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Oakley Hall

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When Oneida's Pat Sullivan left the band in 2001, he wanted to try something a little more country. He formed Crazee & Heaven, but it was a short stint. Sullivan wasn't defeated, however; he gathered some of his Crazee & Heaven bandmates -- drummer Will Dyar, bassist Jesse Barnes, and fiddle player Claudia Mogel -- to form Oakley Hall. Podunks songwriter Steve Tesh, banjo player Fred Wallace, vocalist Leah Blessoff, and guitarist Ed Kurz completed the lineup by 2002. A year later, with a handful of East Coast tours and a self-released EP under their belt, Oakley Hall issued their self-titled full-length for Bulb. Kurz also left the band and was replaced by Ted Southern. Around this time, Sullivan endured a painful injury to his right hand while working on a construction site, but thankfully, he only lost one finger, not his ability to play. Dyar, Tesh, and Southern eventually exited Oakley Hall by 2003, with Blessof following in 2004. With a new lineup consisting of Sullivan, Greg Anderson (drums), Wallace now on electric guitar, Mogel, and vocalist Rachel Cox (the Podunks, the Ospreys), Oakley Hall began crafting a tighter, electric countrified sound. The end result was two records: Second Guessing was released on Amish in early 2006; Gypsum Strings arrived that June. The following year, after touring with Bright Eyes and signing to Merge, the band issued their fourth full-length, I'll Follow You, shortly after which drummer Anderson left to focus on other projects and was replaced by Pat Wood. ~ MacKenzie Wilson

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