First single off the upcoming record “Second Day of Spring”.
Annie Oakley have fought hard for happiness. At just 23-years-old, twin sisters Sophia and Jo had faced a decade of darkness. Then they built lighthouses.
Annie Oakley’s official debut, Second Day of Spring, is a towering beacon: a victorious indie-folk record that further introduces two brilliant songwriters who are also mesmerizing singers, using voices that feel light and weighted gazes that see clearly to offer the rest of us comfort in treacherous corners.
“A lot of this album is rooted in healing from familial hurt,” says Sophia. “There are songs about marriage and healing from mistrust. Family ties that have been broken.”
Hope cracks through early songs on Second Day of Spring like grass growing in sidewalks, before sprawling out into lush meadows by the end of the record. Acoustic guitar is a constant companion for the twins’ natural harmonies, joined at turns by standout guests ranging from viola to organelle to trumpet to piano.
While Annie Oakley’s arrangements may not immediately evoke the girls’ native Oklahoma, music lovers who have been paying attention will recognize their literary songwriting as part of that state’s rich troubadour tradition––a tradition bolstered in recent years by John Fulbright, John Moreland, Samantha Crain, Parker Millsap, Kierston White, and more.
“If you’re a creator or an outsider, you can find refuge in that scene. You’re fostered by that community,” Sophia says. “For Jo and I, it was a push to be better. Also, growing up in Oklahoma––what else is there to do but write?”
Sophia and Jo were homeschooled and raised on about nine farmland acres just outside of Norman, Oklahoma. Their lives changed abruptly at 13, when their father, who suffered from Parkinson’s disease, took his own life.
“I am not afraid of telling people that my dad killed himself,” explains Sophia, calmly. “Mental health is such an undervalued issue that’s not talked about enough – so we talk about it through our writing.”
The loss pushed the girls to write. “I started playing guitar at 14, and we started writing together at 14 or 15,” Jo says. “It came pretty naturally, but as siblings, there was friction.” The tension made the songs even better.
On Where the Name “Annie Oakley” Comes From
At around 15, Sophia and Jo also felt they needed a band name. Invigorated after discovering feminism––a revelation for two girls who had grown up in a conservative home––they were drawn to powerful women, not damsels.
That summer, they couldn’t get a Miniature Tigers song called “Annie Oakley” out of their heads. And around the same time, two different friends recommended a new documentary about the real Annie Oakley, the female trailblazing sharpshooter from the 1890s as well.
“With all of these motifs of this Western, badass woman coming at us, and our love of country and bluegrass music at the time, we thought, ‘Why not just call ourselves Annie Oakley?’,” Sophia says. “So we did! And it stuck.”
Annie Oakley played throughout Oklahoma and beyond, earning a grassroots following that included more established peers like Crain and White, who invited the duo to share their stages and open shows.