Lead by front woman and songwriter Katie Jo Oberthaler, Long-Beach, CA, country band Katie Jo & The Mijos play classic country fit for a roadhouse hoedown with lyrics as tender as the partner you’d dance with.
A Kansas native and proficient banjo picker ("2018 Banjo Babe Calendar" artist), Oberthaler began playing five-string banjo after attending the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in her early 20s. Time spent living in the Appalachian region solidified her bluegrass training, and when her day job brought her to California, she quickly joined up in the songwriting circles in the LA region.
In 2016, she started Katie Jo & The Mijos to blend her extensive training in bluegrass music with her love of classic country songwriting—and frankly because she was tired of the boys having all the fun at the late-night local honky tonks.
The early success of her live shows propelled her into notable local festivals such as Long Beach Folk Revival Festival, Echo Park Rising and regular gigs at well-known clubs through the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. With both a lyrical vulnerability with a vivacious, biting live energy, neither her and the band nor the audience is ever standing still by the end of the night.
The group’s debut EP release Prairie Flower (March 2018) melds Oberthaler’s windswept Kansas roots with the breezy sounds of the California country scene with both boot-stomping bluegrass rompers and mournful country ballads. Lead single “All My Money’s on the Highway” was inspired by the song “Asheville Turnaround” by The Del McCoury Band, a rework of the bluegrass number into a cynical story of what it’s like to try to date in Los Angeles. Swaying two-step title track “Prairie Flower” chronicles a desire to leave one’s rural roots for more exciting experiences and was derived from the 1930s song by The Two Leslies, “I’m a Little Prairie Flower.” Acoustic ballad “Pawn Shop Queen” laments the castaways of past relationships, backed by a mournful accordion and melodic fingerpicking. “Crooked Lies” takes rumors head-on in a country stomper accented with organs and chorus-lifting harmonies.
Katie Jo’s first full-length studio “Pawn Shop Queen” is currently in production at Big Ego Studios in Long Beach, CA. Recorded with a live band under the helm of producer Chris Schlarb, the the album will be released in 2019.