Predictions Are Good for Old Omen
Old Omen bandmates Lindsey Boone and Grady Axton Davis hang out at the abandoned schoolhouse in the Omen community near Tyler.
Photos by Stellate Photography
Old Omen is a familiar name in East Texas. In the past, those words brought to mind for most the Old Omen Road that goes through Tyler leading out to the worn, scarcely-populated community of Omen near Arp.
But in recent years, a new Old Omen emerged with a distinct swampy folk-blues sound and all predictions indicate this is what the words conjure up for a growing audience now and in the future.
Founding band members Lindsey Boone and Grady Axton Davis met at a Beatles tribute show and discovered how very well her bluesy, gritty voice matched his bluesy, gritty guitar playing. He introduced her to Led Zeppelin, she showed him Otis Redding, and together they quickly developed their own special sound and formed Old Omen.
“When we were trying to think of a name we wanted something with significance to East Texas, and that somehow captured our sound too,” Boone says. “I love that there could be a great character behind the name. I picture an old guy smoking on his front porch, listening to blues, and I imagine he’d like our songs. The fact that Omen is still a minuscule town with nothing but a couple houses and a church makes it even cooler.”
Being their own unique collaboration, their sound is hard to put into any specific music genre, and that’s what people are enjoying about it most.
“We hope it’s something very different in the East Texas music scene,” Davis says. “I think the genres we’re tapping in to don’t get on display very often around here. You just don’t get a ton of bluesy soul original music, and I hope people think, ‘That’s a lot of sound for just two people to be producing.’”
They each have a genuine admiration of the talents of the other and enjoy sharing the limelight.
“His dedication and obsession with good music mirrors mine,” Boone says. “We make a great songwriting and performing team because our whole hearts and souls are in it, in every note. He’s the best damn guitarist in East Texas, and he makes me a better singer, because we’re constantly trying to sing or play in a way that’s worthy of the other’s artistry. His innate understanding of the ‘rules’ in music make him break the rules in all the right ways, which is something I strive to do vocally as well.”
Davis agrees it’s a good partnership.
“I can come up with any kind of a guitar part, in any key, and she can sing it, and sing it really well,” he says. “It’s great playing next to someone who can wail — she’s a total bad ass. There’s an old soul in her voice.”
As well as they blend, they admit to coming from two very different musical backgrounds. Davis grew up listening to metal and hard rock, while Boone favored classical, jazz, and folk.
“My idol is Etta James, his is Jimmy Page. Grady is M&M’s and I’m Skittles,” Boone says. “It’s our differences that make us so musically strong and create a different sort of blend. You have the super bluesy, raw, rock-based acoustic guitar with strong jazzy female vocals. It makes for a very cool sound.”
While their musical influences are very different, their roots are both firmly planted in East Texas.
“I’m a Tyler girl, through and through,” Boone says. “We moved here when I was four and I still live in Tyler with my husband and two sons. I love East Texas — sweet onions, my grandfather’s drawl, Indian paintbrushes, peach cobbler, azaleas and churches and sycamore boughs singing in the wind and rain — I love it all.”
Davis came to East Texas to visit relatives growing up and his whole family eventually ended up here. After wandering around a bit, he too made his way to East Texas.
“It’s where my family is, where we own land, full of good people,” he says. “After living in LA for a few years, then moving back, I realized how much I missed the big pine trees, the big clouds, and the changing of seasons.”
The duo hopes to help improve the diversity of music for the region.
“Sometimes East Texan culture does present a challenge, musically, because it is so centered around country music, and Grady and I don’t write country tunes. I love blues, rock, soul, and jazz, and those are genres that need a bit of a revival in our area.”
Boone and Davis found early on that songwriting is part of their journey together. During their very first rehearsal they wrote their first song called “Sweet Ol Tune” and they haven’t stopped writing since.
They recently released their first full-length album. The self-titled Old Omen features eight original tracks including “Just My Size,” “Noonday Dream,” “Empty Bed Blues,” “Touch,” “Shadows,” “Pirate Song,” “Jeans,” and “Blue Moon.”
They are taking the CD out on the road as they tour all over North and East Texas this year with gigs in Tyler, Hawkins, Arlington, Harleton, Henderson, Dallas, and Ben Wheeler booked so far.
Hear samplings of their songs and find out more about upcoming shows on their website oldomen.com.