According to Nielsen Soundscan, Rascal Flatts’ latest CD, “Unstoppable,” is one of only three country albums that have scanned platinum in 2009.
Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” and the “Hannah Montana: The Movie” soundtrack, with year-to-date sales of more than 1 million albums sold on each title, according to a news release. Rascal Flatts, which includes Joe Don Rooney of Picher, also contributed one song, “God Bless the Broken Road,” to the “Hannah Montana: The Movie” album.
Of all country titles released this year, Rascal Flatts’s “Unstoppable” holds the record for the biggest first-week sales with 351,000 units sold, according to the release. “Unstoppable” also has the fifth-highest debut sales numbers across all genres for all new CD releases this year. Included in the first-week numbers are more than 58,000 digital albums, giving Rascal Flatts the biggest first week digital album sales for any country title released this year.
With 126,000 tracks sold the first week of release, the album’s lead No. 1 single “Here Comes Goodbye” also holds the record for the biggest first-week sales for any country digital single in the history of Nielsen Soundscan.
Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don will wrap the current leg of their headlining “Rascal Flatts American Living Unstoppable Tour” at the end of this month. Next up for Rascal Flatts are nominations for Group of the Year at the CMA Awards (Nov. 11 on ABC) and Country Group of the Year and Country Album of the Year at the American Music Awards (Nov. 22 on ABC).
“Unstoppable” launched as the group’s fourth consecutive studio album opening at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, more than any other country artist in the history on Soundscan. This brings the band’s career album sales to a staggering 20 million units in just this decade, and the band has also amassed 22.5 million digital downloads. Rascal Flatts are the biggest-selling and grossing group in country music history and were named a Billboard Top 10 Touring Act in all genres with more venue attendance records than any other country act. The band has sold 4 million concert tickets in four years.
Here is a list of non-Halloween events going on this weekend (Oct. 30-Nov. 1) throughout Oklahoma. I posted my massive round-up of Halloween happenings earlier today on the blog. For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
- Listen to singer/songwriter/musician Will Hoge at 10 tonight at the Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E Sheridan. Or hear Mike McClure Band and Turnpike Troubadours at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Wormy Dog. Information: 601-6276 or www.wormydog.com.
- Watch Oklahoma City’s Red Dirt Rebellion Rollergirls take on the Amarillo, Texas-based Route 66 Rollergirls in a banked-track roller derby bout at 8 tonight at the Cox Convention Center in downtown. Doors open at 7 p.m. Information: www.reddirtrebellion.com.
- See Red Dirt Improv engage other local improve troupes in a free jam session at 8 tonight at IAO Gallery, 706 W Sheridan. The performance is free but donations will be taken for IAO. Information: www.reddirtimprov.com.
- NORMAN — Hear country artist Tracy Lawrence at 8 p.m. Saturday at Riverwind Casino, 1544 W State Highway 9. Information: 322-6464 or www.riverwind.com.
- NORMAN — View Oklahoma artist Deborah Kaspari’s paintings and sketches in the exhibit “Drawing the Motmot: An Artist’s View of Tropical Nature” at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave. Information: 325-4712 or www.snomnh.ou.edu.
- NORMAN – Listen to the Hosty Duo at 10 p.m. Saturday at The Deli, 309 White Street. Information: www.thedeli.us.
- THACKERVILLE – Hear Jack Ingram at 8 p.m. Saturday at WinStar World Casino. Information: www.winstarworldcasino.com.
- See Carpenter Square Theatre’s production of “Murderers” at 8 p.m. today and Saturday at Stage Center, 400 W Sheridan. Performances continue through Nov. 7. Information: www.carpentersquare.com.
- NORMAN – Hear Oklahoma City singer/pianist Marcy Priest from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Othello’s Italian Restaurant, 434 Buchanan Ave. Information: 503-7902 or www.marcypriest.com. UPDATED: The time of this show has been changed to 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday because of the Oklahoma-Kansas State football game.
- STILLWATER – Catch Colourmusic with BrotherBear and Gentleman Auction House at 10 p.m. Saturday at The Vault Venue, 716 S Main. Information: www.myspace.com/vaultvenue.
- MIAMI – Hear Jackson Taylor at 7 tonight at Buffalo Run Casino. Information: www.buffalorun.com.
- Listen to Texas bluesman Paul Geremia at 9 tonight at the Blue Door, 2805 N McKinley. Information: www.bluedoorokc.com.
Dressed in a pink costume, Autumn Hibbert, 16 months, makes her way through the Oklahoma City Zoo’s walkways during last year’s Haunt the Zoo. (Photo By John Clanton, The Oklahoman Archives)
A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Scare up Halloween fun with these horrid Oklahoma happenings
From enchanted trick-or-treat trails to horrifying haunted houses, Halloween spawns an almost supernatural array of events across the state this weekend.
The 25th annual Bricktown Haunted Warehouse, the twisted masquerade ball Psychopomp and a ballet rendition of the Headless Horseman’s tale are just a few of the horrid highlights. For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
HallOPOLIS, Norman: Hear Rainbows are Free, JP Inc., Crocodile and Shi- -y/Awesome at 9 tonight and Evangelicals, JP Inc. and GentleGhost at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Opolis, 113 N Crawford. Information: www.starlightmints.com/opolis.html.
Bricktown Haunted Warehouse and Haunted Dungeon Dark Ride in 3-D: Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Haunted Warehouse, 101 E California Ave., opening at 7 p.m. today and Saturday. Information: 236-4143 or www.bricktownokc.com.
Frontier City’s Fright Fest
Frontier City’s Fright Fest: Brave a haunted asylum or take your tot through BooVille at from 6 to 11 p.m. today and noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at Frontier City, 11501 N I-35 Service Road. Information: 478-2140 or www.frontiercity.com.
Oklahoma City Ballet’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”: See the dance company’s retelling of Washington Irving’s classic spooky story at 7 tonight and 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Civic Center, 201 N Walker. Information: 848-8637 or www.okcballet.com.
Psychopomp: Seven Gates of Hell: Check out seven theme stages, a huge dance floor and costume contest at 9 p.m. Saturday at the Oklahoma City Farmers Public Market, 311 S Klein Ave. Information: www.rampageartist.com.
Lyric Theatre’s “Sweeney Todd”
Lyric Theatre’s “Sweeney Todd”: Watch Lyric’s staging of the Stephen Sondheim favorite at 8 tonight, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Lyric at the Plaza, 1725 NW 16. Information: 524-9312 or www.lyrictheatreokc.com.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” Norman: Watch the cult classic shown with a live cast at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Sooner Theatre, 101 E Main. Information: 818-7238.
Haunt the Zoo for Halloween: Take in shining jack-o-lanterns and eco-friendly candy from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the Oklahoma City Zoo, 2101 NE 50. Information: 424-3344 or www.okczoo.com.
HallowZOOeen, Tulsa: Tour the Tulsa Zoo, 6421 E 36 Street N, with your treat-or-treaters from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. today and Saturday. Information: (918) 669-6600 or www.tulsazoo.org.
Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s “Eurydice”
Oklahoma City Theatre Company’s “Eurydice”: Make a trip to the Underworld with the company’s staging of the Greek myth at 8 p.m. today and Saturday at the Civic Center, 201 N Walker. Information: 812-7737 or www.okctheatrecompany.org.
Fuego Friday: Halloween Iron Pour and OU Student Costume Contest, Norman: See University of Oklahoma students cast molten iron, show off their costumes and unveil a new artwork at 5:30 p.m. today outside of the Fred Jones Art Center, 520 Parrington Oval. Information: 325-2691 or http://art.ou.edu.
Sonic Spooky Saturday, Norman: Get free admission, courtesy of Sonic, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, 2401 Chautauqua Ave. Information: 325-4712 or www.snomnh.ou.edu.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s fright films: Watch “I Sell the Dead” at 5:30 and 8 p.m. today and Saturday and the double-feature “Frankenstein” and “The Invisible Man” at 2 p.m. Sunday at the museum, 415 Couch Drive. Information: 236-3100 or www.okcmoa.com/film.
Trail of Terror, El Reno: Get spooked along the trail or in the new Haunted Barn from 6:30 to 11 p.m. today and Saturday at 2701 W 10. Information: www.trailofterror.org.
35th Annual Freakers Ball, Tulsa: Participate in a costume contest and hear Pitbulls on Crack, Billy Joe Winghead and more at 7 p.m. Saturday at Cain’s Ballroom, 423 N Main. Information: (918) 584-2306 or www.cainsballroom.com.
Haunted Castle Halloween Festival, Muskogee: Find thrills for the whole family from 6 to 10 p.m. today and Saturday inside and outside the Castle of Muskogee, 3400 Fern Mountain Rd. Information: (800) 439-0658 or www.okcastle.com.
Scream Country Haunted Forest, Drumright: Take in three fearsome attractions from 7:30 to 11 p.m. today and Saturday at 15853 W 101 Street S. Information: (918) 607-3327 or www.screamcountry.com.
HallowMarine, Jenks: Celebrate the season with trick-or-treating, pirates and mermaids from 6:30 to 9 p.m. today and Saturday at the Oklahoma Aquarium, Information: (918) 296-3474 or www.okaquarium.org.
The Hex House, Tulsa: Explore more than 20,000 square feet of horrors at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the southeast corner of 71 and Memorial. Information: www.thehexhouse.com.
Terror on 10th Street Haunted House: Get spooked from 7 to 11 p.m. today-Sunday during a guided tour telling the ghostly history of the actual house at 2005 NW 10. Information: 232-1816.
Families enter Arcadia Lake’s Storybook Forest in 2008. (Photo by Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman Archives)
Arcadia Lake’s Storybook Forest, Edmond: Families can take a hayride, roast marshmallows and collect goodies from storybook characters from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. today and Saturday at Spring Creek Park. Information: www.edmondok.com.
“Frankenstein”: See Oklahoma Children’s Theatre and Theatre OCU’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. today, 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Oklahoma City University’s Burg Theatre, 2501 N Blackwelder Ave. The play is recommended for children older than 12 years of age. Information: 951-0011 or www.oklahomachildrenstheatre.org.
Oklahoma City University’s “Bat Boy: The Musical”: Watch OCU stage the musical based on a tabloid tale at 10:30 tonight, 3 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 p.m. Sunday at OCU’s Burg Theatre, 2501 N Blackwelder. Information: 208-5227 or www.okcu.edu.
“A Ghostly Affair”: Hear indie duo Mont Lyons play a pre-Halloween show at 8 tonight at the Sauced Annex, 2912 Paseo. Information: 521-9801 or www.yoursauced.com.
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Halloween fosters Evangelicals’ zeal
For singer/songwriter/guitarist Josh Jones, insomnia has its advantages.
Not only did he and his band the Evangelicals record much of the uncanny psych-pop music for their second album “The Evening Descends” in the middle of the night, he often passes the wee hours streaming films, especially horror movies, on Netflix.
“I don’t even order the movies, I know you can’t get a bunch of them instantly, but I don’t even bother, you know, I’m just too impatient,” he said. “But the horror movies for whatever reason, like, they’re all available (to stream). There’s so many more. I guess they don’t care. I guess it’s in their best interest to cater to weirdos who want to watch movies at 4 in the morning.”
With his love for the campy aesthetics of horror flicks and the outsized human drama of musical theater, it’s not surprising that the Evangelicals will once again perform at HallOPOLIS, this weekend’s annual Halloween extravaganza at The Opolis in Norman.
“If you think about Halloween, it’s such a strange holiday. It’s odd that it even exists, you know, this weird day that everyone dresses up and celebrates death and the occult,” Jones said in a recent phone interview from his Norman home. “It’s definitely one of my favorites because you get free candy and I love candy.”
The Norman-based rockers have plenty of appropriately eerie noise-drenched pop songs to fill a Halloween night show, from “Into the Woods” and “A Mouthful of Skeletons” from “So Gone,” the band’s 2006 debut album on indie imprint Misra, to “Skeleton Man” and “Here in the Deadlights” from their 2008 follow-up on the Dead Oceans label. Jones and his bandmates even got the chance to star in their own version of a lurid ’70s-style fright flick in the music video for “Midnight Vignette.”
“I’m no horror movie aficionado, but I do like to watch these movies for the aesthetics. You know, horror movies, there’s so many of them. It’s also strange that that’s even a genre, and there’s probably more horror movies than any other kind of movies except maybe pornos,” he said. “I guess ‘cause they’re cheap to make. … They’re sort of like the working man’s movie; you know, anyone can make one on a low budget.”
His five favorite scary films — “The Driller Killer,” “Carrie,” “The Granny,” “Wild Zero” and “The Toxic Avenger” — reveal his love of horror movies in all their varied glory.
“I’ve always been a fan of camp. I’ve always been a fan of musical theater, too, the human emotions or human drama that magnify a little bit is a good thing in my opinion,” he said with a scratchy voice and sniffling nose caused by a bad bout with allergies. “In high school, a lot of my friends were big theater people. … I did like the stage craft thing, like building the sets and stuff. So I was always watching these things in high school, and I loved them.”
He said a stage craft background comes in handy when taking an indie rock band on the road. Saturday night’s hometown Halloween show precedes the Evangelicals’ intensive nationwide fall tour, kicking off Monday in Phoenix.
“It does come into play actually if you know how to fix things and how to make things,” he said with a laugh.
Along with playing live music, the Evangelicals also are working on new music for their third album, which they hope to release next year.
“To me, it’s sounds different. You always want to make something that sounds different and new if for nothing else than keep yourself interested, but certainly so people don’t get bored with your music and your band and your art and to keep them entertained certainly,” he said.
He added, “It definitely has some heavy metal things going on there … for now. At least, that’s what we feel like this week. But yeah, I think it’s going to be a heavy metal record.”
In the meantime, Jones said he is looking forward to a wild night of costumes and candy, music and mania at HallOPOLIS. But he said the Evangelicals may pass on playing their wonderfully weird “Halloween Song” this year.
“I don’t know. We might. We’ve played it a lot. We might play a different type of Halloween song this year. I’m not sure. There might be ‘The Halloween Song 2: The Return of the F- – - ing Halloween Song,’” he said.
“In horror movies, the sequels are always better.”
When: 9 tonight featuring Rainbows are Free, JP Inc., Crocodile and Shi- -y/Awesome and 9 p.m. Saturday featuring Evangelicals, JP Inc. and GentleGhost.
Where: The Opolis, 113 N Crawford, Norman.
Information: Information: www.starlightmints.com/opolis.html.
From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
An Oklahoma country band is hoping musical madness online will lead to a big break in the music industry.
CMT.com has kicked off voting for its fourth annual Music City Madness. The top 64 finalists for the annual online talent search have been revealed and must now compete for votes in a single-elimination tournament over the next eight weeks. The finalists are unsigned artists from 28 states across the U.S., and their song subjects range from honky tonks and Texas to loving and leaving.
Representing Oklahoma is the Ardmore-based band Rush Springs with the song “Chasing That Green Light.” The band includes Beckie Jo Spradling, lead vocals; Walton McMurry, drums and backup vocals; and Wenona “Nonie” Taliaferro, guitar and backup vocals.
The contemporary country trio entered the online contest on a whim, Taliaferro said, and was thrilled to be selected.
“I was like running through my office hollering. … You could have heard me a mile away,” said Taliaferro, who works for Warehouse Service Inc. in Ardmore. “(I’m) jumping for joy, but I’m definitely shocked.”
Rush Springs has been playing together for about four years. But Taliaferro and Spradling have been making music together for a solid decade; Spradling is Taliaferro’s daughter-in-law.
The bandmates see the contest as a big opportunity. They will find out Monday whether they have advanced to the next round in the fan-voted contest.
“We’d love to get signed. Music is definitely our passion,” Taliaferro said. “That’s what we’ve been shooting for, that big record deal.”
Music City Madness offers up-and-coming country artists a chance to showcase their talent and let fans narrow the field in an online tournament-style battle of the bands. One lucky winner will take home the title and win a chance to audition for label executives at The Valory Music Co. The victor also will earn a trip to CMT in Nashville, Tenn., to record “Studio 330 Sessions” and have a backstage experience with Valory artist and Oklahoma native Reba McEntire at one of her concerts.
McEntire serves as an online mentor and will provide exclusive insight for the contestants via CMT.com video blogs, offering up tips from how to create a music video to building a music career. CMT also has added star participants Jack Ingram, Jewel, Justin Moore and Jimmy Wayne, who will support contestants throughout the competition. Music City Madness is sponsored by Rhapsody.
Go online to www.madness.CMT. com to stream each of the top 64 contenders and vote, or to learn more about Music City Madness.
A version of this review appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Joe Nichols “Old Things New” (Universal Records South)
Country singer Joe Nichols uses his wonderfully rich baritone to craft “Old Things New,” another solid neotraditionalist effort from the Arkansas native.
The Grammy-nominated crooner specializes in country music that is traditional in both sound and sentiment. Mandolins, fiddles and steel guitars drench sorrowful ballads, funny drinking songs and tributes to Merle Haggard and strawberry pie.
But Nichols succeeds in what the album title suggests: For all their customary trappings, the songs feel relevant and contemporary. He tells the tale of a busy working couple reconnecting in “This Bed’s Too Big,” then drawls a humorous suggestion for coping with modern-day hardship in “Cheaper Than a Shrink.”
Nichols notched a big hit in 2003 with the tearjerking “The Impossible,” and he offers another sweeping anthem with “Believers,” a different take on dealing with tough times.
But the album’s highlight is “An Old Friend of Mine,” a poignant tale of newfound sobriety that Nichols, who went through rehab two years ago, delivers with heartfelt emotion.
He closes the record with a distinctly nontraditional spin on an old song: A rap-country remix of his hilarious hit “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” by Fat Shan and Colt Ford.
Nichols will perform in concert Wednesday at the Wormy Dog Saloon, 311 E Sheridan. For more information, go to www.wormydog.com.
Margaret Frankenstein (Elyana Rodzon) plays with The Creature (Robby Gibbons) in the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre/Theatre OCU production of “Frankenstein.”
Today’s featured event:
See Oklahoma Children’s Theatre and Theatre OCU’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic novel “Frankenstein” at 11 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. today at Oklahoma City University’s Burg Theatre, 2501 N Blackwelder Ave. The play is recommended for children older than 12 years of age.
Performances continue at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday and then resume Thursday-Nov. 8.
For more information, call 951-0011 or go to www.oklahomachildrenstheatre.org.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
Oklahoma fashion designer Johnathan Kayne Gillaspie continues his mission to put the Sooner State on the fashion map this weekend.
At 9 p.m. Friday, cable network TLC will air the television special “Gown Crazy” one last time before deciding to buy it as a series. Highlighting Gillaspie’s design business in Norman, the show follows Gillaspie as he rushes to finish five outfits for the Miss Oklahoma pageant, while also designing custom evening and wedding gowns and helping put together a charity fashion show. “Gown Crazy” will be an hourlong episode featuring a weeklong view in the crazy life of the designer, according to a news release.
“Basically, the show is all about my design business, and making my design business work here in Oklahoma,” Gillaspie said in the release. “I wanted the show to be informative and interesting for people to see what I do and how I do it, not only from design to finished product but also to see the talent and hard work involved in making custom clothing or any type of fashion.”
Gillaspie was a top five contestant from season three of the hit reality TV series “Project Runway.”
“Oklahoma is a force to be reckoned with in the world of fashion,” Gillaspie said in the release, adding that he has seen firsthand that “fashionistas no longer have to travel to New York and California to get their fashion fix. We need all of Oklahoma’s support in making ‘Gown Crazy’ a success with amazing ratings from our viewers!”
Since graduating in 2002 from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, Gillaspie has progressively made a name for himself. He has established a shoe line carried in about 2,200 stores by the Benjamin Walk Corporation, and the Johnathan Kayne Line carried by WOW! PROM is in about 650 stores. He has not only dressed the entire top five teens, the winner and first runner-up in the Miss Oklahoma U.S.A. Pageant, but also the fourth runner-up of Miss Universe, Tara Conner.
For more information on the designer, go to www.johnathankayne.com or follow him on Twitter @Projectkayne.
Alan Jackson (Associated Press photo)
The BOK Center announced today that additional seats are on sale for Alan Jackson’s Nov. 7 concert at the Tulsa arena, 200 S Denver.
“These are seats near the side of stage and allow for a great view,” according to the press announcement from the BOK Center.
The concert, featuring up-and-coming band Gloriana as the opening act, is almost sold out, according to the release.
The show will start at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7. Doors will open at 6 p.m.
Tickets can be bought online at www.bokcenter.com, at the venue’s Arby’s Box Office, at all Tickets.com outlets, or by phone at (866) 7BOKCTR.
Brooks & Dunn to be featured Friday on CMT’s “Invitation Only”; Carrie Underwood to appear in upcoming episode
Brooks & Dunn (Associated Press photo)
Country music duo Brooks & Dunn, which includes former Tulsan Ronnie Dunn, will be featured on CMT’s “Invitation Only.”
“Invitation Only: Brooks & Dunn” premieres at 9 p.m. Friday on CMT.
Dunn and Kix Brooks taped the show back in August, shortly after announcing that they plan to end their musical partnership in 2010. They perform their hit singles and new releases from #1s … And Then Some,” including ”Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” “Honky Tonk Stomp” and “Believe.”
Oklahoma native Carrie Underwood also will be featured on an upcoming installment of “Invitation Only.” “Invitation Only: Carrie Underwood” will debut on CMT on Dec. 1.
According to CMT.com, her set list for the show includes two songs – “Cowboy Casanova” and “Undo It” – from her upcoming album, “Play On,” due out Tuesday. In addition, she performs “Before He Cheats,” “Last Name” and “So Small.”
The special also will feature a casual question-and-answer segment with the audience, with Checotah’s favorite daughter discussing how life has changed since she won “American Idol” in 2005, being a sci-fi junkie and getting excited when she hears her music on the radio.