All or nothing: Opal Agafia shares, bares her heart in song

Published Nov 27, 2018 >>

Standing before a microphone, twining notes and words, Opal Agafia’s true nature reveals itself.

Until three years ago, music remained just a notion — albeit a burning one — for the Arkansas-based singer-songwriter. Now it is her everyday reality as she leads her band, The Sweet Nothings, through many musical moods, from groove-oriented roots rock to searing blues and mournful mountain sounds.

“There’s a thing about dreaming and actually doing,” Agafia said. “I always dreamed to do it, but then I finally, really came through.”

Agafia’s musical debutante came after years of musing about a life in song and recognizing how she responded “to music more than your average person.” Initially singing around campfires and at informal jam sessions, she first took a proper stage in 2015 and found the experience as satisfying as she once hoped.

Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings

Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings, based in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, embodies the sounds of the Ozark Mountains: a little soul, a little roots, a little rock-and-roll, a little old-timey swing – and a lot of heart.

Opal’s voice is packed with power and emotion; her lyrics are sophisticated yet accessible. The band made up of four seasoned musicians provides a consistently tight backdrop that pushes every song forward, compelling listeners to pay close attention, lest they miss a single minute of this show.

Highberry 2017 Standouts: Opal Agafia, Floozies, DSO, Marcus King Band

July 8, 2017  >>

Thursday’s best set came from Eureka Springs-based group Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings, performing next-to-last on the tent stage. After kicking off their stellar performance with a soft and moody “Old Ways of Living,” the band launched into high gear ­– as did the crowd – a couple songs in. The addition of a drummer (Derek Russell formerly of Dirtfoot) for this performance lent her already-outstanding alt-folk sound lots of additional power and impact and really helped everything sound tighter and more polished. The band of gifted musicians she’s been touring with occasionally rotates in a position or two, but the drums really tied it all together, and they instantly became an ensemble deserving of main stage booking.

Opal’s original tracks “Hawk Above My Head” and “Yard Sale dress” are huge crowd-pleasers; the new track “Them Bones,” released on June 20, went over OK with the packed audience, but it’s still pretty new. In our opinion, Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings doesn’t belong in the tent after this show: Every song was a huge sing-a-long for the crowd, and her audience size matched any non-headliner that played on the main stage all weekend. That’s an impressive feat in itself. It was clear, though, that Opal and crew owned Thursday at Highberry.


Opal Agafia & the Sweet Nothings Making Waves With New Roots-Soul Sounds, Great Songwriting

August 31, 2017  >>

One of Arkansas’ newest female voices to command the attention of music fans is also one of the state’s most dynamic, unique, and stunning female voices we’ve heard in years. Opal Agafia, a native of the Russellville/Dover area, has been singing in public for a mere two years. But she sounds as though she’s trained her entire 24 years for her new role as a gifted and powerful singer, prolific songwriter and capable frontman of Opal Agafia & the Sweet Nothings, based in Eureka Springs.

Agafia, who grew up singing with her mom and calls herself a “lifelong serious shower singer,” is humble but ambitious. She knows she is, basically, an infant in the music industry, relatively speaking. But her performances and the 50 originals she’s already written or co-written would convince even the most experienced music fan that she’s been preparing for a music career for a long, long time.

Agafia writes songs that are spunky, honest, and moving. The upbeat tracks make you wanna get up and move, celebrate your strength, or figure out how to find said strength; the slower-tempo tunes are likely to make the listener wanna love harder, live better, or laugh louder.

Her voice oozes soul – she has a helluva lot of it, particularly for a white girl from the Arkansas backwoods. She also has a lot of country twang. While these attributes seem like they might not jive, Agafia combines them and many other unique qualities to create a stew of outstanding musicianship and showmanship that doesn’t simply “work” – it works wonderfully.