Courtesy of Ona
With Mountain Stage set to be one of the first major concerts since the arrival of the pandemic last spring, the band Ona will be performing for the third time on Mountain Stage; however, this will be the first time the show will be performed at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Ona is the rock outfit hailing from Huntington, W.Va., and named after the small town 15 miles outside of Huntington, hometown of lead singer, Bradley Jenkins. Ona has since released two full-length albums, American Fiction (2015) and Full Moon, Heavy Light (2019). Over the years, Ona has been recognized around the country and by national media outlets for their innovative sound and, in the meantime, have become local legends in the process.
Brad Goodall, keyboardist for Ona, said they are exciting to begin performing again.
“Usually, Mountain Stage will book us when we have something fresh, but the only thing we have to promote is live music coming back,” Goodall said.
Although the band is working on a new album, the set will be primarily filled with music from their first two records, with some notable exceptions.
“As of this moment in the setlist, we are going to play one unreleased song and a cover no one has heard… there will be a couple of different things that no one has heard us play,” Goodall said.
He then said the band likes to test out new music on a live audience to get a reaction.
“On a national level, I would say Appalachia is underrepresented, so when we transitioned to the national spectrum of touring and performing. I think we brought something that was fresh, and people hadn’t really heard it before,” Goodall said in reference to the good press Ona has received over the years, like “Ona could be the next great rock band,” published by Vice in 2019.
The most important thing to Ona is authenticity.
“If you’re not being yourself, you’re not going to get past a certain point. I think maybe that’s the charm — is that we are just being honest about what we are doing,” Goodall said.
Ona views success with two different folds — continuing to make music and grow their audience and to push music forward that influences and innovates for their contemporaries and the next generation.
“If you put a number on it, you’ll never be satisfied. We just want to stay on the treadmill. As long as you’re on the treadmill, you’re getting in better shape and continue to get better,” Goodall said.
Goodall talked about the effect of the pandemic and its toll on the band, but he made it clear that the music would not be affected by pandemic life.
“We’ve tried to avoid writing songs about what went down, and also try to avoid writing songs that were downbeat and sad or whatever. We want to come out of this like a flower in bloom. We rebelled by not even thinking about it or writing about it,” Goodall said.
The intentionality to make fun of music in an otherwise depressing era in the state of music can be credited to decisions the band made to make music that gives them joy.
“Escapism… that’s our headspace right now. We just want to make music that’s as fun as possible,” Goodall said.
Fans can see Ona on Friday, April 16, at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, along with the rest of the Mountain Stage lineup.
Tyler Spence can be contacted at [email protected]