Concert Preview: Mary Okie at The Bishop, Saturday Night

By Ryan Lee Dawes

I misplaced my keys while changing a flat tire off a narrow country road in Morgan County.

Being an unusually warm, winter morning, with no place important to be, I was only half-worried I’d be stranded.

Gradually, a sound sauntered up from the ditch, faint strings, followed by delicate, yet assertive voices of knowing women, sultry, but sometimes dry and dismal, Mary Okie had come to help.

Without kneeling or hurrying, they fetched my keys from the muddy shoulder where I rolled over them with the car jack.

As they crooned atop meandering banjo and some agrarian’s squeezebox pilfered from within a leaning barn, the important pieces of metal returned to my hand.

As I wiped them clean, Mary told me about a drunken father blocking traffic, jokes mostly fit for children, and a heretically jovial version of Judgment Day.

“The brimstone smells of perfume and the locusts sing so sweet,” they explained.

“That’s not so bad,” I replied.

They concluded our meeting with multi-part harmony only half-serious, but entirely beautiful.

Mary Okie plays at The Bishop with Fancy Tramp Saturday, November 26th at 9:00 pm.  $3.

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