Kyle Reid & Ken Pomeroy — 21st Annual Woody Guthrie Festival, 2018

Woodyfest 2018: Ken Pomeroy

Ken Pomeroy at the Hen House

Prodigy’s Official Woodyfest Début

I first met [Sidenote: This is part thirty of our Woodyfest 2018 cov­er­age, fea­tur­ing Moore, Oklahoma singer-song­writer Ken Pomeroy.] singer-song­writer Ken Pomeroy on New Year’s Eve, 2015. Her father, Skippy, builds rac­ing motor­cy­cles in the large shop behind the fam­ily home and occa­sion­ally hosts con­certs on the small stage inside. [Sidenote: I’ve been in many green rooms. But Skippy’s green room, by day a spray booth for paint­ing motor­cy­cles, is the nicest. Before a con­cert Skippy fur­nishes it with com­fort­able, uphol­stered fur­ni­ture, tables, lamps, a rug, and art­work. And of course he and his wife Wendy stock it with plenty of snacks and drinks for the musi­cians. The shop does triple-duty as it also some­times serves as Wendy’s pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dio.] Kyle Reid and the Low-Swinging Chariots head­lined the end-of-year cel­e­bra­tion. Before Reid’s set, Ken played a short set of cov­ers and orig­i­nal songs to a recep­tive audience.

Besides the matu­rity of her writ­ing, what really struck me about Pomeroy’s per­for­mance was that she had already devel­oped a stage pres­ence. Despite only being thir­teen-years-old, Pomeroy did not stand motion­less with her eyes closed, retreat­ing into some performer’s inner sanc­tum. She kept her lids open. She feigned eye-con­tact with the audi­ence. She talked to them. She engaged with them.

I say “feigned” look­ing because the light­ing at Skippy’s is pretty decent, which means it’s too bright for the per­form­ers to actu­ally see the audi­ence. That’s good, because it means the audi­ence can see the performers.

It also means musi­cians may be tempted to close their eyes for their own com­fort even if shy­ness or stage-fright isn’t already an issue. And I know many grown-up men and women who haven’t fig­ured out that that dimin­ishes the fan expe­ri­ence because it puts up a bar­rier to con­nect­ing with the audi­ence. I asked Pomeroy after the show who taught her to keep her eyes open like that. I just fig­ured it out, she said.

Ken Pomeroy — “The Sidewalk Song,” The Oklahoma Room at Folk Alliance 2018

Pomeroy began singing, writ­ing songs, and play­ing the ukulele at age nine. By ten she was play­ing gui­tar. Since I saw her at Skippy’s she’s opened for or shared stages with Wanda Jackson, Stony LaRue, and Bo Phillips. She’s per­formed on the big stages at the Centennial Opry and the Riverwind Casino. She was the first win­ner of the Jimmy LaFave Songwriting Contest last year and is also a recip­i­ent of the Rising Star Award from the Songwriters Association of Norman. The Oklahoma Room at Folk Alliance 2018 com­pi­la­tion [Sidenote: Tulsa’s non-profit music label Horton Records releases an annual com­pi­la­tion to ben­e­fit Okie artists show­cas­ing at Folk Alliance International. Past issues, as well as Pomeroy’s new album, are avail­able from their Bandcamp page.] included her song, “The Sidewalk Song,” which she per­formed at Folk Alliance International last February.

Pomeroy has been appear­ing on the unof­fi­cial stage at Lou’s Rocky Road Tavern [Sidenote: Lou’s Rocky Road Tavern served as an unof­fi­cial venue for Woodyfest since its incep­tion, fea­tur­ing fes­ti­val per­form­ers and host­ing open-mic ses­sions through­out. Last year fes­ti­val orga­niz­ers bestowed them offi­cial sta­tus.] since 2016. 2018 marked her offi­cial Woodyfest début, where she per­formed selec­tions from her first full-length album, Hallways. Earlier in the year, she played Mile 0 Fest. At the time of this writ­ing, she is in Key West, Florida, mak­ing her sec­ond appear­ance at Mile 0.

Gallery: Ken Pomeroy


About Chris J. Zähller

International Man of Mystery. Cocktail Nerd. Occasionally designs websites. Sometimes snaps a picture or two.

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