Best Bets for May 17-19, 2013: Jimmy Webb, Jerry Seinfeld, The True Believers & Tulsa International Mayfest
Here are my picks for the Best Bets in Oklahoma this weekend, as listed in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
1. Listen to legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb, an Elk City native, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Blue Door, 2805 N McKinley. Doors open at 7 p.m. both nights. Information: 524-0738 or www.bluedoorokc.com.
2. Laugh along with Jerry Seinfeld at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Civic Center, 201 N Walker. Information: 297-2264 or www.okcciviccenter.com.
3. Listen to Austin, Texas, rockers The True Believers with special guest Miho Kolliopoulos at 9 p.m. Friday at VZD’s, 4200 N Western. Information: 524-4203 or www.vzds.com.
4. TULSA — Take in art exhibits, a KidZone and live music from Monte Montgomery, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Will Hoge, John Fullbright and more during Tulsa International Mayfest in downtown. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Information: (918) 582-6435 or www.tulsamayfest.org.
A version of this review appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. To read my interview with Jason Boland, click here.
Jason Boland & The Stragglers “Dark and Dirty Mile” (Proud Souls Entertainment/Thirty Tigers)
Jason Boland & The Stragglers keep steadfastly walking the classic country road with “Dark and Dirty Mile,” the renowned Austin, Texas-based band’s seventh studio album.
Released Tuesday, the follow-up to 2011’s excellent “Rancho Alto” showcases the worn-leather baritone of singer/songwriter/guitarist Boland as well as the hard-earned musicianship of his road-tested red dirt outfit, which includes guitar, pedal steel and resophonic guitar player Roger Ray, bassist Grant Tracy, drummer Brad Rice and fiddler/mandolin player Nick Worley.
More than that, the album, which Boland coproduced with Shooter Jennings, son of the legendary Waylon Jennings, affirms the band’s dedication to its hard-core country sound, folk songwriting sensibilities and outlaw country attitudes.
A Harrah native and former Oklahoma State University student, Boland, 38, again proudly shows his deep Oklahoma music roots on the new album, which features a stellar rendition of red dirt pioneer Randy Crouch’s thought-provoking “They Took It Away.” Like the somber story song “Ludlow” and the snappy and sharply worded cautionary tale “Nine Times Out of Ten,” the cover expresses what the frontman considers a healthy suspicion of the powers that be.
Even the two-stepping ballad “Electric Bill” includes the timely and darkly funny lyric “When they need to take a closer look at what it means to love, they can watch with a drone from miles above.”
In classic country fashion, “Dark and Dirty Road” walks the line between topical and timeless. The gorgeous love song “Lucky I Guess” seems custom crafted for two-stepping, while the closing ode “See You When I See You” tenderly bids “happy travels my old friend.” The loping Tex-Mex anthem “Spend All Your Time” channels the elder Jennings while urging listeners to really live life.
The rowdy rocker “Green Screen” cuttingly jabs at our society’s lies and false fronts, but authenticity isn’t a problem for the new album. Recorded to tape at Cedar Creek Recording in Austin. “Dark and Dirty Mile,” like the title track that opens the 11-song collection, has a warm, live and real vibe.
The Stragglers will celebrate the new album with a home-state show Friday night at Tulsa’s legendary Cain’s Ballroom. For more information, go to www.cainsballroom.com.
Jason Boland & The Stragglers
With: Jason Eady.
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: Cain’s Ballroom, 423 N Main, Tulsa.
A version of this story appears in Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman. To read my “Dark and Dirty Mile” album review, click here.
Jason Boland & The Stragglers take “Dark and Dirty Mile” to Cain’s Ballroom
The red dirt band will celebrate the release of its seventh studio album with a return trip to the legendary Tulsa venue.
Call him a classic country torchbearer, a musical outlaw or an old-school folk singer, Jason Boland just wants to make sure his songs mean something.
“It’s just folk music is all it is. All folk music should have a little wink and nod to the salt of the earth, and that’s all it’s ever doing. It’s just trying to live up to Woody Guthrie on through Merle Haggard. Man, go listen to a lot of old Merle Haggard — it was all topical and about something. I think that’s one of the biggest problems with music is that it’s just lost talking about anything. It just talks about have a good time or cry over something,” or just pour salt in the wound or I don’t know,” the Harrah native said in a phone interview last week.
“Not every song has to be some world-changing protest song or some great history lesson. There’s time for dance songs, cry-in-your-beer songs. There’s time for everything. So I think we just try to keep a mix of it.”
That mix is evident on “Dark and Dirty Mile,” the red dirt musician’s seventh studio album with his band, The Stragglers. Released Tuesday, the album is already earning widespread praise for its old-school country sound, profound songwriting and Boland’s weathered baritone. The 11 tracks include the poignant funeral ode “See You When I See You,” the lovely ballad “Lucky I Guess” and the timely two-stepper “Electric Bill.”
That last one, a toe-tapping tribute to love in hard times, sneaks in the topical line “When they need to take a closer look at what it means to love, they can watch with a drone from miles above.” From the sobering story song “Ludlow” to the band’s cover of red dirt pioneer Randy Crouch’s “They Took It Away,” Boland often expresses what he considers a healthy distrust of the government in his music.
“Well, I guess that’s why they call us outlaws or something,” he said with a laugh. “I just think, isn’t that what patriots are called to do? Is just always question things, you know. I think that’s just part of our job is just being critical thinkers. Just to be aware of things.”
The Crouch cover didn’t just make the cut because it fit the theme. Boland and his cohorts make it a point to record great songs by their red dirt music forerunners, and they never have a problem finding plenty of options.
“We’re always lookin’ to do songs by the people that inspired us to approach music the way we do today. So, we always do (Bob) Childers songs, and we’ve done several Crouch and this was another one that just fit the record. I think we got a really nice take of it,” Boland said from the road in his adopted home state of Texas.
Boland, 38, co-produced “Dark and Dirty Mile” with singer-songwriter Shooter Jennings. who had helped on a couple of projects but had never taken on such an active producing role.
“It was just an organic thing. It wasn’t anybody, ‘Hey, we need to set this up in a meeting,’” Boland said.
“You know, producers help arrange the songs, so he was in the rehearsals with us and he helped arranged some of the melodic licks. “He was just what you need, just a good hands-on producer, an extra trusted ear in the room, another set of ideas, another person that’s not one of us in the band that’s locked into this that’s been playing ‘em night after night getting ‘em ready. The guys worked really hard on this record, too, just arranging their parts and getting their songs together. It was a big group effort of producing the music on this record.”
The band again recorded at Cedar Creek Recording in Austin, Texas, and he said Jennings understood the tone and sound they wanted for the album.
“We just got in there with the band and some buddies and cut it straight to tape and mixed it down to tape and tried to keep the computers out of the process and had a great time doing that. And I think anybody that was a fan of the tone and the sound we were going for on our first record, ‘Pearl Snaps,’ I think they’ll really enjoy listening to this record and hearing where we’ve gone,” Boland said.
“What we were going for again … was to capture a pretty live recording. We were still in the studio and we rewound the tape a lot, but it’s performances. It’s not put through ProTools or any of that environment, which anymore that’s pretty rare. It’ll probably be to our folly: Some people hear it and think ‘oh, that doesn’t sound right.’ But it’s what I enjoy hearing.”
The singer-songwriter recently returned from a European tour that included a solo show in Belgium, acoustic performances in Italy with Stragglers fiddler Nick Worley and a full-band gig at Mayfest in Pontivy, France.
“It was a lot of fun, good crowds and a lot of good sightseeing,” said Boland, who had previously played a 2004 festival in France but saw more of Europe on this trek. “They’re very attentive, they know way more of the material than you ever think they’re going to, and it’s just a great experience.”
He and his bandmates are playing a much more familiar spot Friday, when he will celebrate the new album with a home-state show at Tulsa’s legendary Cain’s Ballroom.
“Cain’s is truly one that rises to the top when we say our favorite all-time gigs. It’s just it’s special to us all in so many ways, really. However cheesy it may sound or nostalgic, if there’s any place that fires that up in us, it’s Cain’s,” Boland said.
“We’re rooted in the region. I don’t think any of us consider ourselves any kind of spokespeople or anything, but … if they hear it and they know it’s true, then we feel like we’ve done our job.”
Jason Boland & The Stragglers
With: Jason Eady.
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: Cain’s Ballroom, 423 N Main, Tulsa.
Today’s featured event:
GUTHRIE – Catch the final weekend of the daring modern musical “Avenue Q” at 8 p.m. today and Saturday at the Pollard Theatre, 120 W Harrison.
“Avenue Q” is billed as a gut-bustingly hilarious modern musical focusing on a group of unique 20-somethings making their way in the big city, seeking their purpose in life. Although the show addresses humorous adult issues, it is similar to a beloved children’s show – a place where puppets are friends, Monsters are good and life lessons are learned. Winner of the Tony “Triple Crown” for best musical, best score and best book, “Avenue Q” is part flesh, part felt, and packed with heart. Intended for adult audiences only, “Avenue Q” is called “Sesame Street meets South Park” and tells the story of Princeton, a bright-eyed college grad who comes to New York City, with big dreams and a tiny bank account.
The show contains strong language, adult humor and puppet sexuality, and theater-goers are cautioned, “if a show can offend you, this one will.”
For more information, go to www.thepollard.org.
For more events, go to www.wimgo.com.
Wednesday Video Spotlight: One-time screening of Paul McCartney and Wings concert film “Rockshow” Thursday night at Harkins Bricktown
A special one-time screening of “Rockshow” — a concert film starring Paul McCartney and Wings on their 1975-76 “Wings Over the World” tour — will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday at Harkins Bricktown Cinema 16, 150 E Reno Ave.
SpectiCast, in association with Eagle Rock Entertainment, is premiering the film in theaters in the U.K. on Wednesday and worldwide on Thursday.
Although filmed on the tour in 1976 at the enormous Kingdome in Seattle, “Rockshow,” originally a cutdown version of the concert, was not premiered until November 1980 in New York and April 1981 in London.
The film will be shown at nearly 1,000 theaters in more than 700 cities worldwide, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cape Town, South Africa, Sydney, Rome, Warsaw, Poland, and many other cities across the U.S., Mexico, Asia, Europe and South America. These special theatrical presentations will include a bonus 12-minute interview with McCartney, according to a news release.
The demand that greeted Paul McCartney and Wings (Linda McCartney, Joe English, Denny Laine and Jimmy McCulloch) in the spring of 1976 as they embarked on what would become their only North American tour was overwhelming.
Having released four consecutive chart-busting albums including “Red Rose Speedway, “Band on the Run,” “Venus and Mars” and “Wings at the Speed of Sound” — not to mention 1973′s Academy Award-winning James Bond theme “Live and Let Die” — McCartney’s solo career was in full flight, having not performed in the States for 10 years, either solo or with The Beatles.
Tickets for “Rockshow” are available at participating theater box offices and online at www.rockshowonscreen.com.
McCartney will bring his “Out There” Tour to Tulsa for a two-night stand May 29-30 at the BOK Center. For more information, go to www.bokcenter.com.
Wednesday Video Spotlight: Gretchen Wilson to kick off Newcastle Casino Outdoor Concert Series Thursday
NEWCASTLE – On Thursday night, country singer Gretchen Wilson will kick off the the third annual Outdoor Concert Series at Newcastle Casino, I-44 and Highway 62.
Newcastle Casino’s Outdoor Concert Series is open to the public, takes place in the casino’s north parking lot and admission is free.
Ryan Sykes, Newcastle Casino’s general manager, said the festival is a chance to give back to the community and its employees.
“We are thrilled to host our third annual Outdoor Concert Series,” Sykes said in a news release. “This is a chance to show our appreciation for the local community. A concert is a great way to spend an evening outdoors listening to great music and enjoying food and friends.”
This year’s concert series will be the casino’s largest yet, Jennifer Cross, Newcastle Casino’s marketing manager added in the release. She said the concert series is a community event that locals look forward to all year.
Along with Wilson, this year’s lineup will include Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Joe Nichols, Bellamy Brothers and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
Food and refreshment vendors will be on site, and for-purchase options will include selections from the casino’s restaurants, Stone House Pizzeria and Blackjack Grill, as well as La Luna’s taco truck. Other retailers will be setup to provide the full concert experience. Outside food and drink will be prohibited. Attendees older than 18 will receive rewards play redeemable in the casino.
Wilson, 39, last month released a new country album, “Right On Time”; check out the video for the first single, “Still Rollin’.” is an album of new material and includes the single ‘Still Rollin’.”
The country singer recently told Yahoo! Music she plans to release two more albums this year: a collection of rock cover songs called “Under the Covers,” due out this summer, and a Christmas album.
The Illinois native has notched 13 singles on the Billboard Country charts, of which five have reached Top 10: the No. 1 hit “Redneck Woman,” as well as “Here for the Party,” “When I Think About Cheatin’,” “Homewrecker” and “All Jacked Up.”
For more information on the Newcastle Casino, go to MyNewcastleCasino.com. The Outdoor Concert Series concert schedule:
Thursday, May 16- Gretchen Wilson
Thursday, June 6- Creedence Clearwater Revisited (CCR)
Thursday, July 18- Joe Nichols
Saturday, Aug. 24- Bellamy Brothers
Thursday, Sept. 26- Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Sunday, Oct. 13- EXIT 107 LIVE Family Music Festival
Wednesday Video Spotlight: Pistol Annies perform “Unhappily Married” on “Craig Ferguson,” playing live streaming show tonight
Pistol Annies, the country music trio comprised of Tishomingo resident Miranda Lambert and singer-songwriter pals Angaleena Presley and Ashley Monroe, performed the television debut of their song “Unhappily Married,” Tuesday night on “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”
“Unhappily Married” is a darkly funny track off the group’s second album, “Annie Up.”
The Annies are continuing their media blitz in support of their sophomore release at 9 tonight with a live streaming show. Yahoo! Music will live stream the group’s one-hour concert as part of its “Ram Country Live!,” a series of exclusive special music events accessible to millions of viewers on Yahoo!
Find the player for tonight’s concert embedded after the break; it will go live at showtime.
Speaking of showtime, the Pistol Annies will play June 13 at First Council Casino in Newkirk and June 14 at Lucky Star Casino in Concho. For tickets and information, go to www.ticketstorm.com.
A version of this story appears in Wednesday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
Photo Slam to showcase 12 Oklahoma photographers
Part art exhibit, part poetry slam, with a hint of “The Gong Show,” the juried event offers photographers a high-energy opportunity to show their work at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art.
That’s what the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition are going for with their Photo Slam, a speedy showcase of 12 Oklahoma artists planned for Thursday night at the museum.
“It’s like a poetry slam, a story slam, the idea of a slam, where it’s like a real high-energy, fast-paced discussion,” said Chandra Boyd, the museum’s senior associate curator of education.
“The idea is that each photographer has five minutes to present their work, and they can do that in any format. … If they go over the five minutes, they get gonged. It’s fun to see the photographers’ personalities come out. They really get into this opportunity to tell about their work.”
The Photo Slam doesn’t follow the typical art lecture format, said OVAC Associate Director Kelsey Karper.
Along with dynamic and competitive poetry slams, she said Photo Slam is inspired by PechaKucha, a presentation style developed in Tokyo in 2003. A kind of show-and-tell version of an open mike, PechaKucha — which translates roughly to “chit-chat” in Japanese — is aimed at architects and other creative types, who showcase their work and ideas in 20 images, each shown for just 20 seconds.
“It’s a way to give a presentation that’s more interesting, fast-moving and entertaining, so that’s the format that you get. But there’s a very strict time limit,” Karper said.
“We were taking these ideas from different types of really engaging presentation styles, and we kind of melded them together to come up with the Photo Slam.”
She’s not kidding about the strict time limit: Photographers who go over the time limit really will hear someone really bang a gong.
“We do encourage the artists to use their five minutes creatively. In the past, we’ve had people incorporate music. We had one photographer who went through the theater and hid things under everyone’s seats,” Karper said. “We’ve actually even had the presenting photographer taking pictures of the audience during their presentation … so I’m excited to see what this year’s group will do.”
The museum and OVAC served up their first Photo Slam in 2008, and Thursday’s event will mark the third installment. The slams typically are offered in conjunction with a photography exhibition at the museum. “Herb Ritts: Beauty & Celebrity,” an exhibit of 80 black-and-white images by the legendary portrait photographer, opened last week at the museum and shows there through July 28.
Carlos Knight, art director at This Land Press, selected the dozen Photo Slam participants from a pool of applicants. Oklahoma City photographer Rex Barrett will be the master of ceremonies for the juried showcase.
The 12 chosen photographers — Lucia Martinez, Wendy Mutz, Kurt Nagy, Zach Nash, Ben Pendleton, all of Oklahoma City; Natalie Slater and Chad Clark, both of Tulsa; Sarah Engel Barnett, Norman; Summer Lu, Weatherford; Thomas Tucker, Edmond; Crystal Walters, Pryor; and Reginna Zhidov Chickasha — come from around the state and have varying degrees of photography experience.” from students to pros.
“It’s any level, it’s anyone who’s aspiring or accomplished. So “I think that’s the really fun part. You’ve got like professional photographers up against people who are hobbyists,” Boyd said.
“This is really their chance to get into the museum and fill the auditorium with people who are also photo enthusiasts. … We’ve had really good attendance in the past. I think by partnering with Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, they are good to help us really connect to the art community in a way that we normally don’t get to do.”
In addition, the 12 participants work in varying styles, techniques and subject matters. Traditional photographs, iPhone shots and photo manipulations are expected to be included.
“It is limited to photography, but within photography, there’s all these variations in different styles and ways of working and photographic methods,” Karper said. “That’s part of what makes it really interesting.”
The gong doesn’t hurt, either.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday.
Where: Oklahoma City Museum of Art, 415 Couch Drive.
Admission: Free. Admission to the rest of the museum is $5 after 5 p.m. Thursdays.
Information: www.ovac-ok.org or www.okcmoa.com.
Red dirt band Jason Boland & The Stragglers released today its seventh studio album, “Dark & Dirty Mile.” Frontman Jason Boland, a Harrah native, and singer-songwriter Shooter Jennings co-produced the album.
Jason Boland & The Stragglers play “real” country music – something that we don’t hear a lot of these days on the radio. For more than a decade, the band has played to packed houses from Texas to Illinois and all parts in between while also selling more than 500,000 albums.
Following in the footsteps of Boland’s last release, 2011′s “Rancho Alto,” the band continues to be torchbearers of the traditional country genre.
Upon the release of “Rancho Alto,” nation press began to take notice including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Examiner and Blurt.
To celebrate the new release, The Stragglers will play a show Friday night at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa. For more information, go to www.cainsballroom.com.
Look for my new interview with Boland and my review of “Dark and Dirty Mile” on Friday.
Video: “The Voice” elimination episode airs tonight, Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame hosting “Swatch Party” for Swon Brothers tonight
As previously reported, Muskogee’s The Swon Brothers delivered a poignant and tuneful tribute to the late, great George Jones Monday night during “The Voice” live playoffs.
“The Voice” performance recap will air from 7 to 8 tonight on NBC, following by the live elimination episode from 8 to 9 tonight.
The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, 401 S 3 in Muskogee, is hosting a “Swatch Party” tonight in honor of the hometown contenders. The doors will open at 6:30 tonight. The event is free and open to the public.
The Swon Brothers are competing in the Top 12 on Season 4 of the hit reality TV show. The first duo to make it to the show’s live founds, they are among the three remaining contestants on fellow Oklahoman Blake Shelton’s team.
Zach and Colton Swon took to the piano and guitar to perform an acoustic rendition of The Possum’s classic “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes.” It showcased both their voices and musicianship as well as their diehard love for country music.
George Jones died April 26 at the age of 81.
In addition, the Swon Brothers and the other Team Blake and Team Shakira joined forces for a group rendition of The Script/will.i.am hit “Hall of Fame”: