The formula for the acclaimed folk rock of Oh Pep! comes together rather easily: one Olivia, one Pepita, and a shared adolescence in Melboure, Australia. Sometimes music is really that simple (and punny).
For Pepita Emmerichs and Olivia Hally, the road to more widespread recognition in 2016 and 2017 began with a shared love for classical music in secondary school. Eight years later, Oh Pep! have endorsements from every major music publication and embark on yet another North American tour as the opener for blues mistress Valerie June. The pair spruce up the doldrums of winter this Tuesday (February 7) at the Wilbur Theatre.
“It’s been an eight year journey so far, from high school as classical music nerds, to making three EPs, our debut album, and gigging them all over, including with Valerie June,” Emmerichs says. “We’re still nerds though, that hasn’t changed!”
Their musical nerdom subtlety rubs off in their masterful 2016 release Stadium Cake, a 12-track tryst between youth and wistfulness. While the finished product is a culmination of their eight years together, Emmerichs says that the live versions of the songs ring true to the original versions of the tracks. “The live duo show is fun for us because we get to play the tunes how they first came about while we were writing them,” she notes.
Boston will be among the first cities to hear these more intimate versions of the Stadium Cake tunes, and the duo’s stop at the Wilbur marks the first day of their tour with June. For Oh Pep!, the group’s confusing history with June is almost as epic as their own.
“We are long time fans of Valerie June. The first time we were in the U.S. we saw her at the Americana Music Awards in Nashville and fell in love with her music,” Emmerichs says. “The next time we were in the U.S. we tried to get tickets to her show at Carnegie Hall, but it had sold out. The time after that, we wrote a song together. The next time we see her will be opening for her on these dates, so it’s a dream come true!”
While there’s a bit of a discrepancy in the musical styles of the two acts, their shared folksy undertones bind them in musical matrimony fit to create a cozy glow in the Wilbur. “I know what I want, and it’s not what I need” the duo murmur on “Doctor, Doctor.” But in this case, if indie rock is what you’ve been jonesing for, then Oh Pep! is actually what you need.