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.
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.