and country) and have been simmering these ingredients into a style they can call all their own and now are ready to bring it to you.

Biography

Okemah (O-KEE-MUH) N.
1. City in Oklahoma (pop. 3,085)
2. Home of Woody Guthrie
3. In the Kickapoo Language, means "Things up High"

“Things up high” is exactly what Okemah has been reaching for ever since they got together to find a way to bridge the gap between their love for American roots music and modern electric music. How does one bring the fervor and vision of the past masters into the 21st century without simply copying what has already been done? That is the question Okemah has worked tirelessly to answer and feel confident they have done so after many hours of hard work. Now they are ready to record and bring this sound on the road for the first time. Whether they are playing songs from the 1930’s or originals of their own – the foundation remains the same: tightly written songs played with honesty and without reservation. Everywhere they have played they have been greeted with great enthusiasm and appreciation from the participants, yes, participants. As in days of old, Okemah views the live performance as an act of communication between the players and the audience. With that in mind, Okemah takes the listener on a tour of the landscape of America itself as they delve into many of her musical gifts. From the Delta to Memphis to New York to Nashville to Chicago and beyond Okemah mines in the caverns of any place with heart and soul. By the end of the night the entire congregation leaves full from the experience. When you see Okemah live you too will leave reaching for “Things up High.”

Lyrics

Take me back to Brooklyn

Written By: Damian Ubriaco

Take me back to Brooklyn
1975
Walking to the market
In the summer time
Mama holding my hand
Music playing through an open window
It takes me right back there
When I hear the Beatles on my radio

Take me back to peach farms
When I was seventeen
Everyone so high
Everybody so green
Underneath the night sky
Trying to find a little bit of soul
It takes me right back there
When I hear Jerry on my radio

All of my life is fading like a dream
The soundtrack to my life is on the radio

Take me back to Mountains
On a cold winter’s night
Walking home from the barroom
Holding my baby tight
Back at her apartment
Dancing real slow
It takes me right back there
When I hear Otis Redding on my radio

All of my life is fading like a dream
The soundtrack to my life is on the radio

Driving home late night
Kids in the back fast asleep
Miles go by so fast
It can almost make you weep
Then my girl smiles
Everything is a-glow
And I got a new song
Playing on my radio

So much of my life fades like a dream
One scene to the next it just flows
When I want to touch a part that has slipped into the stream
All I have to do is turn on my radio

Breath of Jesus

Written By: Damian Ubriaco

It was a cold and rainy evening
when I lost control of the wheel
The sound was like rolling thunder
the twisting of flesh, glass, and steel

I turned to see my baby
I could see she was hurt real bad
But her eyes were filled with wonder
And her voice was joyous and glad

I can still see her smiling
as if she was in no pain
she said darling, I can see the kingdom
then she called out Jesus’ name

All alone I wake in the evening
All I can do is kneel and cry
And wish that it was me who was smiling
with Jesus at my side

Chorus

In the morning I stare out the window
with my gun in my hand
I can almost hear the angels singing
from across the promised land

Chorus

I fall upon my knees now
hang my head in shame
I ask the lord for forgiveness
then I call on Jesus name

In that moment I felt pure stillness
as the gun slipped from my hand
Upon my neck I felt the breath of Jesus
Now I will forever understand

In the Breeze

Written By: Damian Ubriaco

Shadows falling
On a sleepy town
Crowd is gathering
Around a young girl lying still
Body bent and broke
Snow turning red
A young man sees her
His world caves in

chorus
Light a candle for all those to see
Who travel the road lost and lonely
For when the wind blows
We all flicker in the breeze – in the breeze

Church bells ringing
Across an empty field
An old man hears them
Eyes fill with tears
He thinks of a young girl
From so long ago
Her voice singing
His world caves in

chorus
Breeze is blowing
Through an open window
A young girl stands there
Looking at the streets below
She puts her feet on the ledge
As her hand drops a letter
She watches it floating
Her world caves in
chorus

Discography

Okemah has released on self titled EP and are in the process of recording their first full length CD.

Set List

The typical set list runs from 75 minutes to 90 minutes. We can do three sets in a night. In the middle of one of the sets we break it down to the acoustic instruments where we explore our roots. This usually consists of banjo, mandolin, stand up bass, and a solid foundation of vocal harmony. Often songs by Woodie Guthrie, Leadbelly, Hank Williams, and the like rise in their glory during our acoustic sets. The majority of our show though is original music that blends the traditional with the modern. Our goal is to take the listener with us on a journey filled with fervor and release.