One direction 

Six months ago, John Johnson and Joie Sherman-Johnson, both University of Oklahoma alum who make up the duo North Meets South, were working corporate jobs in Washington, D.C., playing “casually, not even weekly, not even monthly for about two years,” per Johnson, before relocating to Norman.

Fresh from a short tour of the Midwest, the two readied for another round of upcoming local shows, including back-to-back gigs at Oklahoma City Limits and Norman’s Midway Deli. So why would they move from the East Coast to Oklahoma to start a musical career?

“Ultimately, we just wanted to be in a place that made us happy,” said Sherman-Johnson, a former musical theater major. “We missed Oklahoma the minute we left it. We thought we would do our best work when we were in a good mental state, and that’s in Oklahoma.”

Added husband and guitarist Johnson with a grin, “High standard of living, low cost of living.”

Before returning to Norman, the two worked to perfect their musical relationship, while trying to maintain their personal one as well.

“We have similar musical tastes, so that was easy,” he said. “But as far as the way we approached our
instruments, and the way those things went together, we had to figure
that out.”

Sherman-Johnson agreed, “Just figuring out as a couple not to take things personally when you’re working, like, ‘Oh the tempo’s a little fast!’ ‘You don’t know me!’” He described the music as “Americana, which is kind of a vague term.” She said they’re “eclectic.” Calling on inspiration from acts as diverse as Patsy Cline and Red Hot Chili Peppers, both ultimately settled on the all-encompassing term of “alt-country” to define their sound.

“We have a really current and youthful energy, so if we do stuff that has more of an old-school vibe, I think that there’s a currentness about that will excite people who are more into the now than the past,” Sherman- Johnson said.

North Meets South is prepping its first album, but meanwhile, promises a “good, solid night of music.”

“It’s been a wild journey for us ... so I think people will feel very appreciated. I think we got a good energy to give when we play,” she said. “It means a lot to have those people in those seats. We’re happy to be back here.”

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Louis Fowler

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