Even if Oakley Hall chooses distorted guitars to accompany their claw hammer banjo, the group's songs rise directly from the traditions of early American folk music. The band formed in 2002 after Pat Sullivan left indie act Oneida to pursue an impulse to write and sing country-touched rock. Named for one of Sullivan's favorite writers, Oakley Hall featured an early line-up of bassist Jesse Barnes, fiddle player Claudia Mogel and drummer Will Dyar and swelled into a collective that included seven sometimes-members. Though players came and went, Sullivan solidified a line-up in 2004 that included Barnes, Mogel, guitar player Fred Wallace, drummer Greg Anderson and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Rachel Cox. In 2006, the group released two records: Second Guessing and Gypsum Strings.