A long time ago, when my family went to Africa to visit my brother Andy, we were to get to his village in Burkina Faso on the last night of the Ramadan holiday. After much travel, in and out of airports on 3 continents and an overstimulating bus trip from Ouagadougou, the capital city, into the great maw of sub-Saharan desert, we finally arrived. And it being the last night of Ramadan, the local party continued far into the night with the sounds of drums and joyous celebrating echoing across Andy’s village. 

I already had trouble sleeping due to jet lag and the throb of drums when my fragile slumber was yet again disturbed. I stumbled through my brother’s home and out into the starlight to find out what was going on and peered over the courtyard wall in the direction of this new weird noise. My eyes grew as I realized what I was now looking at: at least 10-15 donkeys and horses of all sizes and colors bucking and braying and circling in an ever tightening knot of ravaged fornicating beasts. Literally it was a fucking frenzy. They were having their own little celebration. What a racket.

I tried to wake my family to show them but nobody was having it so I did the only thing I could think to do at the time and that is record the audio of this X-rated carousel onto a cassette tape. 

Which I lost.  

That’s the bad news. The good news is I made some new music. 

‘A Dry Heat’ features the great Arouna Diarra, an incredible ngoni player originally from Burkina Faso who I’m grateful to have met in Sebastopol recently. For those of you following along at home, the ngoni is an African gourd harp that’s been around since the 1300’s and most likely a precursor to the banjo. Anyhow, my friends and yours Connor O’Sullivan, Evelyn Davis, Ryan Dauss, Andrea Delarosa, Adam Houin and Emery Barter helped me make the rest of the music and we had a lot of fun and I’m really excited about how it all turned out. So in closing, if you made it this far, pat yourself on the back cause you love to read. 


PS.  Feel free to share the music with like minded individuals.


“Unpredictable amalgam of American song.” -East Bay Express. 

Toby Oler is a songwriter, producer, and banjo player from Economy, Indiana. He lives in Oakland, California.





2018 “Apocalypso EP” 
2018 “A Dry Heat” 
2017 “Look Who It Is” 
2017 “Four Very Short Stories EP” 
2017 Toby Oler and China “Everyone’s Playin’ Pretend EP” 
2017 Toby Oler and Emery Barter “Yes Please EP”
2016 “So Does The Night EP” 
2015 “Thank You Bird Snider”
2015 “Clonesome”
2014 “Tapscott Sings Toby” 
2012 “OVTOV”
2012 The Nashville Knives “Up To No Good Again” 
2010 The Nashville Knives “Sometimes Trouble Just Follows A Man EP” 
2007 “The Kristie Tape”


Old Interview: Toby Oler & Michael Tapscott on “Tapscott Sings Toby”



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