Folk Trio to Release Debut Album

Folk Trio to Release Debut Album
Staff Photo Nick Brothers Folk trio Snake Girty Turncoat consists of Ansel Ogle (front, vocals, banjo, guitar) Ginny Garber-Ogle (vocals, piano) and Joshua Walters, (right, vocals, octave mandolin, guitar)

Staff Photo Nick Brothers
Folk trio Snake Girty Turncoat consists of Ansel Ogle (front, vocals, banjo, guitar) Ginny Garber-Ogle (vocals, piano) and Joshua Walters, (right, vocals, octave mandolin, guitar)

While the name Snake Girty Turncoat sounds like a folk legend, it’s actually the Fayetteville-based folk trio of musicians Ansel Ogle, Ginny Garber-Ogle and Joshua Walters.

The name comes from Snake Girty cemetery, near where the Canadian and Arkansas rivers connect in Oklahoma. Upon finding it, the name caught their fancy. Named after an actual Snake Girty, the band did some research on it and found that he had come from a lineage of Turncoats — or deserters.

The music is earthy, soulful and occasionally haunting throughout the 10 original songs on the album centered around themes of nature, love and inner exploration.

In addition to vocals, the album features guitar, banjo, octave mandolin, piano, washtub bass and brushes. The percussion work was played by Jacob George during his final week, and with his passing the recording came to an end.

Each song was recorded in one take using ADAT equipment (Alesis Digital Audio Tape) and mastered by Kelly Mulhollan of Still on the Hill. During recording in the attic of Walters’ cabin, there wasn’t any air conditioning, so the windows were left open allowing for a pulse of crickets and cicadas to be heard on the recordings. The art featured on the album was done by Ansel Ogle, the photography by Stephen Ironside.

The trio will host an album release party Saturday, July 18, in their friend Ginny Masullo’s backyard. The show is free and for all ages with refreshments provided.

Here’s our conversation:

TFW: Okay, so what’s the origin story for Snake Girty Turncoat?

ANSEL: Joshua, he was making a marionette on the square. I thought to myself I gotta meet this guy because I’m a woodworker, too. We met through Baird, who is a luthier around here. We got closer that way. I thought Joshua would be too good for Ginny and I. He was really good at mandolin and he could play with Baird, who’s a crazy good guitarist.

JOSHUA: Yeah, we were just hanging out. We just hit it off right away, laughing a lot and joking around.

ANSEL: Yeah, lots of laughing.

JOSHUA: Ginny and Ansel were asked to play for the community radio and they were like, “Hey, you wanna play with us?” and I was like, “I’d love to!” Then I kinda fell in love with it from there. All of our stuff is original.

GINNY: We each had our own handful of songs that we brought to the table. Once we started playing each other’s songs we really enjoyed the dynamic that it created. It made playing our own music even more fun to play it as a group.

TFW: Once you guys were playing together, did a group writing style emerge?

GINNY: It definitely started out where we brought our own individual songs, but have we done any as a group yet?

JOSHUA: No, not yet, but there are definitely parts of songs where we’ll help out on. Y’know, it’ll be like “Hey, what’s the production of this song? It needs something else…what do you think?”

ANSEL: Lyrically, especially, everyone writes their own song. Ginny and I started co-writing recently and composing stuff and trying to get her to write stuff to it. She speaks French, so I’m trying to get her to sing French to my pieces.

TFW: So when you’re trying and writing stuff out or playing live, do you guys get into some improvisation or jams?

GINNY: There’s definitely some improvisation going on when we’re learning each other’s songs. We kinda play around with different stylings. We usually come to a general path that each of us is going to stay on like a similar lick each time. We like to leave enough space to add a little improv here and there and put in an extra solo here and there.

JOSHUA: Live-wise we haven’t extended to full on jams yet.

ANSEL: When we play, we’re really surprised by how fast we don’t have to go through it. It seems like a lot of songs we find our set playing within the first couple times of playing it. That’s what really surprised me. Someone said here’s our new song and then all of sudden we find our groove in it and we stick to it. It kinda feels set like that sometimes.

GINNY: I’d say one of our main intentions of us playing together is to really respect the space of each song. So when we first started playing we were all trying to contribute really fun licks and make it really jam-packed with good stuff. We realized it sounds a lot stronger when we kinda let off and create that space and allow it to do its own thing. That’s where our emphasis is.

TFW: What about your songcraft? What are some of the core messages you guys are expressing in your music?

ANSEL: We play from the heart and we try to open people’s hearts. A lot of times you’ll play at a bar and jam and kinda run with the message of “Let’s get fucked up!” It’s not that kind of music. Joshua’s really into Sacred Honey and Native Craft. I’m into farming and Ginny’s been into music all her life and literature, too — she’s a poet. Basically, from the heart and through nature convey a message.

GINNY: There’s a few songs that have a more direct message you can pull straight from the words. The other ones are more about painting a picture and the listener will take whatever message they receive.

TFW: Ginny and Ansel, what’s it like being married and in a band together?

ANSEL: By the way, we’re all in “a relationship.” [laughs]

JOSHUA: They’ve been trying to change my last name. [laughs]

GINNY: It’s been really nice. Y’know we’ve played music off and on and then we decided to form the band and it just really came together naturally.

ANSEL: Joshua really secured the deal. I didn’t play music before I met Ginny. I mean, I doodled and had my own space music but she helped me start writing and Joshua really sort of bridged it all together.

TFW: I saw Jacob George, the local peace advocate, was featured on your album. What did you guys work on together before he passed?

ANSEL: Yeah, he was really close. I’ve known Jacob for five years. We all got close and he became a member of the band in the spring or summer of last year. Actually his last day here with us he was playing, he recorded with us. The album is dedicated to him. Borderlines, Blue Heron and Hot Summer Town you can hear him playing on. He’s known for his banjo playing, but he played washtub bass and brushes. He wanted to get away from banjo.

GINNY: He added a lot more laughter to these too.

ANSEL: It was bad.

JOSHUA: It was good. [laughs] Bad good.

Snake Girty Turncoat CD Release Show

When: Saturday, July 18, 7:30 p.m.

Where: 1837 N. Rupple Road in Fayetteville, in Ginny Masullo’s backyard. All are welcome.

How Much: Free admission

The CD is available for purchase on the band’s website,, as well as iTunes, CDBaby, Spotify and at select local retailers.

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