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Morgantown-born musician still inspired by W.Va. traditions

by Olivia Murray

A Morgantown-born musician currently living in The Netherlands will release a project inspired by West Virginia ghost stories and folklore later this month.

Annick Odom, a West Virginia native, graduated from the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, a city in The Netherlands, in 2018. Since then, she has performed at Banff Center for the Arts Ensemble Evolution, New Music on the Point in Vermont, and the Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival.

“I moved because I wanted a small-sized adventure in Europe while also completing a master’s in music, and since I grew up speaking Dutch — my mother’s Belgian — going to study at a conservatoire in The Netherlands seemed like a great way to tick all those boxes,” Odom explained.

Odom  previously released a solo album, “West Virginia, My Home,” on which she traverses Appalachian tales central to West Virginia. Odom worked with a variety of American songwriters on the project, and composed some of the songs herself.

“I’ve been working as a bassist and singer with composers over the last four years to write solo pieces, blending the aspects I love about my experience growing up in Appalachia, especially tall tales and fantastical, supernatural stories,” said Odom.

On Odom’s newest project, “Seven Bones,” she partnered with her oboist roommate, Federico Forla. The idea was conceived during a pandemic-induced lockdown in The Netherlands earlier this year. 

“We were inspired by one of the few books I had on my bookshelf at the time — a collection of West Virginia ghost stories,” Odom said. “Perhaps it was easier to focus on a scary moment that was almost definitely a piece of fiction instead of being constantly focused on the many day-to-day fears we have as musicians during a pandemic.”

With her work, Odom wants to bring West Virginia’s culture and history to light in a way that honors the state in which she was born and raised, and shows respect for “the complexities of folk music.”

“One of my favorite parts of the story ‘Seven Bones’ as it was collected by folklorist Ruth Ann Musick, is the storyteller Anna Krajnak’s use of the word ‘putce,’ which, when I looked it up, seemed to have no meaning,” Odom said.

“I’ve always loved the way stories morph as they are passed down generation to generation, and though I thought of taking the word out of the story, I decided this was the perfect way to highlight what I find to be the most exciting part of oral traditions.” 

The stop-motion music video for the upcoming song was created  by Odom and Forla.

 “The artwork was inspired by the traditional art of crankies (a panoramic scroll drawing),” Odom said.

There is not yet an exact release date for “Seven Bones,” although Odom said it should be soon.

“West Virginia, My Home” is available on Bandcamp:

More information on Annick Odom and her work can be found on Odom’s website:

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