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"..moves between rowdy, bluegrass rippers to warmhearted ballads with a classic country feel." 
OC Weekly

“The mix of uptempo, honky-tonk numbers and introspective ballads are based on personal narratives and give off a friendly, good-time vibe." 
Long Beach Post

"A collection songs that will get your boots stomping and head bobbing to a mix of modern bluegrass reflections on country living in the middle of the big city."
Long Beach Press Telegram


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Led by songwriter and guitarist Katie Jo Oberthaler, Katie Jo & The Mijos play classic country music fit for the modern era—and often fit for folks who say they don’t like country music at all. A native of Kansas, and currently based in California, Katie Jo brings a Midwestern sensibility to songs that dance in defeat of life’s plainest realities: circumstances might be bad, and probably getting worse, so better to take it in stride and get on with it, then. This isn’t soft-spoken folk melodies nor hard-scrabble outlaw snarls: it’s lyrical vulnerability mixed with a vivacious live energy. It’s having a chip on your shoulder while still looking for one to cry on. It’s being your own worst enemy and your own savior.

With a broad sound backed by fiddle, pedal steel, upright bass, and keys, her high-energy live show is not often expected of the diminutive band leader. Katie Jo’s out to prove that modern country music should be played with just enough bite to last—and you don’t have to wear big hat or beard to do it. 

Starting in 2017, she cut her teeth playing punk dive bars and honky tonk holdouts around Southern California and carved out strong support with non-country music fans by playing shows in untraditional venues like boxing gyms and barbershops as well as regional festivals. Since then, she has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with notable artists such as Billy Joe Shaver, Lucero, and more.

2018’s Prairie Flower EP melded Katie Jo’s windswept Kansas roots with her background in bluegrass music, covering ground with both boot-stomping 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 debut full-length country album is currently in production at Big Ego Studios in Long Beach, CA, under the helm of producer Chris Schlarb. The album was recorded in tradition of country records past, with a live backing band in one room, in just three days. It will be released in late 2019. 

Also a proficient banjo picker ("2018 Banjo Babe Calendar" artist), Oberthaler can be also often be heard playing with local artists like the Ameripolitan-nominated band The Ponderosa Aces and offstage at bluegrass jam circles in the Los Angeles area.

Notable Gigs & ACCOLADES

Sofar Sounds (2019)
Echo Park Rising Festival (2018)
Long Beach Craft Beer Festival (2018)
Banjo Babes Calendar Artist (2018)
Rebelle Road Parlour Pickin’ Sessions (2018)
Long Beach Folk Revival Festival (2017 & 2015)
Laguna Beach Fete de la Musique (2017)


Prairie Flower (March 2018)


  • All My Money's on the Highway | MP3 | LYRICS

  • Prairie Flower | MP3 | LYRICS

  • Pawnshop Queen | MP3 | LYRICS

  • Crooked Lies | MP3 |


  • Released March 9, 2018 | All songs written by Katie Jo Oberthaler (ASCAP) Copyright 2018. Tracks 1 and 2 recorded and mixed by Louis Conway of Till Death Studios in Hollywood, California. Tracks 3 and 4 recorded and mixed by Kirk Jordan of Big Peach Records. Mastered by Brian Frederick of Hybrid Studios in Costa Mesa, CA.


Press Photos


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