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Norman Music Fest: Spinster's Jo Babb finds individuality as musician outside of Annie Oakley

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Indie rock band Spinster, fronted by Grace Babb of Annie Oakley. 

Local singer-songwriter Jo Babb will perform at Norman Music Fest in two bands – Annie Oakley, and her own rising indie rock band, Spinster. 

Babb and her twin Sophia started their local americana band Annie Oakley in 2013 with friend Nia Personette. Over the years, they have become fixtures in the local music scene, including multiple performances at Norman Music Fest. 

In 2018 when Sophia decided to study abroad in Germany, Grace didn't want to stop making music, so she pioneered another musical dream of hers – Spinster

"People who have come to Annie Oakley shows know that some of the songs that I’ve specifically written for (the band) sound a little different than Sophie," Grace Babb said. "And this is a really good representation of me as an individual musician."

Spinster formed in June 2018, fronted by Babb, with friends Spenser Powers and Tremaine Wade of Swim Fan, and Branden Palesano of Mad Honey

Babb describes Spinster's sound as indie rock with folk influences lyrically, but musically "it's anything but folk," she said. 

Babb had a collection of songs that weren't quite the right fit for Annie Oakley and thought it was "about time that I get a band together and start playing on my own," she said. 

As for the name, Babb said the idea of becoming a spinster, or an unmarried, childless woman, has always appealed to her, both as a lifestyle and as a solo band name.

She said the idea came from her grandmother, who would joke about wishing she had been a spinster when Babb was growing up. 

"It was this joke that I always heard," Babb said. "The idea of being a spinster has always appealed to me – just an independent old lady, kind of grumpy – I just love it, and I made the band finally."

While some fans of Annie Oakley are equal fans of Spinster, Babb said the band has acquired a unique and separate fan-base, she said. 

Babb said she is looking forward to performing at Norman Music Fest with both bands and covering "different musical bases" and audiences. 

Spinster's first single "Achilles" is on bandcamp and soundcloud, and will be officially released May 10. The single precedes their self-titled debut album, which will release in June, according to a press release.

Since the band's formation, Babb said the group has changed in members, and currently consists of Babb as a solo-artist. Despite the flux nature of Spinster, Wade and Palesano, as well as Babb's friend Blake Burgess, will perform with Babb for one last show together at 4 p.m. April 27 on the Opolis Outdoor Stage at Norman Music Fest.

Additionally, Babb will perform with Norman Music Fest headliners Annie Oakley  9 p.m. April 26 on Sooner Theatre's stage at the festival. 

Update: This story was updated 3:56 p.m. April 10 to reflect the release of Spinster's single and album, and at 4:55 p.m. April 27 to reflect the name change of Grace Babb to Jo Babb.  

Culture editor

Abigail Hall is a journalism senior and culture editor at The Daily. She previously worked as the culture assistant editor, and arts & entertainment reporter.

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