By Doug Hill
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Austin’s The Possum Posse is a big band with a lot of family connections.
Jomo Edwards plays guitar and drums, while his brother, Lincoln Edwards is on banjo. Upright bassist Brian Wolfe is married to back-up vocalist Maggie Wolfe. Mandolin player Marty Clifford and guitarist Jes Clifford are father and son.
Together they play an irreverent style of amped-up bluegrass that throws convention out the window and invites hilarity in the front door.
Tomorrow the Posse will be playing the Norman Music Festival and it’s their first ever show in Oklahoma. Edwards previewed their performance, describing a rapid-fire conglomeration of music featuring song jokes and stage shenanigans.
“It won’t be a concert where we just get up there and play our songs,” Edwards said. “It’s more like an interactive show.”
Edwards writes most of the group’s lyrics and brings a keen sense of humor developed during his upbringing in Abilene, Texas.
Take, for example, an excerpt from his original composition “Baptist Girls,” that goes: “She don’t drink/ she don’t
spit, don’t cuss and don’t fight/ but that’s all out the window on a Saturday night ... ”
Edwards said the lyrics are an amalgamation of his entire high school dating experience into one song.
“I was growing up in a place where the Baptists are kind of in charge of everything,” he said.
He said that his band’s musical chops have developed considerably since their early shows. They do play songs that aren’t their own but not in the typical fashion. Think Bone Thugs N Harmony’s “Crossroads” but with banjo and guitar.
“We cover other people but it is usually girlie pop songs, rap or hip hop,” he said. “You’ll recognize the tune but it’s not really comparable to the original.”
The challenge and complexity of mashing genres like this makes the group more than just a gimmick band. They’ve proven especially popular with younger audiences who recognize when Kelly Clarkson or Beyonce is being musically pilloried.
“We play Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’ and the secret is it’s one of our guilty musical pleasures,” he said. “We really enjoy performing that number.”
Edwards’ original compositions often take a romantic turn. One is a love song duet titled “Substandard Love” sung with Wolfe.
“It’s about a couple who meet, fall in love and get married all within the walls of Walmart in one day,” he said. “The greeter just happens to be a pastor, there’s a jewelry department for the ring and their honeymoon dinner is at McDonald’s.”
Edwards said there has never been a subject too ridiculous for him to write a song about.
Another ditty called “She’s Holding Something Against Me” reveals it’s the barrel of her shotgun. “The Well Mannered Riders” is about an old west posse who is the epitome of good behavior.
“They always seem to be really bad and cheesy if I try to get serious,” Edwards said. “Our thing is ridiculous songs with solid music.”
The Possum Posse currently have an EP but they’re set to record a full length album this month at Ray Benson’s (Asleep at the Wheel) Bismeaux studio in Austin. Cody Braun, fiddle player for Reckless Kelly.”
“We’re pumped about that,” Edwards said. “All the songs that will be on the album we’ll be playing at the Norman Music Festival show.”